Summary/ Net: 1. Keep smart, fight Russian disinformation and propaganda, and share with others. 2. Contribute to Operation Support the Front Lines in Free Ukraine. 3. Patronize Ukrainian artists and businesses. 4. Help Ukrainian refugees. 5. Write elected officials and candidates.
It is Day 625 of this horrifically unjust and criminal war. [I published a similarly titled article (but without the question, “Fatigue?” on March 7, 2022 – Day 12 of Russia’s War on Ukraine. I also was blessed to visit Ukraine for 5 days in July of this year.]
1. Keep smart, fight Russian disinformation and propaganda, and share what you learn with others.
Ihor Fedorowycz, one of my best friends, is a Ukrainian-American who has been living in Ukraine for 33+ years. I speak to him frequently, but after a several-day period of being out of touch recently, he candidly asked me, “Are you suffering from ‘Ukraine War-Fatigue’?” My immediate response was an emphatic “no, not at all!” But now, I am not sure how candid I was being with my friend, nor with myself.
Even before the horrific events of the past weeks in Israel, I was feeling it. My love for the Ukrainian people and my deep concerns about the global consequences for democracy, freedom, peace, and international rule of law – if Putin’s criminal war is successful in any way – have become stronger than ever. That said, at times, I have suffered from “anxiety paralysis” as the war drags on. Even more so when other global and/ or national events take over the news headlines.
As my dear friend Adam Helfer (Rhodes-Oxford Class of 1980) reminded me recently,
“It is no shame to admit that ‘Ukraine War-Fatigue’ is real. We are human, and most of us have a number of demands on us: economic, time, friends, family, psychological.” He goes on to add:
“We have known for some time now this is a winnable war, but not an easy one. What we need to do is stay informed and keep our resolve. Putin, by contrast, wants us to lose interest and commitment.”
Hearing from friends like Adam and talking with Ihor help. One thing that helps me get off my ass and support Ukraine is to listen to and share the weekday podcast, “Ukraine the Latest,” from the London Telegraph. In less than 15 minutes, the podcast provides daily updates about the war, including expert interviews from the US, Ukraine, and other leading sources of information. Other sources to keep up to speed and learn about what you can do to help include:
- President Zelensky’s X (formerly Twitter) posts.
- The UCCA (Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America – an apolitical 501C3 nonprofit organization) has an excellent website and newsletters with frequent updates on the impact of contributions to/via the UCCA to support Ukraine.
- The Kyiv Post.
- The nonprofit Center for the Study of War, which includes an interactive map showing the current state of the war, updated daily.
- President Zelensky’s book A Message From Ukraine.
- The War Came To Us – by Christopher Miller. An excellent history of the Ukrainian-Russian wars up through the first 100 days of the current assault on democracy and humanity.
It is critically important that you share articles and information with family, friends, and colleagues. As the Russian disinformation and propaganda campaign continues to grow, doing whatever you can to keep the truth alive is more important than ever. Specifically, I encourage you to determinedly fight justifiable allegations of corruption in Ukraine as a “reason” to withdraw support. I worry about that becoming a narrative that gives cover to those who want to decrease support for all kinds of reasons. So, we must fight that too.
The Economist article, Is Ukraine Really Interested in Fighting Corruption, and other responsible news outlets have had some good stories recently. As my dear friend Chris Miller (also Rhodes-Oxford Class of 1980, no relation to the author mentioned above) wrote recently,
“The bottom line is that, of course, there remain plenty of corrupt actors in Ukraine, just like there are in literally every country—but Ukraine’s “corruption rating” has been steadfastly moving in the right direction. The fact that President Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders and institutions are working hard on those issues, while at war with Russia, is a tribute to the Ukrainian nation’s decency and desire to join the EU and the Free World community of nations as an equal.
“I’m sure anyone who looks hard can find examples of corruption in Ukraine, but that is true for almost any country on earth. Extant corruption is a reason to be prudent in accounting for aid to Ukraine. But, it does NOT justify standing by and abandoning the brave Ukrainian people valiantly fighting to liberate their invaded and occupied sovereign territory — amidst so many lives lost and a great many more ruined—to wholly unprovoked and lawless Russian aggression.”
2. Contribute to Operation Support the Front Lines in Free Ukraine
At the start of the war, Ihor’s brother Roman (in Ukraine for 31 years) set up – and continues to run – Operation Support the Front Lines in Free Ukraine. Ihor and I immediately joined this important endeavor by providing wide-ranging promotional support, as well as coordination and informational efforts to maximize donations in close cooperation with – and for administrative processing by UCCA — the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (tax-deductible in the U.S.). Collectively, we have raised thousands of dollars to provide body armor, satellite phones, IFAKs (military-grade individual first aid kits), night-vision equipment, and other life-saving tactical and protective equipment to Ukraine’s Courageous Defenders (Territorial Defense Volunteer Battalions, National Guard, Border Guards, and National Police Combat Brigades) and, most recently, also to Ukrainian First Responders and Search & Rescue personnel. Please see this 2-minute video featuring a Ukrainian National Police Chief thanking those of you who have contributed:
“I know these first aid kits will help save our lives and the lives of civilians being attacked by the Russian bastards…. And with these satellite phones, we will have strong communications and be able to smash them out of Ukraine.”
3. Support Ukrainian artists and businesses.
One of the things I witnessed during every minute of each day I spent in Ukraine was the incredible strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people. During the 30-hour journey from Poland to Kyiv, and on the streets of Kyiv and Lviv, I witnessed thousands of Ukrainians who steadfastly refuse to give in to Putin’s reign of terror. In Kyiv, I saw musicians performing in parks, kids laughing and playing in fountains, and three weddings (on one afternoon walk through the city). I also visited several galleries where talented artists continued to display their works. This resilience inspired me to support them in any way I can. Here are a few examples of businesses and artists you can patronize:
- Trip Tych Art is a beautiful gallery I visited in Kyiv – excellent higher end sculpture and paintings.
- Kyiv Art is another great site to support Ukrainian artists.
- Amazon has a number of products you can purchase to show your support for Ukraine – many with proceeds going to support the Ukrainian people, including this Ukrainian Easter Egg pendant for only $24.
- Follow and download Ukrainian rock bands. Including my two favorites:
- Okean Elzy was (and remains) one of the most popular Ukrainian rock bands when I first visited Ihor in Kyiv in 2009. They have an excellent YouTube channel and you can purchase their music either through iTunes or on CD here.
- Antytila (“Antibodies”) is a cutting-edge, hugely popular Ukrainian rock band best known for their incredibly moving song Fortress Bakhmut. The band members served in the 130 Territorial Defense Battalion of Kyiv and carried out combat missions in Kyiv region. The band recently completed a fundraising concert tour in the US. (I attended and was massively moved by their last concert in Boston on October 1st.)
- Ola Rondiak – a brilliant Ukrainian-American artist
- Ola Rondiak “harvests a bold new, deeply personal prototype emblematic of feminine tenacity stitched in truth through the thread of her own story. Rondiak’s creativity cuts the cloth of a new absolute beauty with a redemptive quality that clearly understands the important healing role of art and the psyche for future generations. The female image looms large, and for Ola Rondiak, the female portrait underpins the terrain for truth and dignity on her canvases and installations. “
- Please see: OLA RONDIAK — Singapore Art Fair!
4. Help Ukrainian refugees.
Please visit Welcome.US, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national initiative built to inspire, mobilize, and empower Americans from all corners of the country to welcome and support those seeking refuge here.
Welcome US’ mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of people across America to build a bridge to safety for people seeking refuge in the United States and help them thrive. Welcome US is chaired by four former Presidents and four former First Ladies.
The organization’s website has useful information and actions you can take to support Ukrainian refugees.
5. Write your elected officials and others influencing decisions regarding support for Ukraine.
Thank them for the humanitarian and military aid the US, Canada (and many other countries) have provided to support Ukraine. Voice your support for the additional aid President Zelensky has been asking for since the massive invasion began over 20 months ago – especially the 100 F-16’s that would enable Ukraine to achieve air superiority over the colossally destructive Russian air power to date and to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
Since the early days of the war, I (and many others with the experience to credibly express this) have been concerned that the US will give Ukraine the support it needs to not lose the war to Russia; but would hesitate to provide the requisite military equipment to help Ukraine win the war and fully liberate all sovereign Ukrainian territory criminally invaded and still occupied by Russia. I am continually reminded of the quote attributed (apparently incorrectly) to Churchill that “America almost always does the right thing… after exhausting every other possibility.”
When writing elected officials and candidates, I include this quote from a recent article by David Petraeus, a retired U.S. Army general, who was commander of the troop surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command and NATO/U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, and Frederick W. Kagan, a senior fellow and director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.
“Ukraine needs long-range precision-strike capabilities such as the U.S. Army’s Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). It needs cluster munitions for its rockets, not just its artillery rounds. It needs more ammunition to sustain the offensive. And it needs the accelerated delivery of F-16s. In truth, Ukraine needed these capabilities months ago…
We must do more, and we must do it with a greater sense of urgency. The time to act is now.”
Here are links you can use to write the following elected, government officials and candidates.
- President Biden
- Secretary of Defense Austin
- Your Members of Congress and any others you know or support
- The “Putin 93” – the 93 Members of Congress voted for an amendment to HR 4365, The Defense Authorization Act Sponsored by Representative Matt Gaetz “to prohibit security assistance to Ukraine” on September 27, 2023.
- Candidates for elected offices – especially those who oppose US support for Ukraine, including Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis.
And if you are a Republican, check out and consider joining and supporting Republicans for Ukraine, an advocacy group “amplifying the voices of Republicans who believe that the United States should be a steadfast friend to democracies like Ukraine and a fearsome enemy to aggressive dictatorships like Russia.”
Thank you for all you have done and your continued efforts to support Ukraine. Ihor, Roman, their families and friends, and I all believe that with our continued collective and collaborative support, President Zelensky’s words will ring true:
“One day soon, loved ones will be together again. Our flag will fly above occupied cities again. Our nation will be reunited and there will be peace again. And the world will no longer dream in black and white. It will only dream in blue and yellow.”
Written by Craig Hall Underwood
Managing Partner, Underwood Partners, LLC
Co-Founder & US Coordinator, Operation Support the Front Lines in Free Ukraine
Publisher, Collaboration Evangelist
Craig@underwoodpartners.com | 617-283-9233