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Group for Tomorrow's Ukraine (GTU)

Group for Tomorrow's Ukraine
Serving as an informational bridge between the West and a changing Ukraine.

Pressing Forward:
  • September 22, 2014 5:42 am

    Kyiv’s Military Hospital Overwhelmed with Wounded From Donbas

    by Zoe Ripecky
    Kyiv, Ukraine 

    Since an active conflict broke out in Eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed groups several months ago, over 3,000 people  have been killed overall. At least 6,000 people have been reported wounded. Last Tuesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stood before the United States Congress and made an urgent plea for supplies and military aid for the Ukrainian cause. Mr. Poroshenko was received in Washington with warmth and verbal support. The U.S. promised non-lethal assistance, though stopped short of supplying Ukraine with military aid. 

    Here in Kyiv, Ukraine’s Central Military Hospital is severely understaffed and undersupplied. The hospital receives some funding from the Ukrainian government, but not nearly enough to support the growing number of wounded servicemen coming in from the East. Because of an inadequate number of medical professionals, a large group of volunteers have offered their services. Anya, a nursing student, works at the hospital almost every day after her classes. During the “Maidan” protests she worked as a Red Cross volunteer. Like Anya, many others joined the “volunteer corps” as newly wounded Ukrainian soldiers overwhelmed the hospital over the past few months.

    Photo: Telegraph Media Group UK 

    The soldiers are clothed and fed through donations from the community, explained a volunteer leader named Tanya. Even bedding and towels are donated, coming in mismatched sizes and colors. The volunteers now seek proper shoes and warmer clothing as winter nears.

    Along with these more straightforward supplies, necessary antibiotics are also in short supply. Many of the wounded are amputees and suffer from severe infections, including gangrene. One type of antibiotic, used to fight this often-deadly infection, costs around $75 per dose and is needed twice a day. The hospital is too underfunded to purchase it in adequate amounts.

    Leg injuries, typically amputations, are most common, apparently due to the use of rockets and other scatter weapons. Even the most critically wounded are in cramped conditions, with at least four patients to one room. According to Tanya, the hospital grounds currently house around 200 patients from the conflict, along with veterans and families of the wounded. Approximately 2,000 wounded have passed through since the conflict began.

    Friends and families of soldiers come to visit, filling their bedside tables with fruit and gifts. Groups of relatives cram the hallways, anxiously awaiting news. One mother mourned her son’s amputated legs, but thanked God he was alive. The wounded soldiers are from all over Ukraine, and most of the ones I saw were Russian-speaking.  

    The rest of Kyiv is calm, isolated from Ukraine’s conflict-torn Donbas region. Around the world, leaders hesitate to acknowledge the growing scale of a Russian-fueled conflict, fearing political consequences. But here at Kyiv’s Military Hospital, reality is difficult to avoid. In Ukraine’s east a war rages on, taking severe human tolls. 

  • September 22, 2014 3:44 am

    Moscow’s Anti-Putin Protest Exceeds Expectations

    NYTimes David Herszenhorn reports that according to Sonar, a Russian volunteer organization that monitors public demonstrations, around 26,100 people took to Moscow’s Streets to protest Putin’s “warmongering in Ukraine.” 

    "I am here just to convince myself that I wasn’t alone," explained one protester.

    Link to NYTimes Article 

    hoto: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters (feat. in NYTimes) 

  • September 18, 2014 1:24 pm

    Pussy Riot Spends Evening at Cambridge MA Jail

     by Mykola Murskyj

    On Monday evening, I walked over to my local Cambridge police station for the most unexpected reason. They were holding pro-Ukrainian activist Roman Torgovitsky, and two members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot gathered there with supporters to free him.

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  • September 3, 2014 1:46 pm

    Peace on Friday?

    After a 5 AM phone call with Putin, President Poroshenko announced that the two have agreed to a plan for peace, expected to be solidified by Friday.

    Two questions arise. First, how can Putin speak on behalf of the separatists and yet claim that they are completely independent agents? Second, does it matter? Maybe we should just accept the good news without pressing the Kremlin to explain this inconsistency.


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  • September 1, 2014 5:49 pm

    Poroshenko: ‘Finally’ Military & Technical Assistance from EU

    by Seamus Kelleher

    Over the weekend, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko warned the West at an EU Summit in Brussels that if something didn’t change in the coming days to put an end to the ongoing fighting with Russian military and Kremlin-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, the result could be “full-scale war.”

    It appears that some good news has come Ukraine’s way.

    The President is clearly satisfied by the EU’s decision to “finally” lend substantive assistance to Ukraine’s long and tenuous battle to retain territorial integrity and squash the violence in the East.


    The assistance is rumored to come by way of loans from the EU. European Commission President Jose Barroso says more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) could be released to Ukraine in the coming months. This is part of the 11 billion euro package announced earlier.

    This expedited loan is not expected to fully push the Ukrainian military over the edge in its mission to quell Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine, but it will certainly help. It is also a welcomed gesture of support from Ukraine’s partners in the West.

    The EU is also currently discussing further sanctions against the Russian Federation, sanctions which were initiated following the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 and tightened shortly afterwards when Russia continued its military involvement in eastern Ukraine.

    From VOA:

    Over the weekend, European Union leaders, meeting in Brussels, called on Russia to “immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine” or face a new round of sanctions within a week.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged on Monday that enacting further punitive measures against Russia could hit the German economy, but said that doing nothing in response to Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine was “not an option.”

    “I have said that [sanctions] can have an impact, also for German companies,” Merkel told a news conference in Berlin. “But I have to say there is also an impact when you are allowed to move borders in Europe and attack other countries with your troops,” she added.

    “Accepting Russia’s behavior is not an option,” said Merkel.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron also warned that Europe can’t be complacent about Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.

    "Countries in Europe shouldn’t have to think long before realizing just how unacceptable that is," he said. "We know that from our history. So consequences must follow if that situation continues."

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a visit to Siberia, urged the EU on Monday to show “common sense” and not to resort to mutually destructive sanctions, in his first reaction to the threat of additional punitive measures over Ukraine.

    A strong and unified response towards Russia’s aggressive incursion into eastern Ukraine is required or President Putin will continue to chip away at Ukraine’s borders without significant backlash. These are good signs from the EU, but it remains to be seen if the support will be enough for the Ukrainian military to emerge victorious in it’s effort to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity against increasing military advancements by the Russian Federation.

  • August 28, 2014 12:30 pm

    Not a ‘Crisis,’ but an Invasion

    It is high time to call things by their real names. This is an invasion.

    Yesterday Russian military units crossed the Ukrainian border over 100 km to the south of the current conflict zone and claimed the town of Novoazovsk and the surrounding villages as part of the separatists state of Novorossia. This action opened up a second front of sorts in the Donetsk Region, thereby diverting Ukrainian forces from the vicinity of Luhansk and Donetsk in order to halt the Russian advance. Since yesterday’s incursion by Russian forces we have seen combat between Russian and Ukrainian regular armed forces. What is happening in Eastern Ukraine is not a ‘crisis’ nor is it a ‘civil war.’ It is nothing short of an invasion of Ukraine by Russian government forces.

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  • August 26, 2014 12:44 pm

    Ukrainian Flag on Moscow Skyscraper Highlights Russian Anti-Putin Opposition

    By Zoe Ripecky

    You’ve probably heard that the Ukrainian flag was planted on a Moscow skyscraper last week, and that the building’s spire was spray-painted the Ukrainian national colors of blue and yellow. On Thursday, four Russian citizens were accused of committing the act and were put under house arrest. Since their arrest, Ukrainian extreme sportsman Mustang Wanted has taken responsibility on his popular Facebook page, posting a photo of himself allegedly atop the building. Those arrested by Russian authorities deny wrongdoing, and say they were parachuting off the skyscraper coincidentally around the same time the flag was planted. Though the story has yet to be straightened out, it brings to light activist movements within Russia that have come out in opposition to Putin and in support of Ukraine’s pro-democratic movement. This movement, led by a young, educated, and politically active population of Russians has taken a stance against a corrupt and authoritative governance.

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