A picture of a U.S.-supplied HIMARS. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ukraine is making massive inroads into Russian-occupied territories, taking back thousands of miles of territory in the eastern section of the country in just a few days. As allies of Ukraine express pleasant surprise about the rapid recapture of Ukrainian towns, U.S. Republican lawmakers are wondering why it has taken so long to distribute billions of dollars worth of aid. Ukraine is trying to continue the large stream of investment coming from the West by contracting European and American public relations firms to develop a strategy to entice international businesses into the country. On the other side of the world, an Australian artist has landed himself into hot water for painting a mural that shows a Ukrainian and Russian soldier hugging one another.
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.
UN World Tourism Organization Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili speaks at a U.N. World Tourism Summit in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: Flickr
Eye on the Money
Tourism Takes Hit: The war in Ukraine has not only hurt tourism within the country but also beyond its borders. The U.N. World Tourism Organization said that tourism in Europe and Asia has seen a decline in the number of people making trips outside their home countries. Many Russians own properties throughout Europe and the uncertainty of their legal status within the continent has made many hesitant to leave their homeland.
Where is the Money?A group of six Republican U.S. Senators sent a letter to USAID Administrator Samantha Power asking why $3 billion in Congressionally approved aid has sat unspent. The senators critiqued the Biden administration’s over-reliance upon U.N. agencies, which they claim have unnecessarily delayed the delivery of aid. The group is requesting that USAID create a plan to provide aid faster while also hiring more support staff.
Zelenskyy Speaks to U.S. Defense Base: The largest conference for U.S. defense contractors will hear from President Zelesnkyy later this month. Zelenskyy will talk about the need for his country to be supplied with more weapons at the National Defense Industrial Association. As Ukraine begins a new counter-offensive, the whole world has seen the impact that Western-supplied weapons have had on the tide of the war which will likely be a center point for the president's speech.
Human Moment: Elderly women weep as Ukrainian soldiers liberate towns previously occupied by Russian forces.
The controversial Australian mural depicting Russian and Ukrainian soldiers hugging. Credit: Sky News
Always Open for Business
International Firms Helping Ukraine Ministry of Culture:American and European firms are helping Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture by advising them on how to attract new investment to the war-torn country. Groups like WPP and Hill + Knowlton Strategies are being hired to push the narrative that Ukraine is a tech hub and remains “open for business” despite the war.
War Jeporaidzes Classical Music:The war in Ukraine is threatening the world-renowned Russian classical music scene. As the war continues to rage, many Russian musicians are leaving for other countries while international artists have been much more hesitant to come to Russia. Even during the Cold War, the Soviet Union maintained its world-class orchestras. Russia's rich classical music history includes famous composers such as Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.
Mural Draws Outrage:A new mural in Australia drew the ire of the Ukrainian government and the diaspora population living in the country. The art depicts a Ukrainian and Russian soldier hugging. The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organization's co-chair compared the image to a “rapist hugging its victim.” Despite the criticism, the artist who created the mural defended his piece saying that "It was art. It's not a diagram. It's metaphoric, and it's about love.”
Map of Ukraine highlighting Kharkiv oblast in red. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Lightning-Quick War: On September 7th, Ukrainian forces launched a second counter-offensive in the Kharkiv oblast and made substantial gains in recapturing territory. As of September 9th, Ukrainian troops had liberated around 2500 square kilometers (1553 miles) of land. Ukraine launched its counter-offensive in the Kherson oblast last week, which forced Russia to quickly relocate troops from the Kharkiv Oblast. Ukrainian commanders saw a weakness and decided to open a second front to “degrade Russian troops.”
IAEA Reports Concerns: Amid shelling that damaged the backup power lines at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report highlighting the unstable and dangerous situation at the plant. IAEA Director General Grossi repeatedly mentioned that the ZNPP “lost, fully or partially, the off-site power supply as a result of military activities in the area.” The off-site power supply is a crucial safety protocol for preventing a nuclear catastrophe.
What’s the Solution? Director General Grossi demanded an end to all military activity surrounding the plant and the creation Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone. Reports indicate that Russia has been placing military equipment in turbine halls and other facilities in the ZNPP. So far, the IAEA has been unable to prevent further fighting around the plant despite their pleas.
A chimpanzee escaped from the Kharkiv zoo and needed to be coaxed back into captivity. He later hitched a ride on a bike.
Ukrainian children in Poland. Credit: Flickr
New Year, New School: An estimated 2.2 million Ukrainian children started school in a different country at the beginning of September. Poland is facing the daunting task of enrolling nearly half a million children that have registered for temporary protection. In a school in Krakow, Poland, 80 of the 450 students are Ukrainian. In addition to a regular curriculum, the school is providing counseling services, after-school activities, and other extracurriculars to help them adapt.
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
Kurt Volker and President Zelenskyy shaking hands at Zelenskyy's inauguration in 2019. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Rebuilding the Economy
A Western Plan? In a piece for the Kyiv Post, Former Ambassador Kurt Volker laid out his vision for rebuilding Ukraine. His plan draws parallels to the post-WWII Marshall Plan, which sought to distribute government aid while also reviving the private sector. Pushing Ukraine’s economy toward the European Union is his strategic long-term goal. To achieve these aims, he proposes having Western countries, international financial institutions, and Ukraine work together to appoint representatives to lead the rebuild effort.
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