Cover WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Demonstrators gather at the Lincoln Memorial to protest against the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine before marching to the White House on February 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. Attendees called for U.S. President Joe Biden to take a stronger stance on deterring Russia from invading Ukraine and demanded the end of Russia's occupation of Crimea. (Photo by Kenny Holston/Getty Images)

Below are organisations and charities where we can provide temporary relief to victims of Ukraine-Russia war

As the rest of the world sleep peacefully in their quarters, the people of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, have all their senses working; many families lie awake in fear that at any moment, a siren would come off signalling yet another tension. 

The most devastating blow of Russian President Vladimir Putin's attacks were felt by mere spectators who had nothing to do with any state conflict—a student who was finding the safest place of refuge, a newly-wedded couple who had no choice but to grab rifles on their honeymoon, 14 innocent children, almost 5,000 civilians and soldiers , and even the actress who felt sorry she wasn't Putin's mother.

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Both Ukraine and Russia were members of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The union, which consisted of 15 socialist republics, were all under the power of Soviet Russia. When the Soviet Union disbanded in the early 90's, Russia's control over other nations, including Ukraine, was severed.

Russia and Ukraine have a long history which colours and defines today's conflict. For people to picture the intensity of their relationship, all they need to do is make the clock reverse: both Russia and Ukraine have common ancestry, in the 9th Century, these nations belong in one Slavic and Baltic federation called Kievan Rus'. In the 10th and 11th century, Kievan Rus' was one of the most powerful federations across the globe until they were occupied by the Mongols in the 13th century. When the Soviet Union was established, Ukraine and Russia were already separate countries.

In 1991, after the USSR was abolished, Ukraine was left with one third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, this made it the third largest Nuclear power next to United States and Russia.

Through a series of diplomatic agreements, the United States and Russia denuclearised Ukraine; Kyiv eventually gave up hundreds of its nuclear weapons back to Russia in exchange of security assurances.

So what EXACTLY is Russia's 'beef' with Ukraine?

Post-Soviet Europe influences today's conflict. Putin has long made it evident that he wants to reclaim the empire and Ukraine is essential to this vision. The Russian President has stated that Ukrainians and Russians were "a single whole".

When the Soviet Union was disbanded, Russia's backup against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), came along with it. NATO, which now consists 30 of countries including Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, and more, was the country's enemy during the Cold War.

In the past two decades, several Soviet allies have started joining the NATO and Ukraine seeks to come with them. This move on Ukraine's part did not sit well with Putin. As an aggressive approach, the President sent in 150,000 troops, military gears, and medical units near Ukrainian border.

Russia fears that Ukraine's eagerness to join the NATO would mean that the federation is slowly stepping in its borders. This is the reason why Russia threatens Ukraine and demands the NATO to honour its past agreement [that it will not have an eastward expansion].

In the map below, people can vividly see the remaining divide between NATO forces and Russia:

If Ukraine successfully joins the NATO, it will have the backup of at least 30 states. Under Article five of NATO's constitution, "an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all allies." 

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Stand Up for Ukraine

In a chilling warning to the West, Putin said that "anyone who would consider interfering from the outside" will "face consequences greater than any you have faced in history"—a thinly veiled threat to send nuclear bombs to the United States or its NATO allies.

Ukraine refuses to back down and is prepared to defend its territories; some civilians have gladly volunteered to arm themselves and fight against Russian troops. Its President, Volodymyr Zelensky, also announced that he is willing to set free all Ukrainian prisoners with combat experience to help defend the nation against the invasion.

"Under martial law, Ukrainians with real combat experience will be released from custody and will be able to compensate for their guilt in the hottest spots of the conflict,' Zelensky said. "We have taken a decision which is not easy from the moral point of view, but which is useful from the point of view of our defences."

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Reports have so far revealed that as of February 28, 2022, there are already more than 5,000 people, including military personnel and civilians who have lost their lives as Russia continues to assault Ukraine. Among these casualties are 14 children.

The World Speaks Up

Around the globe, there have been several appeals against Putin's aggressive move. In fact, inside Russia, there are thousands of anti-war activists who marched from Moscow to Siberia to vehemently condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Demonstrators held pickets and chanted "No to war!" despite the arrests of hundreds of protesters each day by the police. The Kremlin has sought to downplay the protests, saying that a much broader share of Russians support the assault on Ukraine. In addition to street protests, there are also famous TV personalities and common folks who shared open letters and signed petitions that condemn the invasion. 

Besides speaking up, people have also started raising funds for war victims through the following charities and organisations:

 

1.) UNICEF for Ukrainian Children

As the conflict escalates in Ukraine, millions of children and their families are facing immediate danger. The UNICEF, which is also known as the United Nations Children's Fund, called on all parties to refrain from attacking civilian infrastructures where children depend including water and sanitation systems, health facilities, and learning institutions.

The organisation has also set up a donation drive to help provide emergency responses that include:

  • Prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies as close as possible to communities near the line of contact, trucking safe water to conflict-affected areas 
  • Supporting mobile child protection teams providing psychosocial care to children traumatised by chronic insecurity, responding to cases of violence and abuse against children and assisting children separated from family
  • Working with municipalities to ensure there is immediate help for children and families in need 

Visit this site to donate

2.) UNCHR The UN Refugees Agency PH for Displaced Ukrainian Families

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also joined the calls to stop attacks against Ukraine. Its Commissioner Filippo Grandi has stated that the humanitarian consequences of this military action will be devastating. "Countless lives will be torn apart. We have already seen reports of casualties and people starting to flee their homes to seek safety."

The organisation opened a donation drive that will help provide "life-saving protection to families forced to flee their homes."

Visit this site to donate

3.) National Bank of Ukrain Opens Humanitarian Account

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has made a decision to open a special fundraising account to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. NBU Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko announced the opening of this special account in his February 24 video address.

Visit this site to check out which currencies are supported

4.) NOVA Ukraine

Non-profit organisation NOVA Ukraine, which is dedicated in raising humanitarian awareness, has also opened its own donation drive for war victims. Since 2014, Nova Ukraine has spent "over USD 400,000 on humanitarian aid to Ukraine, ranging from medical equipment for wounded soldiers to dresses and suits for graduation days in orphanages across Ukraine." As the current crisis worsens, the organisation is focused on helping "fellow Ukrainians face the adversity and persevere."

Visit this site to donate

5.) The Kyiv Independent for Continuous Media Coverage

Journalists have a very important role most especially today as the Russian-Ukrainian war unfolds. The Kyiv Independent, one of the country's most trusted media organisation tirelessly provides timely updates about the on-going conflict. 

A Go Fund Me has been raised for them by organiser Jakub Parusinski. "Ukraine is facing an unprecedented attack. The Kyiv Independent continues to work, bringing the world trusted, important information about the facts on the ground. We need your support in this difficult and unpredictable task. From cyberattacks, bombings, ground invasions—it is hard to predict what the days ahead will bring and what we will need to respond," Parusinski wrote.

Visit this link to donate


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