Digital Diplomacy
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STAND WITH UKRAINE

My Motherland is at War — Please Help Ukraine Now

I didn’t imagine I would ever write something like this…

Today, I’m first of all a Ukrainian, not a designer writing “how-to” articles. I’m not afraid to lose followers who don’t expect “politics” from me. I’ll continue using all channels to help my country: increase awareness, debunk enemy’s misinformation, finance defenders, and promote further sanctions against aggressors — Russia and Belarus, with their tyrant leaders, Putin and Lukashenka, silently approved by most citizens.

They used to call us “brothers.” Now I think, “Thank god, we have only two ‘brotherly’ neighbors.”

A man assists an elderly woman away from a burning building after an airstrike. Photo: Alex Lourie.

What is happening

First of all, this is not a “situation,” “conflict,” “crisis,” “civil war,” or “special operation.” Sovereign state Ukraine heroically withstands a full-scale invasion of Russian troops started without declaring war at 5 a.m. on the 24th of February 2022 and accompanied by Belarus several days after. Not to mention that the Russia-backed hybrid war has continued since 2014.

How you know? Here are up-to-date, verified news

Kharkiv after the shelling on Feb 28 and devastated Freedom Square on Mar 1. Photos: Depositphotos.
Burnt Russian vehicle with the text “No War” in Kharkiv. Civilians hide from bombing in the Kyiv metro. Photos: Depositphotos.

The aggressor claimed they would “rescue” Ukrainian people from the “Nazi regime” and demilitarize us without harming civilians; they expected Ukraine to surrender in 2 days and truly believed the Ukrainians would greet them as “liberators.” Of course, this is fully bullshit! Whoever stated this (not Winston Churchill, though) was right:

The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.

Russians call us Nazis, but they shelled the Holocaust Memorial. They call our President Nazi and Russophobic, but this dude of Jewish descent grew up in a mostly Russian-speaking city in the east of Ukraine. They blame Ukrainians for bombing our own land — Donetsk and Luhansk Regions — but CCTV shows it was the Russian missile “Kalibr” that hit Freedom Square in Kharkiv and killed people. They are the second strongest army in the world, but their soldiers drop 7-year-old expired rations on the battlefield. Invaders hit the 385-meter-high TV tower in Kyiv, believing we watch 24/7 propaganda as they do, but it cannot stop the truth.

Damaged Russian infantry vehicles in Kharkiv. A missile attack on the TV tower in Kyiv. Photos: Reuters.
Courageous unarmed residents of Enerhodar block the road to stop a column of invaders; Enerhodar has the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. A pile of destroyed Russian vehicles in Bucha, not far from Kyiv. Second photo: AP.

The atrocities of war

The Russian “blitzkrieg” failed from day one, and, of course, they haven’t found any imaginary “NATO bases that threatened Russia” in Ukraine. So, the aggressor began a genocide — bombing peaceful cities and shooting at evacuation corridors.

Mariupol: 18-month-old boy wounded in a shelling dies in the hospital. Photos: AP.
A Russian airstrike devastated a maternity hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol; 17 reported hurt. Photos: AP.

The consequence of invasion (Feb 24 — Mar 3)*

  • Ukrainian civilians killed: 2000+ people (including 16 children).
  • Invaders’ casualties: 9000+ people.
  • Ukrainian refugees: approximately 1 million (and the same number of internally displaced people).
  • Ukrainians donated for the needs of the Armed Forces: 6,000,000,000 hryvnias, or $220M.

* This section illustrates only the first week of the war. Information changes every day; please check the fresh stats.

A family of four killed by Russian troops on Mar 6 in Irpin, a town adjacent to Kyiv, despite the evacuation corridor. In the background on the left — a monument to Irpin citizens who fought against Nazis in the Second World War. Photos: The New York Times.
Ukrainians crowd under the broken bridge trying to flee across the Irpin River, near Kyiv. Photo: AP.

What you can do

Ukraine furiously resists the numerous yet cowardly enemy forces; however, war is a costly thing.

Naturally, many countries think for themselves, “Why should I care about a conflict in Eastern Europe? Russia hasn’t done anything bad to me. Why shouldn’t we buy their gas, sell them electronics, and let them watch movies? Do not provoke Putin, or he’ll start the third world war!”

The same had been said 80 years ago about Hitler. Civilized, reasonable, and well-behaved Europe watched and hoped until it was late.

People cross a river on a blown-up bridge on Mar 1 in Kyiv. A man is crying in a damaged car in Brovary near Kyiv. Photos: AFP, AP.
A wounded woman after the bombing of Chuguiv. Ukrainian refugees reunite on Feb 26 at the Medyka border crossing. Photos: AFP, AP.

One cannot feed a monster and keep own hands unbitten. You cannot please a madman or trade your safety for sacrificing another country. It only boosts the monster’s appetite. So, this is not a local problem; it’s a clash between the civilized world and an archaic empire that sees itself no less than the Soviet Union’s resurrection.

Here is what everyone can start doing right now

  1. Spread the truth about the war, killed and displaced civilians, and ruined cities on social media with the hashtags #StandWithUkraine, #RussiaInvadedUkraine, #PutinIsATerrorist, #StopRussia, #StopWar, #UkraineWillResist, #HelpUkraineNow, #StopRussianAggression.
  2. Sign petitions aimed at protecting Ukraine and isolating the occupants. The citizens of aggressor states should act instead of “feeling ashamed” and continuing to play games, watch TV, and plan vacations as if nothing happens. Ask companies to cut business ties with Russia and Belarus.
  3. Join anti-war rallies in your city. Show solidarity with Ukraine. Demand action from your governments if they’re still in doubt. The Ukrainian Army is strong and motivated (we are on our own land), but they need defense weapons to protect Ukraine and the rest of Europe.
  4. Join your local humanitarian aid organization that is helping Ukraine.
Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Lugansk Region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after an interview. Photos: AFP, Reuters.

But even more critical — donate to trusted organizations

  1. Special account of the National Bank of Ukraine (accepts 9 different currencies; simplified payment in Euro and U.S. dollar).
  2. Save Life Fund and their subsidiary Come Back Alive (work since 2014; accept Euro, U.S. dollar, and Bitcoin).
  3. Fund Hospitallers (medical volunteers).
  4. Bring needed goods to the collection points in your city; for example, here are the points and most-needed items in Berlin.
Uzhhorod: people are preparing Molotov cocktails in a city park. Kyiv: a man saves pets from a damaged house. Photos: Depositphotos.
Civil defense personnel man at a checkpoint in Kyiv. A victim of the bombing in Mariupol. Photos: Keystone, AP.

P. S. I’ve been living in Berlin for 2 years, and I’ve already received dozens of nasty comments about how I dare to stay abroad and that it’s easy to speak from a safe place (hello, survivor’s guilt). What’s interesting, none of those comments was written by a Ukrainian. Ukrainians know that each of us has their own “battlefront,” and everyone can be helpful.

And so can you. Every repost, comment, money transfer, public protest, petition, piece of humanitarian aid, shelter, or opportunity for refugees counts. It nears the victory of the good over the evil.

I’m just a drop in the ocean, but together we are invincible.

Stand with Ukraine!

My wife in front of the blue-and-yellow illuminated Brandenburg Gate on Feb 23, ten hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A massive demonstration against the war on Feb 27 in Berlin — around half a million people.
March against the war on Feb 27 in the center of Berlin.

Additional materials

You might have heard about Ukraine for the first time today because of the intensive war coverage in the news. However, Ukrainians have a long history of living with a neighbor-terrorist. Here are some references that’ll give you a flavor of the historical context.

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Slava Shestopalov 🇺🇦

Slava Shestopalov 🇺🇦

#StandWithUkraine · Design manager, public speaker, weird travel blogger · medium.com/5-a-m