Ukraine Unlocked

Abortions in Foreign Lands

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Week of 6/27 - 7/4

Ukraine Unlocked is a weekly newsletter providing a roundup of the cultural, political, and economic developments in the country. We hope to provide students, professionals, and the casual reader with greater insight into Ukraine as its role on the global stage evolves throughout the 21st century. 
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As Americans are dealing with the fallout of the precedent of Roe vs. Wade being overturned, Ukrainians are facing their own crisis of access to abortion care. Women fleeing the war have sought safety in the neighboring country of Poland. Refugees have been welcomed and supported in Poland, with NGOs providing housing and resources to those with nowhere to go. Yet for some women who have sought to have abortions while outside of Ukraine, Poland's restrictive abortion laws have come as a shock. In Poland, women may only have an abortion in the case of rape or incest up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. These laws have meant that some refugees are being forced to travel even further from Ukraine in order to seek abortions. Those who help women receive an abortion in Poland can face jail time adding to the tense environment surrounding the war.
 
What does abortion access look like for those fleeing the war in Ukraine…click here to read more.
 
This week's analysis is written by guest contributor Rachel HutchisonShe is a scholar of East European history, focusing on Cold War culture and women’s history in the Soviet Union. She received her master’s in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies from The Ohio State University.
Protest outside of the White House in Washington DC, urging support of Ukraine. Credit: Gabe Pimsler
 Ensuring a Ukraine for Tomorrow 
  • “As Long as it Takes”: President Biden vowed to back Ukraine for “as long as it takes” among mounting domestic criticism that inflation from the war is hurting Americans. The president spoke at a news conference in Madrid where leaders of NATO met to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine. Biden also promised to unveil even more aid for Ukraine totaling $800 million in the coming days. This brings the total level of funding for Ukraine from the U.S. to over $5 billion since the war began. 
  • Ukrainian Pilots Featured on CNN: A pair of Ukrainian pilots,  codenamed “Moonfish” and “Juice,” made a public plea for support of their air force. The two went on CNN to highlight the vast discrepancies between Ukraine’s and Russia's air capabilities. The two concealed their faces while on the air in order to protect their identity.
  • E.U. Flag Raised: After the E.U.’s vote last week to recognize Ukraine with “Candidate Status,” the Rada  (parliament) raised the European Union flag in its chamber. The flag-raising was mostly symbolic but shows an important commitment from the government to further align itself with the West. 
A destroyed building in Lysychansk from 2014. The city has been a long-term strategic goal for the Russians. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Strategic Update – Week 18 of War
  • Black Sea Victory: On Thursday, Russian forces withdrew from Snake Island as Ukrainian troops launched a bevy of missiles. Russia captured the island on the first day of the invasion. However, its capture became famous when news outlets reported that Ukrainian guardsmen told the approaching boat: “Russian warship: go f*ck yourself.” The recapturing of the island is more of a symbolic than a strategic step, as it will likely not lift Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian goods in the black sea. After the Russians initially captured the island in February, Ukrainian officials reported that all the guardsmen had died. However, later accounts confirmed that the Russians had taken the Ukrainian soldiers as prisoners.
    • Shifting the Focus: Kremlin officials said the withdrawal of troops from the island is part of their effort to "liberate the Donbas.” As troops fled the island, Russian artillery bombarded the city of Lysychansk from several sides. After Russian troops captured Severodonetsk last week, Lysychansk became their next target. President Zelenskyy noted in his nightly address that Russians “have simply brought in all their reserves to hit us” in the Luhansk and Donetsk Regions.
  • Artillery Destroys Malls: Russian artillery hit a mall in Kremenchuk, 200 miles southeast of Kyiv. The blast killed 18 civilians, while 20 are still missing and hundreds are injured. Allegedly there were hundreds of people in the mall. 
    • No Excuses Found: Kremlin officials scrambled to justify the attack on another civilian target. First, they claimed the mall was no longer operational, and Ukrainian leaders staged the bombing. Second, they said the fire spread from an alleged attack on a nearby weapons depot. Both claims have been debunked: pictures show civilians in the mall the day before the attack, and the closest factory is a quarter-mile away and only manufactures road equipment.
  • More Civilian Targets: On Friday, a Russian missile struck a residential building near Odesa and killed 18 while injuring another 40. At least 150 people are believed to have been in the building. Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov once again denied that Russia targeted civilians.
Borschch soup. Credit: Flickr
Is Borshch in Danger?
  • Borshch Makes UNESCO List: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the cooking of borsch to its list of endangered intangible cultural heritage list. The origins of the dish are contentious as Russia claims the soup to be its own, which Ukraine disputes. The Russian foreign ministry slammed the move saying the delicacy did not need any “safeguarding.” 
  • Czechs Show Russian Film: An international film festival in the Czech town of Karlovy Vary drew the ire of Ukrainian officials and activists when it decided to screen the Russian film “Captain Volkonogov Escaped.” Organizers defended the move saying that the movie is a critique of the Russian government but in the film’s trailer it states that the piece received backing from the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture.
  • Sean Penn to Kyiv: American actor and filmmaker Sean Penn is making a documentary about Ukraine and its political scene which he started last year. Penn had actually been in the country when Russia began its invasion and contemplated staying and taking up arms against Russia. He eventually changed his mind and fled to Poland. This past week he returned to Kyiv and interviewed Zelenskyy for the film. The premiere date of the documentary has yet to be determined. 
View of Kyiv, where the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine is headquartered. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Economic Prospects
  • Invest Now: The President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine said the country’s resiliency and impressive technological infrastructure are sending a message to the world: “now is the time to look at making investments in Ukraine.” President Andy Hunder said that the U.S. government and its affiliates are preparing companies to invest now, not in six months or after the war ends. He highlighted how the destruction of numerous cities has created a need for construction materials. However, the needs transcend infrastructure and include “healthcare, education, and agriculture.”
Ukrainian families fleeing the war. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Humanitarian Crisis 
  • More Hidden Victims: In 2021, there were 182 children reported missing in Ukraine. During the first three months of the war, that number jumped to over 2,200. Most of the missing children are girls, and rates of sex trafficking have increased dramatically.
    • Forced Relocation: The number of missing children does not include the nearly 200,000 children that Russian troops have forcibly relocated to Russia. One Ukrainian official in Zaporizhzhia, whose son was kidnapped by Russian forces for political reasons, alleges that Kremlin officials are taking the children to compensate for Russia’s low birth rate and aging population.
Some Human Moments Prevail
 
Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the war in Ukraine, videos shared over social media show that humanity still exists. 
  • A man does yoga in northeastern Kharkiv next to where a missile fell.
  • Billionaire business mogul Richard Branson visited the Antonov airfield and expressed an interest in rebuilding the site.
Want to Help Ukraine?
 
Looking to lend support to Ukraine, below are some ways you can help:
  • Help forPEACE, which seeks to connect foreign donations with on-the-ground organizations in Ukraine
  • Donate to the Ukrainian military (will need google translate on your computer)
  • Donate to Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive
  • Help Ukrainian refugees in Poland
To help people pursue their passions about the Eurasian region we are collecting jobs that are connected to the area. If you have a relevant job you would like posted here please contact us. 
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