MLK quote over a Ukrainian flag. Credit: Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism via Twitter
As the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ukrainians are still reeling from Russia’s missile attack on an apartment building in Dnipro that killed 30 people. It will continue to be an uphill battle during the winter and spring, as Russia seeks to mobilize another 500,000 men to support its war effort. On the international stage, Ukrainians are reminding the world about the war, with Miss Ukraine donning a war-inspired outfit during the Miss Universe competition. Meanwhile, in the U.S., certain House Representatives are trying to move on from Ukraine by opposing a proposed Congressional-bust of Zelenskyy.
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.
Flags of U.N. member countries. Credit: Flickr
No Bust Wanted: This past week, Representative Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced a resolution in the U.S. House to have a bust of President Zelenskyy installed in the capitol. The resolution drew outrage from members of the Republican party’s far-right wing, including Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ). This group of Republicans has been skeptical of the aide that the U.S. has been sending, pushing leadership to cut back on the amount of support being provided.
Zelenskyy to UN: Next month, Zelenskyy wants to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by visiting the U.N. If he headed to New York, it would only be Zelenskyy’s second departure from the country since the war started. In order for him to make the trip, the conditions would need to be right where he would feel comfortable being absent from Ukraine. With rumors swirling of a renewed Russian invasion, the chances for him to leave the country could be limited.
Science is Losing: Cern’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, an international nuclear research center that normally produces countless publications each year, did not produce a single paper in March 2022. There has been controversy within the organization about how to list Russian and Belarusian scientists on the publications. Following the invasion, a number of scientists objected to having their names listed with Russian and Belarusian co-authors. With the group divided, it seems unclear how the organization will move forward to produce its critical research.
Artwork depicting the atrocities Putin committed in Dnipro.
Miss Ukraine at Miss Universe competition in New Orleans. Credit: People
On the World Stage
What Has Been Taken? Since Russia invaded Ukraine, it has been well documented that Russian troops have looted thousands of pieces of Ukrainian art. Russian forces have not discriminated in what they take, stealing portraits, statues and documents created by both Ukrainian and foreign artists. You can see a list of some of the most valuable items stolen here.
Miss Universe: During the Miss Universe international competition, Miss Ukraine made a statement in a bold costume. Viktoriia Apanasenko, who represented Ukraine in the competition, donned an outfit inspired by the archangel Michael, who is the patron saint of Kyiv and guardian of soldiers. She wanted to bring the world’s attention to the war in her home country. Her outfit featured wings, a sword and a handmade dress, but it was not enough as Miss America ended up winning out.
Destroyed building in Dnipro. Credit: Ukrainian Presidential Office via Telegram
Russia's War Tactics
More Civilian Casualties: On January 14th, coordinated Russian missile strikes destroyed a nine-story apartment building in Dnipro, located 300 miles southwest of Kyiv. Seventy-two apartments were destroyed in the explosion. First responders are still sifting through the rubble to find survivors. As of Sunday, there were 30 reported deaths and at least 75 people with injuries. It is the deadliest attack on civilians since Russia killed at least 30 people in Zaporizhzhia on September 30th.
Tenth Civilian Missile Strike: The attack on Saturday was the tenth missile strike on civilian infrastructure since October. In addition to Dnipro, officials reported explosions in ten oblasts across the country, causing emergency blackouts in many cities.
New Wave of Mobilization: Ukraine’s military intelligence branch announced that Kremlin officials would release a new draft decree on mobilization, which could mean even more civilian men being drafted into service. Officials in Kyiv believe Russia will seek to conscript 500,000 new soldiers. Kremlin officials will likely close their borders to draft-eligible men to support this effort after the last mobilization led to an exodus of young men.
A photo shows how lives were abruptly interrupted during the attacks in Dnipro.
A variant of Yandex's logo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Funding a War
Uncertain Business Future: Russian business elites fear Kremlin officials will seize their assets and nationalize companies to sustain the war effort in Ukraine. While Putin is currently publicly opposed to nationalization, business tycoons are convinced Kremlin officials will do anything to win the war. Nationalization will likely start with executives who left the country, like Yandex’s CEO Arkady Volozh, who has been living in Israel since the invasion. Volozh is currently negotiating with the Kremlin to keep some business assets.
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
Sunrise over Glasgow harbor. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Cruise Contracts Closes: Over 1,100 Ukrainian refugees have been living on a cruise ship docked in Glasgow since September. However, that contract will end in March, and the inhabitants will have to find new housing options. The ship has been offering food, daycare, and healthcare essential services for residents over the last couple of months.
What’s Next? The Scottish government said it is working with local authorities to develop long-term accommodation options for those on board. In addition, Scotland’s minister of refugees said he hopes to attract more volunteer hosts. However, the volunteer host system in England has faced numerous challenges, with many hosts ending their contracts early. As a result, refugees throughout England have struggled with homelessness.
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