Ukraine evacuee inspired by Hiroshima's symbolism

Hiroshima has emerged as a haven for many Ukrainians seeking safety from Russia's attacks on their homeland. One evacuee shares his story and explains why his adopted city gives him hope.

The last 12 months have been tumultuous for Anton Kudriavtsev. Once immersed in engineering studies, his trajectory shifted when Russia invaded his native Ukraine.

Airstrikes and power outages made it impossible to be in the same room as his professors, and difficult even to study remotely.

"It (was) hard to cooperate or to send homework in on the deadline," he says.

Last fall, Kudriavtsev became one of more than 2,000 evacuees who fled Ukraine for Japan.

He resumed his academic career at Hiroshima University, but switched from engineering to a field he considers more peaceful: advanced mathematics. He feared that any ideas an engineer comes up with could be weaponized by people with other motives. "It's very hard to control every idea," he says.

Though his life in Hiroshima is peaceful now, he feels guilty about leaving his family behind. His parents and 9-year-old brother still live in his hometown, Lviv, and they tell him their life is interrupted frequently by evacuation alarms.

"I'm still nervous for my friends, my family," he says. "It's hard for me to sleep."

Kudriavtsev speaking online to his family in Ukraine

Source of hope

Kudriavtsev says he chose Hiroshima as a base for his studies for purely academic reasons, but as he learns more about the city — the first to be hit by an atomic bomb — it gives him hope that his home country can one day recover.

"I think that this place can remind us about the importance of peace," he says. 
In May, world leaders flew into Hiroshima to attend a G7 summit, and Kudriavtsev was paying close attention. He says he was hoping the location would inspire them the way it has him, and cement their support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

That hope was fortified when he learned of their visit to the city's Peace Memorial Museum, a testament to the horrors of nuclear war.

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