LAWRENCE, Kan. — Friday night marked one year since Russia started invading Ukraine after weeks of building troops up along the border.

KU Professor Vitaly Chernetsky is from Ukraine and his father still lives in Odessa, which was one of the Russian army’s targets in the early days of the fighting.

“A lot of us had terrifying scenarios of really brutal Russian forces overwhelming Ukraine,” Chernetsky said. “That did not happen.”

Instead, Chernetsky says Ukrainians proved the Russian talking points wrong, showing its strong national identify while holding off waves of Russian soldiers. Chernetsky is in the United Kingdom Friday night giving a speech at Cambridge about how Ukraine has changed the perception held by the international community and its own citizens.

“It really had transformed Ukranian people in how they feel about themselves, how they feel about their country, how they feel about their place in the world and their determination,” Chernetsky said.

Chernetsky says he’ll continue traveling and speaking outside Ukraine sharing his perspective on the war.

We first spoke to Weston resident Paul Schwennesen when he was in Kiev, where he used his military training to deliver equipment to front line fighters and brought back what he said was evidence of war crimes.

Now, he’s working with NGO and the United Nations to help document those crimes for when the war is over.

When the first attacks were starting, a group from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes were visiting from Ukraine and got stranded in the United States, ultimately settling in Kansas City for much of that time.

Now Andriy Kravtsov is back in Kiev, delivering donated sports equipment for the organization’s programing while also learning how to operate in a war zone.

“I’m coming in and they explain to me how to go to the bunker or how to protect and stay in between the walls and just give me an education on the simple things that people have already went through, but I haven’t,” Kravtsov said. “[The people he’s staying with] have two children and the kids are talking like, ‘Oh, it’s no big deal when the rockets fly through, it’s not a big deal when there’s a big drone flying over your house.”

In the meantime, his organization is trying to set up sports camps for the children of many people who are either fighting the Russians, or who died in the battle.

Monday evening, the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine plays at Leid Center in Lawrence.