Last year, Andrii Bilous' life changed quickly.
On Feb. 23, 2022, Bilous, a husband and father of two, was a professor of forestry in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The next day, Russia's invasion of Ukraine began – and he became a soldier.
Bilous said he often thinks he is in a dream, but his situation is all too real.
He said he thought "it would be a couple weeks, maybe a couple months and we can come back to previous life, or short time," Bilous told Spectrum News. "When we start to think about a year it was ... unreal."
Friday marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Neither side has shown any sign of letting up, with seemingly no end to the conflict in sight.
Bilous, who grew up in Belarus and lived in Kyiv for 20 years, spoke to Spectrum News last year just days after the invasion began.
One year later, Bilous is a professor without students — some of whom have died in battle, he said.
He's also gone months without seeing his his wife and children, who are living in Germany.
"The most difficult is that we don’t understand when it’s finished, when we can come back to previous life," said Bilous. "But we must continue to fight for victory."
When the invasion began last year, many expected that Russia would emerge victorious after President Vladimir Putin launched his "special military operation" into the neighboring country. Instead, Ukraine built a wall around Putin’s ambitions, beating back Russia’s attempt to take over their country.
"Anybody who went to Las Vegas on Feb. 23, 2022, and said ‘I’d like to bet that Ukraine is still standing, that they held off the Russians,’ could have gotten really good odds,” Bruce Jentleson, a professor of public policy at Duke University, told Spectrum News. “It’s extraordinary, both the courage, the skill ... the Ukrainian people have shown."
Jentleson said that financial and military support from the U.S. and European countries has also been critical in Ukraine’s fight, but Putin is not backing down and there is not enough opposition back home to force him to do so.
The conflict, Jentleson said, is at a pivotal point.
"The Russians, even with all of their casualties, are reportedly amassing another 200,000-300,000 soldiers," he told Spectrum News. "It could be that Ukraine continues to do well, but it’s really uncertain."
The one-year anniversary of Russia’s war with Ukraine comes as support for Ukraine begins to soften among some Republicans. How and when the war ends, whether through fighting or diplomacy, is unclear.
Last year, Bilous told Spectrum News that he believed Ukraine would win the war. He still holds that same view one year later.
"Yes, we will win," he said, before adding: "But we need support from the West."
"I hope we will win soon because, honestly, all families and all soldiers are very tired," he added.
After a year without his children and six months without seeing his wife, Bilous was reunited temporarily with his family in Kyiv this week.
"I feel ... happy and some dramatic feeling, emotion, because I know this meeting [is only] for one week," he said, adding: "Nobody know[s] when we [will] have [the] opportunity to see each other next time."