Ukraine Unlocked

Photography Frames War

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The Week of November 14th - November 21st

This Week's Takeaway in 30 Seconds...
Another one of Bansky's work, this time in the city of Irpin. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Winter in Ukraine will be long and difficult. As the war drags on out east, Ukrainians are set to experience power outages and higher gas prices. One energy exec has even asked people to leave the country to help alleviate demand on the system. But leaving doesn't always seem to be a safe option for people. A new PBS NewsHour feature shed a light on the work exploitation that many refugees face as they relocate to countries like Romania and Poland. Capturing tragedies in and outside of Ukraine has required documenting even the most gruesome situations. Photographer Lynsey Addario has released a new book that documents the human suffering but also bravery emanating from Russia's invasion. Further away, leadership in the U.K. seems to be waving the same flag of support for Ukraine, while Japanese and U.S. politicians have started to waver.

 All this and more in the below newsletter! 

Our cofounder, Gabe Pimsler, recently delivered a presentation on Ukraine Unlocked and the war in Ukraine at his alma mater Franklin and Marshall College.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: Flickr
New Leaders,
Maybe Not the Same Support
  • U.K. Doesn’t Miss a Beat: England’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid a visit to Ukraine this week, following the G20 meeting in Indonesia. Sunak used the trip to announce a 50 million pound ($59 million) weapons defense package. He also had the chance to visit a memorial for those who had been killed in the war. Sunak’s visit falls into the pattern of strong U.K. support for Ukraine from its leadership. Both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, Sunak’s predecessors, made a point of clearly aligning with Zelenskyy and his country. 
  • Japan’s Perspective: Former Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshiro Mori, recently said at a political gathering in Tokyo "I don't quite understand why only President Putin is criticized while Mr. Zelenskyy isn't taken to task at all. Mr. Zelenskyy has made many Ukrainian people suffer." Mori led the country during the early 2000s and rebuilt relations with Russia. He also used the opportunity to criticize the Japanese media, calling it biased and overly reliant on Western reports. Mori is known for making controversial statements. He stated during an Olympics related gathering that meetings with women tend to "drag on."  
  • Marjorie Back At It: Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is leading a resolution in the U.S. House to have the funds provided to Ukraine be audited. Specifically, the language calls for all administration documents and communications related to Ukraine aid to be preserved. The measure will likely go nowhere as it has only a handful of Republican supporters in the House, but shows that skepticism for Ukrainian aid may remain a priority of certain fringe groups in this Congress.
 Human Moment: 

Dave Chapelle gave a shout-out to Ukraine during his controversial, opening monologue on Saturday Night Live.

Civilians evacuating from Irpin are killed by Russian shelling. Credit: Lynsey Addario/Flickr
Where Are the Artists?
  • Photographing War: Earlier this year, the New York Times ran a front-page photo of a family who had been killed during an evacuation of Irpin. The photo became well-known and controversial for its graphic display of war. Now the photographer who captured this image is publishing a book of her work. In Relentless Courage: Ukraine and the World at War, Lynsey Addario captures the human cost of Putin’s war and the impact it has had on Ukraine’s civil society. You can buy the book on Amazon.
  • Artist Exodus: Russia has felt the negative impacts of its war on all fronts. People are fleeing the country, especially those that rely on free expression to effectively execute their craft. Artists escaping Russia’s Iron Curtain have looked to Israel in particular for refuge and are now using their time in the country to protest their home county’s war on Ukraine. NPR recently wrote a feature piece on a dancer, drawer, and musician who all fled to Israel at the start of the war. They are part of the 28,000 Russians nationals who have acquired Israeli citizenship since the start of the war. 
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An S-300 land-to-air missile system which is used by both Russia and Ukraine. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Hard Days Ahead
  • Massive Outages: Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, reported that half of Ukraine’s energy grid is disabled following a bevy of Russian missile strikes that bombarded 10 regions across the country. Earlier this week, officials in Kyiv said around 10 million citizens were without power. The PM called upon European allies to supply Ukraine with equipment and financial aid to help mitigate the crisis. Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s state-owned energy grid operator, warned of “hard days” ahead following the attacks. The CEO of DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy company, even asked citizens to leave the country for three months to help alleviate the burden if possible.
  • Mystery Missile: On November 15th, a missile exploded just over the Ukrainian border in Poland and killed two Polish citizens. NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, reported that a preliminary investigation, led by Poland and the U.S., indicated that the missile was a stray from Ukraine’s air defense system. Other Western leaders said they believed it was Ukraine’s missile, but justified the mistake by stating that Ukraine was defending itself from a Russian attack. 
    • Not So Fast: Despite not being blamed by the West for the attack, President Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian defense experts are adamant that it was not a Ukrainian missile but a Russian rocket. One defense expert said the alleged Ukrainian air defense rocket would have self-destructed after missing its target. 
 Human Moment: 
The now famous bomb-sniffing dog, Patron, took a nap during a press conference. 
Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland. Credit: E.U. Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid via Flickr
Exploitation and Torture
  • Exploiting Refugees: While Poland has readily accepted millions of refugees and offered extensive support services, the sheer number of people has created opportunities for labor and sex traffickers. One refugee, Regina, received an offer for free accommodation in exchange for sex with the host and doing housework. Regina said seemingly normal conversations with Polish men on Facebook will quickly become lude as they reference their nude bodies and make sexual innuendos. Another refugee, Tatiana, said she worked for months as an undocumented cleaner and was promised an adequate wage. The company, however, only paid her a small amount of the promised pay. 
    • A Global Phenomenon: PBS NewsHour said that despite the Polish government’s best efforts to offer access to work, three-year residence permits, one-time support payments, and free support hotlines, it is a universal problem for refugees. Immigrants are three times more likely to become involved in exploitative working conditions. The E.U. is trying to reverse this trend by establishing a special commission to prosecute exploitative employers. 
  • Victims of Torture: In the recently liberated city of Kherson, victims are emerging to tell their stories of kidnap and torture at the hands of Russian soldiers. Many survivors were military veterans accused of trying to aid Ukraine’s military. Others were simply unapologetic in their Ukrainian patriotism. Authorities have identified at least 43 survivors, but there are likely many more who are afraid to come forward. The torturers whipped prisoners, hanged them by their legs for extended periods, and conducted mock executions. Liberated territories throughout Ukraine have reported similar instances of torture during the Russian occupation.
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
General-Secretary of International Maritime Organization (a subsidiary of the U.N.) inspects grain in Odesa after the deal was signed in July. Credit: International Maritime Organization via Flickr
Supplying the World
  • Grain Deal Extended: On Friday, Ukraine and Russia agreed to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative for another four months. Since August 1st, Ukraine has exported 11 million tons of grain, according to President Zelenskyy. Following news of the extension, global wheat prices dropped by 2%. The U.N. had originally wanted the sides to agree to a one-year extension. Russia said it would only agree to four months because they have been having difficulty exporting ammonia, a key component in fertilizers. While the extension will benefit the market in the short term, questions and doubts about the deal will likely resurface in March.
  • Talented Tech Startup: Merge, a Ukrainian app and website design company, is just one example of the power of Ukraine’s tech industry. Since Russia invaded in February, Merge has retained all its employees, customers, and maintained salaries. In fact, Merge is planning to add 20 employees by the end of 2022. The CEO, a 21-year-old college dropout, said his company is definitely “a business of the Zoom era.” Work-life balance and mental health are top priorities for the company. The approach is yielding results, as the company aims to net $2 million in revenue this year, nearly double its income from 2021.
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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