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The Week of May 29th - June 5th

This Week's Takeaway in 30 Seconds...
Helsinki, Finland where U.S. Secretary of State delivered his latest speech urging support for Ukraine. Credit: PXfuel.
Summer is here and Ukraine is preparing for a counteroffensive they hope will shift the tides of the war. Backing this long awaited push will be Ukraine’s growing tech sector which has proven itself capable in developing advanced systems to back its military. While Zelenskyy is confident his country is prepared for the massive undertaking, leaders in Asia have grown weary of the war pushing Indonesia to submit its own peace plan for ending the war. Drawing stark contrast, U.S. Secretary of State urged the international community to be careful in demanding a cease-fire that is unjust for Ukraine. While the political and military stories capture the domestic and international headlines, emerging digital platforms are seeking to connect with ordinary citizens about the issues facing Ukraine and share the country’s rich culture.
All this and more in this week's 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.

YouTube has increasingly become a place where Ukrainian digital media is distributed. Credit: PXfuel
On the Digital Front
  • New Media Platform: In an attempt to inform foreigners about the narratives happening within the country, the Ukrainian-state media agency is launching the digital platform “The Gaze.” The goal is to show news and events surrounding the war but also the rich culture that underpins Ukraine. So far they have shared cooking videos, articles on the workplace and updates from the frontlines of the war. Check them out here
  • On the Ground View: Curious what Ukrainians think about hot-button issues happening domestically and globally? Check out the YouTube channel “Real Ukraine.” Interviewers travel to different cities in Ukraine and asks them questions like “What do you think about America?” “What are your thoughts about LGBT rights?” and “Do you want Ukraine to join NATO?” The channel gives you an inside look about what average Ukrainians think about various pressing topics.

 Human Moment:  

Supernatural actor Misha Collins visits Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy meets with Indonesian President Joko Widodo last year in Kyiv. Credit: via Wikimedia Commons
Plans and Pushback
  • Blinken on Ukraine: During a trip to Finland, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the importance of including Ukraine in any potential future cease-fire negotiations. Blinked said, "A ceasefire that simply freezes current lines in place and enables Putin to consolidate control over the territory he seized and then rest, rearm and re-attack. That is not a just and lasting peace." Blinken also added that Russia should help to pay for damages Ukraine has endured. The speech carried symbolic weight as Finland just became NATO’s newest member. The Secretary also used his remarks to highlight the various strategic failures of Russia. 
  • Indonesia Submits Peace Plan: Last week Indonesia’s defense minister, Prabowo Subianto, announced his country’s proposed peace plan to end the war. A central component of the plan is creating a “demilitarized zone” in the contested territories where a U.N. peacekeeping mission would be deployed. Following implementation, the U.N. would administer a referendum in the area to decide who the area belonged to. Ukrainian officials scoffed at the idea saying “it sounds like a Russian plan.” Indonesia attempted last year to serve as a mediator between the two sides when President Joko Widodo visited Kyiv and Moscow. The plan comes on the heels of China’s proposed 12-point peace plan that called for an immediate ceasefire and support for both Russia and Ukraine.
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Hotel in Bakhmut after Russian shelling. Credit: State Emergency Service of Ukraine via Wikimedia Commons
The Calm Before the Storm?
  • Readying the Counteroffensive: On Saturday, President Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive to recapture large swaths of Russian-controlled territories, including Crimea and other regions occupied since 2014. Analysts have been predicting that the dry weather and increased missile strikes on Russian ammunition depots meant the counteroffensive was imminent.
  • Partisan Bombing: On Friday, a car explosion killed a cafe owner in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia. The owner supported the Kremlin and had registered to run in upcoming local elections, which are part of an effort to try and legitimize Russian rule. Ukrainian partisans claimed responsibility and are part of a more significant citizen-led movement to undermine occupation authorities. The blast follows a string of similar guerilla-like tactics that have been used within Russia and occupied territories. 

  Human Moment:   
Ukrainian troops perform a viral dance from the Indian film “RRR.”

A map of Russian filtration centers in occupied parts of the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine. Credit: Wikisaurus via Wikimedia Commons

Moving Behind the Lines

  • “From War Zone to Remote Camp”: USA Today published an engaging illustration documenting how Russians deport Ukrainians from occupied territories. Some brief highlights from the interactive piece are below but check out the original article to learn more. 
    • Capitalizing on Chaos: Russia has deported an estimated 1.6 million Ukrainians from occupied territories. After Russian troops entered the city, many people were deported in the chaos. In the panicked confusion, people were grabbed off the streets and told to get on buses. Fearing punishment for refusing, many agreed to board.  
    • The First Stop: The buses drove the prisoners hundreds of miles east to makeshift filtration camps. Ukrainians were strip-searched, fingerprinted and photographed, interrogated on their ties to Ukraine’s military, and then had their cellphones searched for messages and browsing history. Those who passed the filtration check were given migration cards and forced onto buses that brought them over 6,000 miles to cities in Russia’s far east regions. 
    • Arriving in Russia: The buses transported them to placement centers where Ukrainians were pressured to apply for Russian citizenship or sign statements saying Ukrainian soldiers committed war crimes. They are then periodically moved around and have little say over where they can go. Those who try to leave are given no support and usually do not have their Ukrainian passports, making leaving just as difficult. Those who do successfully leave are often forced to abandon other family members with poor health or no documentation.
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
Check out our new Twitter account!
Check out our new Twitter account!
Ukrainian soldiers ready a drone for aerial reconnaissance. Credit: Defense Visual Information

The War Economy

  • Military Tech Innovation: Before the war, Ukraine’s IT sector had emerged as a world-class tech hub. After Russia’s invasion, many small startups pivoted to the defense sector, serving as an essential part of Ukraine’s military efforts. The private industry follows an agile production philosophy, prioritizing the most critical requirements as they arise. Two of the most impressive engineering developments have been naval drones that intercept missiles launched by Russian warships and an AI-run tractor that de-mines agricultural fields. 
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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