Our regularly scheduled updates on major programs below, but also a spotlight on Advocacy and the amazing cultural events happening this season.
Dear Razom community,
In each newsletter, we try to share with you how your support impacts our programs for first responders and defenders on the frontline, the strained healthcare system, and the work of NGOs across Ukraine. You’ll still see those updates below, but a year into the war, we see how it has become even more important for Razom to advocate for Ukraine on multiple fronts, whether at the Oscars, Congress, or your inbox.
Razom sponsored the travel and stay in LA over the past week of four Ukrainian team members from the Danish-Ukrainian co-production A House Made of Splinters, a documentary film nominated for this year’s Oscars. Shot in 2019-2020, the film follows the life inside a halfway home for children whose parents aren’t capable of taking care of them near the frontlines in Lysychansk, Ukraine (a town currently under russian occupation, after which the shelter was damaged by a missile strike). As some parents succumb to the consequences of life in a region devastated by yearslong war, you get a rare and deeply touching glimpse at their children, who become larger than life heroes in a fight for their own happiness, childhood, and right to feel a family’s love. It’s the children’s hope and wisdom that captured us, so when we had the opportunity to support Azad Safarov (Assistant Director and Line Producer), Olena Rozavodovska (Project Coordinator and Co-Founder along with Azad of Voices of Children), and the incredible caretakers in the film Marharyta Mykolaivna and Olga Viktorivna on their working trip to the US, we signed on.
Not only did they represent Ukraine at the Oscars, but they spent every day giving interviews to national and international media raising awareness about russia’s crimes against Ukrainian children and their families during this war — those killed, abducted, and countless of their families, homes, and schools destroyed. You can learn more about the planned policy of deportation of Ukrainian children, a direct violation of the Genocide Convention, here, via a Twitter Space hosted by Razom Advocacy. You can watch A House Made of Splinters on Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime, you will not regret it.
Our team at Razom Advocacy continues its hard work advocating for Ukraine by holding high level meetings with government officials, conducting diverse research projects to support policy advancement, and doing outreach on social and traditional media to elevate Ukrainian experts and voices. So far this year, we’ve had over 20 face to face meetings across the legislative and executive branches, and we’re just getting started.
The Advocacy team invites you to join all of us at Razom at the Ukraine Action Summit on April 23-25, 2023 to advocate in person in Washington D.C. It’s the American Coalition for Ukraine’s 2nd Ukraine Action Summit consisting of advocacy workshops and trainings alongside Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, where you’ll speak directly to lawmakers about Ukraine. Learn more and register here. During last year’s summit, participants joined 150 meetings with representatives from 30 states and 110 Congressional districts – help us surpass that record this year!
Here’s a bit more about what Advocacy is doing to bring Ukraine closer to victory – and how you can help.
- Contact your representative! Constituent voices are an integral part of how lawmakers decide what bills to support – and Ukraine needs you. Our current campaign is pushing for the passage of the HARM Act: learn more. Plus, check out the Renew Democracy Initiative’s Hold russia Accountable campaign.
- Follow us on Twitter and join us weekly on Fridays at 1pm EST for Twitter Spaces about Ukraine. This week’s topic: nine years since russia’s annexation of Crimea.
- You can always learn more about the situation in Ukraine through our research reports on our website. Currently you’ll find info on ecocide, food security, & the Wagner Group during this war, and can read our latest op-ed: “Don’t Believe the Hype – Bipartisan Support for Ukraine Remains Strong in Congress”
Everyday Razom is grateful for the incredible community of donors that have come together consistently (and creatively!) to fundraise in support of Ukraine. We are proud to work with teams across the world to bring a diversity of programs and projects for you to connect with that have a direct impact on the lives of Ukrainians fighting a war on multiple fronts, the outcome of which will shape the century to come for all of us.
So when a generous donor from the states requested that their gift be used specifically to impact Ukrainian Defenders, our team put that money towards procuring and delivering 41 Motorola radios, 1 mobile shower/laundry, and 5 pickup trucks into the hands of battalions near the front line. The specialized mobile baths are a recent innovation manufactured right in Ukraine, supporting the local economy, while the cars were prepped by our team (including painting the initials of the donor’s father on every pickup) for medical evacuations. Check out the photos below of the soldiers taking the time to offer proper thanks by sending a gift of their own from Ukraine to the US.
Our team at Razom Health continues to be busy connecting the resources of our generous partners and in-kind donors to healthcare institutions with the greatest need across Ukraine, as well as gearing up for its next medical missions. Here’s the latest:
- Some folks from Hearthstone Care based out of the Catskills in New York collected and helped transport a 53 foot-long container of medical beds and other durable medical equipment that we’ll ship and distribute to medical facilities across Ukraine.
- As missile strikes continue to terrorize Ukrainian civilians across the country (just last week 81 were launched into every region of Ukraine), providing vital medications and medical supplies continues to be a need that Razom is able to address. Last week, another in-kind donation from our partners CMMB got distributed in Ukraine.
- Photos of medical professionals wearing their brand new FIGS keep coming our way, this time from Ivano-Frankivsk, Sumy, and Odesa. FIGS deserves another special shoutout as they’ve been, and are committed to continuing, taking part in our medical missions like the upcoming Leap Global Missions, Face the Future, Face to Face, and Neurosurgeon medical trips throughout March, April, and May by providing the necessary medical scrubs for all of the American and Ukrainian surgeons and nurses taking part.
- Partnering with four different US Medical Doctors Associations, Razom has organized four medical missions (so far!) for this spring as part of our Co-Pilot Project that aims to raise the level of medical and surgical care in Ukraine through trips by American physicians to exchange their expertise, and the provision of critical equipment aimed at building programs. You can learn about our most recent medical mission trip with AAFPRS (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) in the “Face to Face” that offers Ukrainians, military and civilians alike, extremely complex reconstructive surgeries and a chance to have a normal life. Consider donating to support more of this work with Razom here.
Our team at Razom Relief continues to find, vet, and accelerate the impact of Ukrainian NGOs and grassroots aid initiatives across much of Ukraine whose ability to quickly step in to provide critical humanitarian support is unparalleled. Below a round-up of some recent initiatives:
- Kyiv-based volunteer group Yangoly UA organized a movement called “Brave to Rebuild” and is leveraging support from Razom, Epicenter K, World Central Kitchen, and other local Ukrainian businesses & organizations to restore several damaged buildings at once. Led by a group of students in Kyiv after the de-occupation of nearby suburbs, they’ve organized over 1,500 volunteers (taking time between classes or on the weekends) in the past year to help clear debris and patch up buildings impacted by russia’s terrorist missile campaign. Sometimes they’ll collaborate with BUR (Building Ukraine Together), a Razom Partner since 2016 that runs youth camps that rebuild and repair homes for displaced Ukrainians.
- In Summer 2022, VAAD Ukraine (the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine), started a psychological recovery program for women and children called “Renewal During the War.” Razom supported the 31st and 32nd camps (run in 2023) of the program, where in each, around 40 women and children got together for three weeks in safe corner of Ukraine to participate in individual and group therapy, art therapy and various creative classes.
- A volunteer group called “Oops, Life In My City” successfully repaired and equipped a bomb shelter in a school in the city of Chernihiv thanks to Razom’s support. Border towns and cities in Ukraine are subjected to russian shelling almost daily, forcing those who refuse to leave behind their homes, to hide in bomb shelters. There are many such groups in Ukraine doing this work that Razom has been supporting for nearly a year now.
There are lots of excellent events happening across the US right now that bring special opportunities to connect with Ukrainian artists and culture and you can find our shortlist of them on our website. Below is a round up of a few we want to bring to your attention.
You do not want to miss this. Serhiy Zhadan, one of Ukraine’s most celebrated writers and a longstanding partner of Razom, is in the US on a big tour (he’s likely doing poetry readings in a city near you this week) is taking part in a special week of performances at La MaMa in NYC with Yara Arts Group. Get your tickets here.
Attention film lovers! Once you’re done streaming A House Made of Splinters, you’ve got at least 9 other films you can watch through Ukrainian eyes thanks to the Cleveland International Film Festival later this month. Here’s a list of the 8 features, 10 shorts, and 3 Razom supported projects we recommend: https://www.instagram.com/p/CpllL41vLmr/
You’ll definitely see us at the “Art in Time of War: Celebrating the Resilience of Ukrainian Culture” event at Low Library on March 27th. Hosted by The Harriman Institute & The President’s Office of Columbia University, you’ll get an opening address from Razom’s CEO Dora Chomiak, poetry, film, music, followed by a panel discussion and reception. Secure your tickets here.
We are so excited to be one of the sponsors of the “i am u are” Ukrainian Creators Fair in NYC March 24-26th! Come meet and support the modern creative industry of Ukraine — its culture, technology, art & design have always been here and are here to stay. Learn more and secure your tickets ASAP here.
As always, thank you for standing with Ukraine, for spreading the word about the amazing work featured all throughout this newsletter, and for joining us.
Razom and Nova Poshta signed a memorandum of cooperation, which provides for cooperation on psychological rehabilitation and career counseling of veterans, inclusivity programs for the company’s clients, provision of tactical first-aid kits to Nova Poshta employees working in front-line areas, and more.
“We are extremely grateful to Nova Poshta promptly responding to our invitation to cooperate. This is an excellent example of true corporate social responsibility and a powerful manifestation of the leadership’s civic stance, which the company has demonstrated more than once. Thanks to our cooperation, we will be able to help people suffering from the war even more effectively and increase the volume of humanitarian aid,” says Evelina Kurilets, Executive Director of Razom in Ukraine.
In addition, Nova Poshta became a partner in the Razom Toy Drive project. The company’s couriers will personally deliver birthday gifts to the children of fallen heroes.
“As part of the project, we will not deliver parcels, but dreams! For the recipients – the children of the Heroes – our couriers will turn into real magicians who will deliver a fulfilled wish from hand to hand. The plan is to send thousands of parcels, and therefore to receive thousands of happy children’s smiles!” says Olena Plakhova, Director of Reputation Management of Nova Poshta.
“Nova Poshta” is a Ukrainian international group of logistics companies, the leader of express delivery in terms of the volume of parcels delivered in Ukraine. The company provides businesses and individuals with a full range of logistics and related services. It was founded in 2001.
The “Humanitarian Post of Ukraine” program was created by Nova Poshta as a response to russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Since then, it has become a reliable logistical arm for the volunteer movement of Ukraine. Learn more about the program and how to use it at https://humanitarian.novaposhta.ua/
Razom for Ukraine is passionate about promoting Ukrainian culture, art and literature. We were thrilled to support the publication of Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s book “Mondegreen” through our Razom Translates program, which raised funds for the translation of the book on Kickstarter. Thanks to the support of our generous donors, the book was published in early 2022.
Mondegreen is a critically acclaimed book that has received praise both in Ukraine and internationally. The book explores the themes of identity, memory, and language and is an important contribution to Ukrainian literature. Through our efforts in translating the book, we are helping to make sure that Ukrainian voices can reach a wider audience.
But our work didn’t stop there. In November 2022, we organized a book tour for Rafeyenko in the United States. Razom covered the author’s travel expenses, arranged his accommodations, and worked with other Ukrainian organizations and universities to organize book readings and events. One of the most exciting aspects of the tour was the active involvement of our Razom Book Club members, who were eager to host Rafeyenko and help bring him to their communities. This grassroots effort is a testament to the passion and commitment of our members to appreciating and promoting Ukrainian literature.
These are just a few examples of the truly inspiring collaborations with organizations and universities to organize book readings and get-togethers. Ania Solovey worked with the local chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and Emory University to put on an event in Atlanta. Irena Chalupa worked with UCCA, Ukraine House, and George Washington University to organize book readings in Washington D.C. And in Cleveland, Irina Bade, a member of Razom Book Club, organized a presentation at the Archive Museum. Maria Genkin moderated a session on the book during the 2022 ASEEES (Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) Conference in Chicago in collaboration with Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed of Carlton University.
Overall, the book tour covered several cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, New Heaven, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. The book presentations also happened at Columbia’s Harriman Institute, Penn State, Harvard and UCSD. The events were a resounding success, with a large audience eager to hear the author speak about his book and his journey as a Ukrainian author. It was a great opportunity for the author to share his experiences and connect with his readers, sparking meaningful discussions and leaving a lasting impact on all who attended.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done to promote Ukrainian literature and culture in the United States, and we’re grateful for the support of our community and partners in making these events a success.
Learn more about and join our Razom Book Club to appreciate Ukrainian literature together.
Learn more about Razom Translates and support our efforts to promote Ukrainian literature in the world. (link)
Since 2014, the ecological situation at the eastern border of Ukraine has shown a sign of significant deterioration as a result of Russian military aggression. The harmful effects on the environment have been amplified by the full-scale invasion, as Russia has utilized high-precision weapons to attack critical infrastructure such as hydroelectric power plants, water infrastructure, oil refineries, and chemical and pharmaceutical warehouses. This has resulted in the contamination of soil, air, surface and underground water. These have a direct impact on Ukrainian livelihoods and biodiversity leading to a major environmental catastrophe. Despite the severity of the situation, the effects on the environment have not received enough public attention, rendering it “an invisible front.” Last year, environmental NGOs and Ukraine’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources took steps to document the damage through initiatives such as EcoZagroza. According to EcoZagroza, there have been 2245 verified reports of military actions with a direct impact on the environment since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. As this report aims to show, the war has many far-reaching consequences on the environment, with Russia actively engaging in the weaponization of critical and civilian infrastructure and the environment. Accurately assessing the environmental damage is necessary for achieving justice and carries important implications for the post-war restoration and compensation plans.
Eastern Ukraine is a heavily industrialized region with an abundance of mines, factories, and refineries. The infrastructure has been subjected to frequent attacks by Russian missile strikes leading to the release of toxic substances into closed bodies of water and the ground. Since the beginning of Russian shelling, most mines in the region have been closed. The lack of supervision, and, thus, the lack of pumping mechanisms, risk the flooding of mines which leads to acid mine drainage or the outflow of toxic, contaminated water, usually with sulfur-bearing materials and metals. In recent river water samples from the Lviv area, the concentration of ammonia and nitrates was 165 and 50 times higher than the recommended limits, respectively. The shelling of the Voda Donbasu water treatment company led to frequent water interruptions and a general deterioration of water and sanitation infrastructure in the Donbas region for over 3 million people; since 2014, the water infrastructure has been damaged over 300 times leading to shortages and deterioration of sanitary condition introducing the possibility of the spread of water-borne diseases. Political and environmental experts have called this the Russian ‘weaponization of water.’ Russia is also emptying the Kakhovka Reservoir in Southern Ukraine which stores potable water for hundreds of thousands of people and provides irrigation for almost 500,000 million acres of farmland. It also supplies water for cooling of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Moreover, the destruction of toxic waste treatment facilities leads to contamination of nearby surface water and carries risks of long-term ground contamination, which can seep into groundwater. It is worth noting that 25% of Ukraine relies on groundwater for their water supply, amplifying the severity of the issue.
The destruction of vital infrastructure, such as oil depots and sewage treatment plants, along the Azov-Black Sea coast can result in devastating consequences, including oil spills and the release of toxic waste to the sea. This would cause significant disruptions to marine life, including protected species as well as fish which are necessary for subsistence. The Russian use of underwater mines and radar equipment in the Black Sea has a disastrous impact on the marine ecosystem. Environmental organizations have reported a distressing number of deceased Black Sea dolphins and porpoises: by November 2022, the estimated number reached 50,000. These species are vulnerable not only to chemical pollution, but also acoustic pollution: the use of underwater sonar systems affects marine mammals that rely on echolocation for orientation and, ultimately, survival. This issue demands the immediate attention of countries surrounding the Black Sea, including Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
More than 200,000 hectares of Ukrainian land are currently contaminated with debris, mines, and shells. The Russian military uses old Soviet equipment that runs on harmful propellants. The chemical compounds in the propellants cause immediate and long-lasting contamination of the soil. The most contaminated soil can be found at the locations where heavy equipment exploded. Not only do explosions leave behind large volumes of burnt metal that is compounded of elements damaging to soil, but they also result in spills of various liquids carried by military vehicles, including fuel and lubricant. Once a vehicle explodes, these toxic substances leak out and are absorbed by the soil. The high concentration of heavy metal in the soil constitutes a threat to human health and the arability of agricultural land. As a result, it will take decades for Ukraine to restore its food production.
While Ukraine occupies only 6% of Europe’s territory, it is home to 35% of the continent’s biodiversity. Forest fires, loud explosions, and contamination of soil and water lead to the destruction of natural habitats. Many species have migrated, changing both the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Since the beginning of the invasion, there have been more than 1500 reported cases of destruction of the ecosystem, including biosphere reserves and national parks. Indigenous species’ habitats like the Irpin wetlands may be irreversibly damaged due to war.
Air pollution and climate change
The use of explosive weapons, targeting of chemical warehouses and fossil fuel infrastructure, and wildfires are the leading causes of air pollution. Notable examples include the explosion of the 2022 Kharkiv firework warehouse as well as the 2017 Kalynivka ammunition depot explosion. Moreover, the destruction of military equipment, including tanks and armored combat vehicles (ACVs) are the leading causes of emissions of polluting substances into the atmosphere. This carries immediate risks to human health causing respiratory issues such as pneumonia and bronchitis. The war has also increased the release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which directly impacts global warming. In the first seven months of the invasion, at least 100 million tons of CO2 were released in the atmosphere.
Implications for Post-War Restoration
While the Ukrainian government, activists, and civil society are gathering environmental data, recording instances of war damage to nature, the question of how do we keep Russia accountable for its ecocide in Ukraine remains.
Ukraine estimated the measurable, immediate environmental damage from Russia’s war at $46 billion. In addition to direct damages, Russia’s war against Ukraine has diverted Ukraine’s resources away from environmental policies and climate action, which has long-term implications for sustainable development. After almost a decade of work, the International Law Commission, which is the legal body within the UN, adopted the final version of 27 Draft Principles for environmental protection in relation to armed conflict in May 2022. This is a positive and innovative development as the proposed principles blend the laws of armed conflict and best practices, encouraging States and international organizations to ensure that “damage does not remain unrepaired or uncompensated,” among other provisions. The principles will be referred to the UN General Assembly for further consideration.
Ukraine is exploring various avenues that will allow it to hold Russia accountable for the environmental damage. The crime of ecocide has been included in the Ukrainian criminal code in 2001. At the international level, the International Criminal Court does not currently recognize ecocide as a crime despite growing pressure to do so; however, international humanitarian law prohibits employing methods of warfare that intend to damage the natural environment. Ukraine has been clear that it will seek reparations from Russia, which could potentially be extracted through seized Russian assets in specific countries. President Zelenskyy keeps ecocide high on the agenda in his 10-point peace plan, which is also one of the country’s preconditions for entering peace negotiations with Russia.
There are few precedents of compensation mechanisms at the international level. The Compensation Commission was established by the UN Security Council in 1991 to require Iraq to pay reparations for damage during its invasion of Kuwait, including environmental damage. With Russia having veto power in the Security Council, this might not be an option. However, the resolution “Furtherance of remedy and reparation for aggression against Ukraine” adopted by the General Assembly in November 2022 recommended developing a register of the damages to the environment at the international level, which could be a step towards accountability.
Environmental damage affects the health, food supply, and livelihoods of Ukrainians. The ecological consequences have implications beyond local borders, affecting transboundary air and waters like the Black Sea. Nongovernmental and governmental organizations alike are monitoring environmental damage to estimate the required funds and time to restore the civilian and critical infrastructure, and the ecosystem. Full restoration of the environment will take decades and the long-term effects will likely remain overlooked due to difficulties in measurement and lack of legal mechanisms. Nevertheless, seeking accountability for the immediate environmental damage will be crucial in achieving justice and will create an important precedent for the future.
By Zuzanna Iwanejko, Maryna Maiboroda, and Daryna Lesniak
Cottrel et al. (2022). “Explosive Weapons Use and the Environmental Consequences: Mapping Environmental Incidents in Ukraine” The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction.
Kroeger, Alix (2023). “How the War in Ukraine is Killing Marine Mammals” BBC https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20221222-how-the-war-in-ukraine-is-killing-marine-mammals
Rawtani et al. (2022). “Environmental damages due to war in Ukraine: A perspective.” Science of Total Environment
“Ukraine Conflict Environmental Briefing: Fossil Fuel Infrastructure” (2023). Conflict and Environment Observatory
“Ukraine Conflict Environmental Briefing: The Coastal and Marine Life” (2023). Conflict and Environment Observatory
“Ukraine Conflict Environmental Briefing: Water” (2023). Conflict and Environment Observatory
Razom has opened its third psychological support center – now in Khmelnytskyi – all under our “Razom With You” project.
On February 27, Razom’s reps in Ukraine along with the organization “Zakhyst” opened a “Together with You” (“Razom з Тобою”) Psychological Support Center in the Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi. Free assistance will be provided here to those affected by the war: internally displaced persons, families of prisoners of war and deceased, relatives of military personnel and others.
The center’s team of experienced psychologists and social workers will help these individuals adapt to new living conditions and cope with the psychological impact of their war-related experiences. Those interested in the center’s services can easily make an appointment with a psychologist or request a consultation online.
Similar “Razom with You” centers also operate in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk. The opening of this new center in Khmelnytskyi was made possible by a generous grant from Direct Relief – our sincere thanks to them!
By Government Affairs Team, Razom Advocacy
As the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives gets underway for the 118th Congress, a narrative has taken hold that there is a growing partisan divide when it comes to supporting Ukraine. According to this misguided idea, Republicans across the board are raising new roadblocks and have turned against Ukraine, while Democrats want to see Ukraine prevail against the genocidal war currently being waged by Russia.
This narrative is demonstrably incorrect and diminishes a genuine area of bipartisan cooperation in Washington.
While some members of both parties have cast doubt on US policy towards Ukraine, they remain in the small minorities on both sides of the aisle. Certain Members of Congress from each major party have been vocal about their objections to further US support for Ukraine, but they have been far more effective in attracting headlines than the support of their fellow lawmakers.
Over the course of the 117th Congress, our tracking index of 23 key Russia- and Ukraine-related votes in the House of Representatives reveals an overwhelmingly pro-Ukraine voting record for both parties. From legislation to sanction Russia economic actors, to support the victims of Putin’s aggression, and to send aid to Ukraine, the record paints a clear picture. The Republican caucus consistently voted in favor of Ukraine, vastly outvoting the less than 10 percent of House Republicans who regularly voted against these measures.
The bipartisan record of support for Ukraine is even stronger in the Senate. Take, for example, the recent inclusion of $45 billion dollars for Ukraine in December’s Omnibus spending package. The final level of support was $7 billion or 15 percent above what was requested by the Biden Administration. Those additional funds were championed by leaders of both parties and would not have happened if it were not for the specific work of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator James Risch — both Republicans.
Leaders of the Republican party talk the talk as well as walking the walk. In his speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 17, Leader McConnell underscored his party’s commitment: “My party’s leaders overwhelmingly support a strong, involved America and a robust trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at people in power… We are committed to helping Ukraine.” And in his appearance on Fox News on February 16th, he made the case directly to the American people: “I’m going to try to help explain to the American people that defeating the Russians in Ukraine is the single most important event going on in the world right now.”
Indeed, just in the week of February 13th, two major pro-Ukraine bills have been reintroduced with strong bipartisan support, the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act and the Ukraine Genocide Resolution. These bills are important ways for Congress to aid Ukraine in its fight, by enacting more punitive designations for Russian armed groups and calling out the actions of the aggressors as the genocide they are.
Without a doubt, there is much work to be done in the weeks and months ahead to maintain and expand the bipartisan support for Ukraine in the 118th Congress — especially as new fights on raising the debt ceiling loom large. Yet careful observers should be wary of easy or simplistic narratives that view everything in Washington through a purely partisan lens.
Members on both sides of the aisle — Republican and Democrat — are deeply and demonstrably committed to Ukraine’s victory. While members may differ on specific tactics or details of policy, the genuine support for Ukraine is palpable.
Lone or fringe voices can be loud, but not necessarily convincing. American leaders of both political parties are undertaking great efforts to see that Ukraine is ultimately victorious. And when victory does come, Ukraine will rightly be able to thank Republicans, Democrats, and Independants for the support America provided.
In October 2022, russia put extra effort into targeting and massively destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. Regular waves of missiles and kamikaze drones were aimed at power plants, transmission lines, and other civilian objects. In November, it got to a point where some regions lost power, heat, and water entirely. The air raids damaged over 50% of the power system. Until this day, emergency blackouts in some areas of Ukraine last 10-12 hours or even more.
Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, a big part of Razom’s budget has been allocated to aid medical facilities in Ukraine. Razom Health team quickly mobilized to help Ukrainian healthcare system and provided overwhelmed healthcare facilities with critical medicines, medical supplies, and equipment.
Razom’s partnership with Americares has been instrumental in supporting Razom for Ukraine’s mission. Since March 2022, Americares has provided over $70 million of aid to 74 organizations assisting those affected by the war in Ukraine. To Razom, they have generously donated crucial hospital supplies in the early stages of the war and continue being an ally in aiding the Ukrainian healthcare system.
Yoanna Ivaniv, Razom Health coordinator of Americares partnership, says working with them has been a great success. With the Americares grant of $250,000, Razom officially started a project to supply Ukrainian hospitals with high-power generators.
...Americares' Ukraine Response Team was actively looking for ways to support Ukrainian hospitals' energy needs… The relationship we've had with Razom since the early-days of our response, coupled with their clearly laid-out plan, made the entire team at Americares comfortable supporting Razom in such a critically needed and time-sensitive project.Jack O'Rourke – Deputy Field Team Lead, Americares Ukraine Response
The first step was contacting our partners on the ground – Zdorovi Agency and Patients of Ukraine – to determine which hospitals were the priority. Both NGOs worked on aiding and developing healthcare in Ukraine before the war and developed advanced logistics and reporting systems. They vet the hospitals, complete thorough monitoring protocols, and have full transparency in their reports.
Razom Health worked with Patients and Zdorovi for many months, together completed multiple projects, and developed a trusting relationship. These organizations helped select the hospitals in need using the following criteria:
Initially, with the data from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 22 medical facilities were selected for the project. Razom sent energy specialists and engineers to assess the facilities’ needs and capacity. As a result, 11 hospitals signed the agreement with Razom and started building the sites for the generators.
Meanwhile, Razom made a procurement offer using Prozorro – a decentralized public platform that ensures open access to procurement orders (tenders) in Ukraine. There were two competitive offers from Ukrainian companies, and the one with more experience in the field was chosen.
So far, 9 of 11 generators have been delivered and installed in hospitals in the Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, and Odesa regions. With $40,000 saved from the grant, Razom plans to procure and deliver another generator to one of the hospitals affected by the war.
Nataliia Tulinova, a founder and CEO of Zdorovi Agency, has recently visited 21 medical facilities in Kherson, a region that remains under severe missile attacks. She says Kherson is not yet a part of the centralized database for medical facilities in Ukraine because it was under occupation when the database was created. Therefore, they do not receive the aid as promptly as other regions.
One of the most pressing concerns is landmine injuries. As terrifying as it sounds, the hospitals need surgical drills and saws used for amputations. Neurosurgical microscopes, ICU beds, commode wheelchairs, and diagnostic equipment like portable ultrasound and x-ray machines are also on the list of required equipment for patients found under collapsed buildings and injured by shellings and explosions.
Thank you for helping and being Razom.
Proper professional education and training start with sharing of expertise and experience. Razom’s Co-Pilot Project has had this approach as its cornerstone for the past five years, bringing American surgeons to Ukraine to provide their Ukrainian colleagues with hands-on trainings.
And now, Co-Pilot Project has just been described and discussed in the Lancet Neurology, one of the most reputable journals in the clinical neurosciences, which is heavily read by clinicians. As the journal’s website states: “With an Impact Factor of 59·935, we are the world-leading clinical neurology journal, ranking first among 212 clinical neurology journals globally (2021 Journal Citation Reports®, Clarivate 2022).” Thus, the article is expected to have high visibility and response.
The article entitled “Urgent need for neurological care in Ukraine” serves as a call for aid to help improve neurological training for Ukrainian surgeons. The members of the neurosurgery and neurology communities “urge our colleagues in the medical community to join us in our efforts to improve neurological care in Ukraine.”, – reads the article. The authors “have compiled a list of urgent needs, as directly requested by local practitioners (appendix).” They encourage neurosurgeons and neurologists “to join our trips to Ukraine to provide in-person assistance and training” and health professionals “to contact their medical institutions and enquire about equipment and supplies that could be donated.” The authors highlight the key role of Razom in monitoring “the use of funds along with the delivery and utilisation of donations.”
You can read the article here.
Such training in advanced surgical skills is now more vital than ever, as many Ukrainians are being severely injured and wounded in the russian-Ukrainian war. We are deeply grateful for the support of the neurosurgery and neurology communities. Special thank-yous go to Luke Tomycz, Christopher Markosian, Oleksandr Strelko, Andrii Sirko, Mykhailo Lovha, Rocco Armonda and all the authors for their assistance in spreading the information about the CPP project and the current needs of Ukrainian surgeons.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has had a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals and communities. The Razom Advocacy team recaps the past year of the full-scale invasion in Ukraine and provides a comprehensive overview of the events and developments that have taken place over the past year, including the impact of the conflict on human lives, infrastructure, and the broader geopolitical landscape.One-Year-of-Full-Scale-Invasion
By Razom Advocacy Team