Ukraine Unlocked

Bella Ciao: The Anthem Against Annexation

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The Week of September 26th - October 3rd

This Week's Takeaway...
Map highlighting the regions illegally annexed by Russia. Credit: Basque mapping
Russia announced the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian territories after staging “referendums” in which reports and videos surfaced of Russian soldiers forcing residents to vote at gunpoint. Using the global backlash against the sham land grab, President Zelenskyy submitted a fast-track NATO membership application. On the war front, Ukraine’s military liberated the strategic town of Lyman, undermining Putin's vow to "protect" the seized regions. Despite the West's condemnation of Russia’s actions, Europe continues to be reliant on Putin's regime to keep the natural gas flowing. While Europe wavers, the will of Ukrainian soldiers to stand-up against Russia is unquestionable as they rally around a 19th-century Italian anti-fascist song, Bella Ciao.

 All this and more in the below newsletter! 

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. 
The Russian-owned gas company Gazprom logo. Credit: Flcikr
Amplifying Messages
  • Gas Still Flows: Despite Russia’s globally-condemned annexation of the four Ukrainian territories this week, Russia continues to supply Europe with natural gas. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, announced on Sunday that the amount of natural gas it supplies to the continent had not changed over the weekend. As winter begins to set in, Europe may tread carefully with its response to Russia's aggression, or risk having its main energy supply cut off. 
  • Diamonds are Forever: One country that has not sanctioned Russia thus far has been the Middle Eastern country of Israel. Alrosa, another state-owned Russian company, boasts the largest diamond mining operation in the world. Several Israeli companies work with Alrosa by polishing their diamonds in Israel. This allows Alrosa to side-step sanctions and sell its products to the U.S. The loophole seems to be an oversight in both the Israeli and U.S. governments. 
  • More Aid to Ukraine: U.S. lawmakers passed a bill that averted a government shutdown. The bill included money for Ukraine's war effort. The Democratic-led House passed a short-term spending bill that gave another $12.3 billion to Ukraine. The funding will support the operation of the Ukrainian government and transfer more weapons and supplies to the military. While the bill faced staunch opposition from Republicans in the House, 22 Republicans in the Senate supported the measure.
🪖 Human Moment: 🪖
Ukrainian troops make a Monty Python-type entrance into the previously occupied city of Izum.
The original album cover for the "Bella Ciao" song. Credit:
International Song of Unity
  • Bella Ciao: The Italian song Bella Ciao has become the anthem of resistance in both Ukraine and Iran. The song originally emanated from the anti-fascist movement in Italy during the years that Mussolini ruled over the country. Now the symbol of defiance is going viral in videos being posted across the internet. People in Iran and Ukraine are singing the tune as citizens and soldiers rise up against fascist governments in the modern era. 
  • Dancer Death: Oleksandr Shapoval, a Ukranian ballet dancer, died on the battlefield after he volunteered to join the war effort in response to Russia’s invasion. The father of two had no prior military experience, spending 28 years performing with the National Opera of Ukraine. Shapoval’s death further widens the hole that has developed in Ukraine’s cultural scene as a result of Russia’s war. Numerous artists are fleeing abroad and it is unclear when or if they will return to Ukraine at the war’s end.
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President Zelenskyy and two advisors hold Ukraine's application to join NATO. Credit: President of Ukraine
Land Grabs in the Face of Defeat
  • Voting at Gunpoint: From September 23rd to the 27th, Russia held staged “referendums” in four occupied territories of Ukraine: Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. Residents in these areas reported being forced to vote at gunpoint. Others were promised food and water, items that have risen in price significantly, in exchange for a “yes” vote. Russian soldiers went door-to-door to herd residents to the polling stations and controlled all aspects of the voting process. On September 30th, Vladimir Putin announced in front of a large crowd in Red Square that the vote to succeed from Ukraine had been nearly unanimous in the occupied territories and that they would be joining the Russian Federation.
  • Military Moves: On October 1st, Ukrainian attacks forced Russian troops to withdraw from Lyman in the Donetsk Oblast. Since capturing the city in May, Russia has used the city as a launching point for offensives in the Donetsk region. Ukraine is now in complete control of the city, which is a blow to Putin’s claim that Russia would “protect” the illegally annexed territories at all costs.
  • NATO Aspirations: On Friday, President Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine has applied for a fast-track NATO application. Zelenskyy hopes the move will help solidify the country’s relationship with the military alliance. Shortly after, the heads of nine NATO countries in Central and Eastern Europe published a joint statement supporting Ukraine’s membership and called on the other 21 members to back the application. NATO membership requires unanimous approval from all thirty member countries.
  • Civilian Convoy Bombed: On September 30th, three Russian missiles struck a civilian convoy in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, claiming the lives of 30 people and injuring another 88. The civilian cars were entering the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia to help evacuate residents.

🤬 Human Moment: 🤬

A Ukrainian soldier gives his NSFW take on what NATO should be doing.
Hampshire, England accounts for most of the homeless or at-risk Ukrainian families. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Humanitarian Crisis
  • Homelessness in the U.K. At least 127 Ukrainian families are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in southern England. Many families are nearing the end of their six-month housing placement that began in March. Host families in the U.K. are hard to come by. Furthermore, some of the original hosts want to end their involvement in Homes for Ukraine because of complicated living arrangements or the rising cost of living. The national government said local councils must find the families proper accommodation.
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
Tech is a focal point of future investment in Ukraine. Credit: tec_estromberg on Flickr
Investing in the Future
  • Fund for Visionaries: On Monday, Horizon Capital, a private equity firm based in the U.K. focusing on Emerging Europe, announced the creation of an investment fund worth $125 million, 50% of the original goal of $250 million. The company plans to raise an additional $125 million in the upcoming months. The fund will support entrepreneurs in tech- and export-oriented industries. President Zelenskyy took part in the announcement and highlighted the endless investment opportunities available in Ukraine.
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. 
Entry Level  Mid-Career Senior Level 
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. We always look forward to engaging with our readers. 

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