IT was a straightforward question, even if I knew the answer wouldn’t be. It was only after asking it that I realised how impossible it was to respond definitively.

“Do you think Russia will mark the anniversary by launching missile strikes?” I asked a Ukrainian friend, shortly after returning here to Kyiv a few days ago.

Her shrug, along with the two-word response “who knows”, pretty much summed up the air of resignation that I’ve experienced since my return here to Ukraine.

As she herself admits, everyone in Ukraine is now an “expert” on the war, or at least thinks they are. What she means by this is that opinions are never in short supply – whether it concerns president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decision to replace popular General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi with General Oleksandr Syrskyi as the new head of the armed forces, or the debate on how the delivery of the much-vaunted US-made F16 fighter planes to the Ukrainian air force might help turn the tide of this war, Ukrainians all have their own individual take.

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But if there is one thing on which most Ukrainians agree as this weekend’s second anniversary of the Russians’ invasion on February 2022 looms, it’s that they are weary of this war. By that I don’t mean they are ready to throw in the towel, roll over and let Russian president Vladimir Putin have his way – far from it.

What Ukrainians strike me as really weary of is the prevarication that comes from their Western allies. Ukraine’s “give us the tools and let us get on with the job” mindset that was so prevalent at the start of this war remains as resonant as ever, perhaps more so after two years of fighting.

Zelenskyy’s now famous quip that “I need ammunition, not a ride” in response to the US offer to spirit him out of Kyiv as Russian tanks and troops bore down on the capital two years ago has become something of a leitmotiv of the war here.

Ukrainians are not known for shying away from a fight, especially when it comes to Russia. Rightly, they are quick to remind anyone like me who talks in terms of the last two years of conflict that their struggle has gone on a lot longer than that.

As the world’s media this weekend focuses on the events of February 24, 2022, it’s often forgotten that it’s now a decade since police gunned down dozens of civilians in the street here in Kyiv in what was the first large-scale bloodshed in the Kremlin’s efforts to keep Ukraine within its grip.

That “other” February date that Ukrainians keep in mind is of February 20, 2014, when those protesters, who for months had been opposing the corrupt regime of then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian placeman, felt the full wrath of the Kremlin’s protege.

For his part, Yanukovych, realising of course that the writing was on the wall, subsequently quickly fled to Russia as a pro-Western government took over, prompting Putin to send his “little green men” – those masked soldiers in unmarked green uniforms – into Crimea.

Since that February day 10 years ago, Ukraine’s dead have continued to fill up the country’s streets across this vast land in the fight against Russia, but the spirit that prevailed back then during the Maidan Uprising or Revolution of Dignity was where it really all began.

On Tuesday this week as I arrived back here in Kyiv, Ukrainians commemorated what is known as Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day, in honour of those protesters who fell during that uprising of 2013-2014 and the pivotal events that shaped the revolution’s outcome and forced Yanukovych to flee.

The National: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to journalists, in Oslo, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. (Cornelius Poppe/NTB Scanpix via AP).

It was the two Ukrainian poets, Lyudmyla Maksymlyuk and Tetiana Domashenko, inspired by the solemnity of the ceremony back then to commemorate the fallen, that composed verses that first introduced the term “heavenly hundred” for the first time, referring to those who had died.

Back then, Domashenko recited her poem from the Maidan stage not far from where today, on Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square, a space is given over to small flags stuck in the ground that honour more recent fallen soldiers.

For the past two years and every time I return, I can’t help but notice how those flags have increased significantly to become a vast sea of blue and yellow along with flags of other countries with the names of foreign volunteers who have died alongside Ukrainians in the war against the Russian invasion.

This is effectively a people’s memorial, one that every day reminds both citizens of Kyiv as well as other Ukrainians and others like me passing through of the terrible cost that has been paid this past decade in Ukraine’s fight to remain free from the authoritarian rule that Putin would like to impose here.

The Euromaidan protests of 10 years ago marked a pivotal moment from which there is no turning back for Ukrainians.

If they are weary today, that weariness comes only from frustration at those who repeatedly appear to turn their back on them at precisely the moment Ukraine needs their support most.

A decade on, as this nation continues to struggle in its efforts to hold back the Russian invasion, the message from those days gone by still reverberates and helps fuel a resilience that is being put to the test like never before.

As the world this weekend pauses and remembers that day two years ago when the biggest conflict in Europe since the Second World War was unleashed, it might spare a moment to consider that Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty and democracy started long before then.

Out of the ashes of the Maidan and Revolution of Dignity was born an indomitable spirit. Yes, occasionally today the spark of that spirit flickers uncertainly here as the war wears relentlessly on.

But mark my words, it’s a long way from being extinguished yet.