For ways to help the UCU community, view the How to Help page.
November 11, 2022
Report on UCU’s activities during the eighth month of the war
University life is inextricably linked with every day that brings us closer to victory. Whether we are on international partner trips or on campus, we talk about fighting the enemy. Our students, teachers, parents, graduates and donors of the university are an example and a testimony of unshakable strength – both on the front line and the home front.
Lviv, March 18, 2022
Appeal to global academic and research community on de-putinization of academia
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
For many years the scholars from Russia have benefited from various international research and internship grant programs provided by the Western democracies. Sadly, «return on investment» was used to strengthen and solidify Putin’s anti-democratic regime. Consummation of financial means without appropriation of the civic values and virtues is a manifestly unambiguous sign of the Russian academic community’s complicity with the regime. For example, the Russian rector council supported the war against Ukraine, collecting hundreds of signatures.
The shocking support or silence of a vast majority of the scholars in Russia in view of the Russian invasion in Ukraine and the war crimes committed by the Russian army cannot be justified by any human and ethical standards. To support or to keep silent in view of atrocities and suffering inflicted by the Russian Government on the innocent civilian population of Ukraine makes Russian academia equally responsible for the crimes against humanity. Sadly, the Belarusian scholars also remain silent observers of Russia's crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Their support of the actions of the Lukashenko regime as well as silent contemplation of the Russian invasion is also a crime.
So here is our Appeal to the global academic and research community on de-putinization of academia with clear proposals: Open letter from academic community
Here is a form to sign our Appeal: Sign the Appeal
We understand that these measures are strict, but today is not the time for half-measures. The world ignored the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008; the world did not react adequately in 2014 when Russia occupied Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk districts. The world shouldn’t repeat the same mistake over and over again. Impunity encourages new violations. In the famous words, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. We are deeply grateful for those brave Russian and Belorussian scholars, who publicly condemn Putin’s regime. Therefore, we propose these restrictions should not apply to individuals and institutions that have a proven record of public condemnation of the Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.
This appeal has already been signed by over 8000 Ukrainian and Western academics, including:
Barbara Oakley - Oakland University, author of MOOC "Learning How to Learn
Michael Houghton - Nobel Laureate in Physiology
Robert Zubrin - President & founder of the Mars Society
Josua LaBayer - Executive Director and Professor of Biodesign Institute, Arizona State Univerity
Grant McFadden - Center Director and Professor of Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy, Arizona State Univerity
Daniele Spadaro - INAF-Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, Italy
Tim Spiller - Director, York Centre for Quantum Technologies
Michele Rebesco - Editor-in-Chief Marine Geology, National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics
You can see the full list of signatories here
This appeal was already published in the form of a letter in journal Nature and will be published in other Western educational periodicals too.
Your personal signature and solidarity will help restore confidence in the mission of higher education and science - preparing for life as active citizens in democratic societies!
Thank you for your active stance instead of remaining a silent observer!
Lviv, March 15, 2022
Stop the justification of the war against Ukrainian civilians and the Ukrainian nation
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
With this letter, we would like to draw your attention to the acts of open support of the atrocious war in Ukraine by the leading Russian university – Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
We are concerned that the war is being openly supported by the students of this university, and they are helping spread falsehoods and Russian state propaganda. Here's the link to their open appeal.
We believe that in the civilized world, there is no place for public support of war crimes being committed by the Russian forces in Ukraine. The promotion of the “war for peace” cannot be justified by the ignorance of the facts in the world of abundant information.
We ask you to publicly react to such statements by Russian students and academic institutions and help stop the justification of the war against Ukrainian civilians and the Ukrainian nation.
We hope for your support!
Students of the Ukrainian Catholic University
Lviv, March 8, 2022
Carthaginem esse delendam! / Carthage must be destroyed!
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
People around the world express their admiration about the heroic resistance of Ukrainians to Putin’s killing machine. Ukraine reminded the whole world what the idea of dignity stands for and why it is worth defending it even at the expense of one’s life. World leaders responded with a wave of holy wrath to the outright evil revealed in Russia's premeditated and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine which keeps inflicting horrible suffering on the Ukrainian people. The West gets united in solidarity by standing for the truth and good against everything evil that has been revealed of Putin's regime and by what it represents.
Deep in human hearts there is a longing for what is true, good and beautiful however much it is clouded by selfish interests and greed. The Maidan (Revolution of Dignity) that put Ukrainians on the path of pilgrimage to dignity in 2014 and which so irritated and scared Putin is now marching through the world. Dignity matters again. Let's not forget this moment and remember what its price is. Ukrainians are now literally crucified by the wickedness of Putin's Russia. When the world renews its spiritual energies, Ukrainians die under Russia's ruthless assault.
Ukraine surprised the world at the moment of its deepest tragedy. How much more would it be able to surprise the world if it was given a chance of uninterrupted and undisturbed development for at least over two or three generations?! When we hear about institutions in the West celebrating their centennials without any major disruption of their operation, we can hardly imagine what it is like. Because in Ukraine it is nothing short of a miracle. As soon as Ukraine grows its new generation, its professionals in business, engineering, arts, spiritual life, education, etc., it is furiously attacked by the imperially obsessed Russia uprooting Ukraine’s vitality and dreams. Then Ukrainians must begin from scratch, over and over again. Then we keep hearing how disappointing our new steps are, how awkward our attempts at following the path of the developed and matured nations, how frustrating is our performance in democratic growth and how futile all our attempts to get an “A” in a democracy class… Would you like Ukrainians [to] really surprise you? Give us a chance for no disruption for at least two generations, help us protect ourselves from the imperial neighbor.
During last days we lost young volunteers Ruslan Karpenko, Ivan Zorya and Anastasiia Yalanska who tried to bring food and medicine to people in the towns under siege, a journalist Victor Dudar, a town mayor reaching out to people who cry for survival Yuriy Prylypko, an actor Pavlo Lee, Yulia Zdanovska, teacher and enthusiast of mathematics, and many other men and women whose dreams and talents might have served this Ukraine which could surprise any of us.
There are many lessons to be learned from this drama of human suffering. One of them should be an examination of conscience in the West. What happened to us that we were able to overlook and neglect the growing darkness in Russia?
Russia has never repented for its communist past, has never done moral reckoning with the atrocities that were committed on human lives in the name of bloody ideology. It has never brought dignity back to the victims of the Leviathan by collecting memories and remembering in prayer each innocent life which was taken by state violence. Russia has not only done nothing of the mentioned. It went the path of glorifying the communist past, of manipulating historic memory by reference to succession narratives of the present institutions from the Soviet ones. What could one expect from a country where its secret service (FSB) celebrates its centennial by reference to the establishment of Cheka, Soviet repressive and bloody police organization?! Such examples abound. Well before the war three quarters of Russians believed that the Soviet time was the best epoch in the history of the country. 59% expressed positive attitude to Stalin and the idea for grand memorialization of Stalin and his epoch through building a monument and a new museum complex near Nizhniy Novgorod won 50% of supporters among those who were born after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. This number was steadily growing from 2005 where only 11% of the same age group were supportive of the idea.
The deep reflection on and repentance over the Nazism experience made the West alert and careful on not crossing certain lines in public policies and discourse. It made certain ultra-right-wing ideas concerning the experimentation with the human person and society repellent and utterly unacceptable in the civilized society. But the trauma of communism was reflected upon in depth and its tragic lesson was learned by heart neither in Russia nor in the West.
If the West is serious about recognizing itself in the broken mirror of suffering Ukraine, it must conduct its “Nuremberg tribunal” to condemn communism and Russian chauvinism with all the committed atrocities and violations of human dignity. This will eventually help Russian people to resist Putin’s incarnation of communist hubris in its ambition to dominate the world at the expense of respecting and affirming human dignity.
Today we appeal to our Partners not to let the West move from one complacency of comfort at any cost to another complacency of self-righteousness. Ukrainians deserve a chance for peaceful development without any disruptions from imperial Russia. Much moral work should still be done.
But first and foremost, Carthaginem esse delendam!
We deeply appreciate your attention, partnership and continuous support!
ectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, March 4, 2022
One of the four primary aims of higher education is “preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies (Council of Europe) . We have a right to say that the Russian system of education and science deliberately failed this mission!
APPEAL OF UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY TO THE GLOBAL ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH COMMUNITY
Today is the 9th day of the blatant military invasion of Russian aggressor into Ukraine and the 9th year of the war Russia started in 2014. This aggression is strongly supported by Belarus. The international isolation of the Russian Federation is increasing, with representatives of different industries and professions. The world refuses to cooperate with an aggressor-state that violates all the basic norms of a civilized community in all areas. Education and science must not be an exception.
For many years the scholars from Russia have benefited from various international research and internship grant programs provided by the Western democracies. Sadly, «return on investment» was used to strengthen and solidify Putin’s anti-democratic regime. Consummation of financial means without appropriation of the civic values and virtues is a manifestly unambiguous sign of the Russian academic community’s complicity with the regime. The shocking silence of a vast majority of the scholars in Russia in view of Russian invasion in Ukraine and the war crimes committed by the Russian army cannot be justified by any human and ethical standards. To willingly remaining silent and passive in view of atrocities and suffering inflicted by the Russian Government on the innocent civilian population of Ukraine makes Russian academia equally responsible for the crimes against humanity. Sadly, the Belorussian scholars also remain silent observers of the Russia’s crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Their support of the actions of the Lukashenko regime as well as silent contemplation of the Russian invasion is also a crime.
Therefore, we appeal to all members of global academic and research community:
- Suspend all forms of academic cooperation with Russian and Belorussian institutions and scientists affiliated with them who are publicly supporting Putin’s regime or remaining silent; do not participate in any events organized by Russian or Belorussian institutions or held in Russia or Belarus.
- Prevent the participation of Russian and Belorussian research institutions and affiliated with them scientists in international grant programs, conferences and projects etc.
- Discontinue scholarship programs dedicated to Russian and Belorussian applicants and allocate them to the nationals of countries affected by Russian aggressive imperialist policies – Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova.
- Suspend Russian and Belorussian researchers, students and institutions from the participation in current programs of international academic mobility.
- Do not nominate Russian and Belorussian scientists affiliated with Russian/Belorussian institutions to the editorial boards of scientific journals/book series.
- Discontinue your membership in the editorial boards of Russian and Belorussian scientific journals, do not publish articles therein.
The proposed restrictions do not apply to individuals and institutions that have publicly condemned Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine.
The war has many different fronts and is being fought in both military and economic, cultural and ideological aspects. Russia's many years of propaganda have been the basis for this military phase of a full-scale invasion. This ideological war and propaganda started long ago and, unfortunately, is likely to be long-lasting unless we take radical measures. In various forms, it can last for years. The field of higher education will also be a kind of battlefield - a war of humanity against meanness. The Council of Europe has defined one of the four primary goals of higher education as "preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies''. It became clear that the system of Russian education and science has chosen a completely different top priority. This is a mass and subconscious propaganda of the idea of Russian imperialism and totalitarianism. The main platform for broadcasting such aggressive Russian narrative was mainly the worldwide network of Russian scientific institutes and centers of Russian studies. Dr. Kateryna Smagliy in the Analytical Report “Hybrid Analytica: Pro-Kremlin propaganda in Moscow, Europe and the U.S.” (2018) analyses co-optation of Russian and Western experts into the pool of proxy communicators for the Putin regime - https://www.underminers.info/publications/hybridanalytica Author emphasizes that the “Western governments and academic institutions should officially acknowledge the threat posed by Russia’s subversive information warfare, step up efforts to expose Russia’s network of agents within Western academia, and adopt mechanisms to safeguard professional integrity and due diligence processes”. We are deeply concerned about the above mentioned activity of Russian Centers in Western institutions and their possible connections with the Russian government. Thus, we highly recommend to follow those recommendations and examine if there are any signs of Russian state-sponsored networks in your academic communities.
Today is not the time for half-measured actions. The world ignored the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008; the world did not react adequately in 2014 when Russia occupied Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk districts. The world cannot repeat the same mistake over and over again. Impunity encourages new violations. In the famous words, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We believe that the academic community should lead by example and show an adequate reaction to Russia’s barbaric actions. We have to unite as a world to stand against aggression. Academia should be based on the values of honesty, justice, and respect for rights and freedoms of others. We are convinced that intellectuals and scholars have a special responsibility for peace, freedom and the prevention of dictatorship!
Ensure Putin’s Russia full isolation from the civilized democratic world.
We deeply appreciate your attention, partnership and continuous support!
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, March 3, 2022
“Closing the sky over Ukraine is a matter of international security” (Volodymyr Zelensky, 02.03.22)
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
From the first day of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian occupiers violated numerous norms of international law, including the United Nations Charter, the Hague Convention, the Minsk Agreements, not to mention the Budapest Memorandum, which Russia violated 8 years ago.
Acting insidiously, the Russian invaders continue to use civilians as human shields, taking hostages and bombing civilian infrastructure of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Odessa, Mariupol, and other big cities. Contrary to the norms of International Humanitarian Law, high-power cluster munitions and fragmentation munitions are used in bombings mostly residential areas, kindergartens, transport infrastructure, and even hospitals. During the last 24 hours of March 3rd dozens of civilian objects were destroyed in one city of Kharkiv, including the Karazin University building and the Kharkiv Regional State Administration. None of these buildings are military and not even located nearby. Now it’s clear that meeting fierce opposition from the Ukrainian army, Russians changed their tactics to what they practiced in Chechnya and Georgia - acts of terrorism against civilians. It will take years to rebuild the aftermath of the bombing but no one will restore human lives.
The Russian invaders are not only destroying our cities, homes, educational institutions, and hospitals - they are destroying culture and history, and this affects not only every Ukrainian but the entire international community. On March 1, Russian troops launched a rocket attack on the territory where the Babyn Yar memorial complex is located, where thousands of innocent souls were killed by the Nazis. That day the new Russian Nazis not only insulted the monument but shed new innocent blood on the bones of the martyrs. During the artillery strikes on the settlements, the occupiers actively used the "Hrad", "Tornado" and "Hurricane" multiple rocket launchers. Such hostilities are prohibited by international law and result in large-scale civilian casualties! Some cities are on the verge of a humanitarian crisis!
We can already see the Russians bombing residential areas, hospitals, cultural monuments, but they do not stop there. They have already occupied the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, bombing oil pipelines in Vasylkiv. Russian Su-30 and Su-35 systematically fly into the safe zone of our nuclear power plants. And this is the so-called "safe zone" - a quiet harbor where no one is allowed to fly. These objects are likely future targets for attacks, which will be an environmental catastrophe for the whole of Europe! On March 3rd, Ukraine officially appealed that the IAEA must call on NATO to close access to the airspace over its nuclear facilities and intensify efforts to prevent acts of nuclear terrorism, such as the seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the exclusion zone by Russian troops. The Russian Federation completely ignores the principles of peace, security and unity for which the IAEA was created within the UN. Therefore, it is proposed by Ukraine to exclude Russia's access to the Agency's intellectual and technical resources while strengthening control over the use of nuclear material in this country.
Closing the sky over Ukraine, as President Zelensky said on March 2nd, is not only an urgent need of Ukraine but of the whole world. Closing the sky over Ukraine is a way for the world to protect itself. Geopolitical, security and humanitarian consequences inevitably await Europe. In just seven days, we have witnessed the departure of almost 1, 000, 000 refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries, and hundreds of thousands of people have no home left to return to due to the bombing. According to UNFPA almost 80 000 Ukrainian women will give birth in the next 3 month under the risk of not receiving necessary medical care. Shall Europe expect another migration crises in the coming months? Are our economies and societies ready for it? There is no confidence Russia will stop the bombing. That affects more and more cities, more and more territory, and more and more people will be forced to flee. Their houses will be destroyed and they will not have a safe place to return. The humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine is a matter of nearest time with no action done to stop it.
How can we unite our efforts to prevent this?
Ukraine needs help to shelter its sky now!
We call on all our Partners and Friends to declare March 5th - a Day of International Solidarity with Ukraine!
The main appeal for the whole global academic community is to CLOSE THE SKY over UKRAINE! Therefore, let us together, on Saturday, March 5, call on the whole world to come out on the streets with beautiful blue and yellow flags in support of Ukraine and protest against the treacherous attack of the Russian Federation! Let’s demand NATO and all decision- makers to CLOSE THE SKY OVER UKRAINE!
Ukraine is able to save the world from the Russian threat, but we need support, we need You! So please be with us, support us before it's too late!
Help Ukraine to have a peaceful sky over its head!
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, March 2nd, 2022
UCU – A UNIVERSITY OF FREEDOM AND DIGNITY: “There are universities that know how to turn anxiety into the energy of development, and then students can grow to twenty years in two days” (Maksym Kolyada, lecturer of UCU).
Call for the establishment of the Network of Solidarity and Strategic Partnership with Ukrainian Catholic University (2022-2026)
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
UCU community thanks to all educators, scientists, researchers, all colleagues, and Partners throughout the civilized world for their expressions of solidarity with us and the Ukrainian people in this tragic time of war. The international isolation of the Russian Federation is increasing, with representatives of different industries and professions. The world refuses to cooperate with an aggressor-state that violates all the basic norms of a civilized community in all areas. The higher education and research sectors cannot stand aside. Putin's war crimes, and Russia’s crimes against humanity, will be punished but only when the Russian people realize their complicity. For this to occur, the Russian educational sector must realize its failure to fulfill its primary function and its mission: to develop a humanist worldview. If tyranny and aggression win, we will all feel the consequences. As this destructive war continues, we call upon you not to stand aside, and we ask our international Partners and Friends to support what is True and Right. We demand action.
1. The last few days have proved to the world that Ukraine is a resilient and mature nation able to secure its statehood even in the time of war. Ukrainians are proving their centuries-long claims of independence undermining any intentions of the Kremlin to build the new Russian empire. Ukrainians are ready to give their lives for their families, their country, for human dignity and values of the civilized world! Ukraine's victory is inevitable as the truth is on our side! However, nowadays we are paying the highest price to reach peace. Looking now at a step forward, the main question that remains open is how long it will take to rebuild our country. How many resources and talents will we need to repair all the damage we have suffered? The Ukrainian Catholic University is ready to act and continue to realize its mission - To build a new generation for a new Ukraine. We clearly understand that after the victory, Ukraine will face difficult times that will require considerable resources for reconstruction. However, we believe that our main resource will be our People and especially Ukrainian youth - our future leaders who will take the responsibility to restore every sphere of Ukrainian society.
2. We see how our Partners and Friends have been inspired and dared to do something: whether to make a donation, to accept refugees, or to help fight on the Internet. We continue to receive suggestions for assistance and sincerely appreciate it. However, we believe that the time has come to think critically about the future consequences of the devastating blow of war for Ukraine and to propose a sustainable cooperation plan that will help us fulfill our university mission to contribute to restoring the country and avoid brain drain of Ukrainian talents that will be strongly needed.
As of now, all our students are actively involved in various types of activities aimed at winning the war against the Russian aggressor. More than 70 students are currently staying abroad (mainly in Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands) and most of them want to return home immediately or in the coming weeks. Yet, UCU recommends that such students stay on the ground (at least until the end of active hostilities) to help other Ukrainian refugees or perform other volunteering activities. UCU will make additional requests to its Partners to prolong or grant such persons the exchange student status and to provide them with an access to university resources, including accommodation (if possible).
We are also aware that starting next academic year, UCU will also face many difficult challenges. Among them, it is obvious that many students and their families will not be able to pay for the tuition fees in full. We also expect that even more Ukrainians from the Eastern regions will want to study and live in Lviv. UCU will make every effort to help and provide support to such families. In addition, our University already has a working group that develops a plan for the university's operational work after the war has ended. Some operational changes will be needed, but UCU's strategy 2025 of a University that serves will remain more relevant than ever.
3. Many of you have asked how you can help Ukraine and UCU at this time? Please help us plan a successful reconstruction of Ukraine, which will be fulfilled by talented and patriotic Ukrainian youth! We encourage you to become a member of the Network of Solidarity and Strategic Partnership with the Ukrainian Catholic University aimed to help Ukrainian students and faculty with guaranteed and secured funding for study / internship / teaching / research programs abroad to be implemented during the next four academic years (Fall 2022 - Spring 2026). We encourage you to join any type of funding for any of the package proposals listed in the table below. We are also ready to discuss all the details of strategic cooperation programs for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The main contact persons in this regard will be:
1. Dr. Sophia Opatska, Vice Rector of UCU for strategic development, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Dr. Halyna Protsyk, Director of UCU International Academic Relations Office, email@example.com
We are in the hopeful anticipation that our Partners in Europe, North America and worldwide will support that initiative and make Ukraine, UCU and other Ukrainian Universities a priority in their internationalization plans and scholarship support. We also sincerely believe that after successful obtaining of a new status of Ukraine as a Candidate Country to the European Member State we’ll have much more opportunities to cooperate. We will also be grateful to our European Partners for your active position and lobbying on National Agencies and the European Commission to increase funding for cooperation programs with Ukrainian universities under the Erasmus + program. This will be a powerful tool for rebuilding Ukrainian universities in the postwar period.
We trust in global academic solidarity!
|The Network of Solidarity and Strategic Partnership with Ukrainian Catholic University (2022-2026)|
|Scholarship package for undergraduate students||300 scholarships per year for semester programs abroad (including 90 scholarships for semester programs in the network of Catholic universities)|
|Scholarship package for master's students||
100 scholarships per year for master's degree programs abroad with a focus on programs lasting 1 year (including 30 scholarships for degree programs in the network of Catholic universities)
30 scholarships per year for professional internships abroad (rehabilitation and occupational therapy, journalism and media, psychology, theology, data science, public administration, business and management etc)
|Scholarship package for graduate (PhD) students||5 scholarships per year for semester research abroad|
|Scholarship package for UCU faculty (including dependents)||
30 scholarships per year for 6-8 weeks long fellowship program abroad (internship, research, co-teaching projects)
(including 9 scholarships for fellowship programs in the network of Catholic universities)
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, March 1, 2022
Russian = barbarian. This is a “brand” that Putin has hung on each of Russia's 144 million people. DEPUTINIZATION of the world has also become part of our foreign policy. (Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, 01.03.2022)
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
The Russian Federation’s armed invasion in Ukraine, which has been going on for six days, has already led to a number of serious war crimes - shelling of children’s institutions, hospitals, and other civil objects, including cultural heritage objects in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and many other Ukrainian cities. After the barbaric and predatory attacks on our cities, the killing of children and civilians, we have every right to say that Putin attached to a modern Russian the “brand” of a barbarian. Everyone in the world needs to understand this. Today, Ukraine and UCU call on all states, international organizations, and all our valued Partners to release the world of Putin and his poisonous propaganda. This means eradicating the influence of the Russian system in politics, diplomacy, business, education and science, sports, culture, and other fields. The world must be cleansed of this toxic virus that brings death to the civilized world, democracy, and human dignity!
- The world’s international business shows now the united decision - exclude Russia in each possible field of international cooperation. A market nightmare precisely describes the Russian market’s situation since the sanctions have been imposed. The Russian invasion of the sovereign territories of Ukraine is causing a mass exodus of foreign companies from the Russian economy. From the oil giant BP which promised to exit its joint venture from Russian state-owned company Rosneft (19.7% stake) to an American subscription streaming service and production company Netflix, which refuses to broadcast Russian state TV channels in Russia. Disney, Warner, Sony, and Marvel have all decided to halt releases in Russian cinemas. The world’s largest LNG trader, Shell Oil, announced it would leave joint ventures with Gazprom, including the now-dead Nord Stream II. Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor stops all new investments in Russia and begins to exit its joint ventures with Rosneft. General Motors announced the cutting off of its business with Russia. The same announcement was made by Volvo Cars, Volkswagen Group, Daimler Truck. Aeroflot and other Russian airlines are banned from the 27-nation bloc in the European Union, together with the UK and Canada. Swiss Credit Bank, French Societe Generale, Dutch ING Group NV and Radobank refused from lending and investing in Russia. Apple announced to stop selling their items in the official online-store in Russia. The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has initiated a halt to the supply of cash foreign currency to banks in Russia and Belarus. The NBU appealed to the ambassadors of the G7 group and the heads of the central banks of these countries, European banks supplying cash and representatives of the international fast money transfer system Western Union to stop the supply of foreign currency to Russian and Belarusian banks. Dear partners, isn't it time to check and take an anti-putin virus test at our own organizations? Can we be sure that our academic and business communities are free from the destructive influence of Putin?
- Violation of International Law and crimes against humanity. On Tuesday, March the 1st, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court addressed the situation in Ukraine stating that there is legal evidence of both war crimes and crimes against humanity made by Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory. In 1949, as a result of the devastating World War II, European countries adopted the most important instrument of international humanitarian law - the four Geneva Conventions that prohibit killing and ill-treatment of civilians, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and the use of weapons that cause undue damage or unnecessary suffering. In the best traditions of the Hitlerite Empire, the military forces of the Russian Federation fire mostly on the civilian population and civilian infrastructure, taking lives every hour and leveling entire cities and villages. The Russian Ministry of Defence also announced its intention to bomb other military objects in the center of the capital. A few dozen meters from the stated target of the bombing is the St. Sophia Cathedral, a symbol of Kyiv Rus, decorated with mosaics and frescoes dated back to the 11th century - a historical period when Moscow did not yet exist on the map. The Putin regime hates Ukrainian identity! Putin is committing crimes not only against humanity but also against his own citizens. Today, Putin officially priced the lives of his soldiers to be 11,000 Russian rubles (an amount of money Russia promised to pay to the families of dead soldiers, which is a little bit more than 100 USD). We believe that human life cannot have a price. To save Russian lives, Ukraine in contrast is offering a full amnesty and 5,000,000 rubles to the Russian military, who will lay down its arms and surrender.
- Holocaust memorial ‘Babyn Yar’ bombing. Russian troops are also targeting objects of national and historical memory, violating all norms of UNESCO's international obligations. A major Holocaust memorial in Kyiv was struck today during Russia’s latest bombardment of the city, which targeted a television broadcast tower in the Ukrainian capital. This is a symbolic place for millions of people all over the world to remember the cruelty of the Nazi regime. In Babyn Yar Nazis massacred up to 100.000 Jews, Roma, and Ukrainians during World War II. Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President wrote: “These villains are killing Holocaust victims for the second time”. During the accident, 5 people were killed. President Zelensky twitted: “Why to repeat "Never Again" for 80 years when the bomb falls if the world remains silent?”. We appeal to everyone still staying silent or claiming one’s non-political position - your silence kills, your silence destroys world heritage!
- Belarussian troops entered Ukraine. The enemy has seen him becoming weaker, and Putin has begun to engage his authoritarian allies in this conflict. A Belarusian column of 33 units entered the Chernihiv region, located north of the capital Kyiv, on March 1. Belarus' self-proclaimed President Alexander Lukashenko previously vowed that Belarusians would not participate in Russia's war against Ukraine and would not let Russia use the Belarusian territory for that purpose. Lukashenko, in particular, may try to invade Ukraine's northwestern territories, which Russia hasn’t so far considered as a priority. Global community should have no doubts that authoritarian regimes would not respect international obligations. Lukashenko should be recognized as a war criminal together with Putin.
- The European Parliament approved Ukraine’s application for joining the European Union and recommended member states to grant Ukraine the candidate status. Today we all are a part of the historical moment. On March 1st, the European Parliament approved Ukraine’s application for joining the European Union and officially started a special procedure of consideration of Ukrainian membership. A President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola stated, “We recognize Ukraine's European perspective… We must meet the future together”. The European Parliament signed a resolution that condemns Russia's war against us, calls on Russia to withdraw all its troops from our territory, and calls on EU institutions to work to grant Ukraine EU candidate status. We firmly believe that such steps and further logical actions by European states can effectively accelerate the cessation of the war and can give a worthy rebuff to the Russian international criminal. We understand that there will still be a lot of work and effort ahead, but the guarantee of your support will allow us to work for a concrete result and goals that will be common to the whole nation.
- UCU: a model of “workshop university”. Our University now finds itself in an entirely “new reality”. To handle the situation well the Operating Group was created with a mandate to meet the urgent needs of the community, strengthen physical and digital security, and build our capacity for resilience. One of the key questions was what to do with the educational process. In 2004 and 2013- 14, when Ukraine went through two revolutions to safeguard its democratic development and rule of law, the University transferred its education services from classes to the streets. Students went through tempering experiences of social activism, public service and civic responsibility. We decided to use a similar model now and turned the university into a workshop. The war is the most extreme case filled with cruelty, humiliation, violence and human suffering. Even people with strong characters and rich experience could get traumatized. What to say about young immature students? If they are left alone, they could be overwhelmed with anxiety and stricken by fear. It is also impossible to hold classes online at such a time. Students are not able to concentrate and focus on regular content. Moreover, they will miss learning the most important antidote against fear and feeling of helplessness which is human solidarity and doing something important together.
So, UCU moved to a model of ‘workshop university’. Students are required to participate in ‘classes’ either in person or remotely. But these days classes are designed in accordance with the service-learning model. Each program, teachers and their students had defined their own way of enacting social change. That should help the students to better understand the situation, to find the project which could prove them useful in helping others, to reflect on the acquired experience, and go on. UCU is being transformed now into a big workshop and a spider web of many projects for enacting human dignity in these perilous times. Young people draw their energy for facing the hard and tragic reality of war from their fellow students, community, and God. In the appendix to the letter, we provide you with a list of those student networks that are successfully operating for the sake of Ukraine’s victory. If you are willing and able to support these initiatives, below we also provide information on how to do so.
Pope Francis has called on everyone to organize a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine on March 2, Ash Wednesday. On this day we all can share the sufferings of the Ukrainian people, to make everyone feel like brothers and sisters, and to pray to God for the end of the war. We welcome you to join this initiative together with UCU!
Good and truth will prevail!
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, February 28, 2022
Ukraine is "one of us and we want them in the European Union", Ursula von der Leyen
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
Today, Russian occupation entered its 5th day of military aggression, with hundreds of casualties, hundreds of thousands of refugees, and millions of destroyed lives. This is more than a Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is a brutal assault on democracy, humanity, global order and the whole civilized world overall. Since the beginning of the war on February 24th, much of the international community pledged its support for the Ukrainian people in various forms. Diplomats work tirelessly. We see large-scale and influential sanctions against the Russian economy. Ukraines allies are sending financial and military aid. Likewise, many international companies, NGOs and initiatives have joined in helping Ukraine. Unfortunately, all these enormous efforts have not stopped the war yet. The Russian killer is relentless!
- Death of Ukrainian children. Russian missiles keep dropping on civilians heads and buildings. Russians keep attacking kindergartens and orphanages, thus committing war crimes and violating the Rome Statute. Hospitals and mobile medical aid brigades are also targeted by the Russian shellfire and the sabotage groups, working in Ukraines cities and towns. According to the MFAs report, as of today, 352 people including 16 children were killed and 1684 people (116 children) wounded in Ukraine during five days of the Russian invasion. (The numbers are being updated). Russia will have to answer for its behavior at the World Court in the Hague. Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ and we request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week. Your active civic support and demand that Putin and Russia be convicted of their crimes will help to restore confidence in and effectiveness of international law.
- Ukraines official request to join the European Union. For centuries the Ukrainian nation has fought for its own independence as an equal and rightful European state, with a strong identification with European values, such as democracy, freedom, equality, just governance and human rights. After gaining independence, we keep proving that we are part of European society. We defend our freedom, dignity, and future. We protect and develop norms, laws, and reforms that are important for being a modern and free country. We are fighting not only for our lives and freedom but also for the whole European society that we respect, admit and want to be a part of. Today, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a historical application for Ukraines membership in the European Union. Thanks to the support of many European countries and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, we feel confident that this will be an important step in order to not only finalize our integration to the European Union but also to achieve true peace. Your voice is critical at this moment! Please appeal to your governments and your representatives in parliaments to support our aspiration.
- Negotiations with Russia. To stop fatalities, Ukraine decided to hold its first negotiation session with Russia near Ukrainian-Belorussian border. The aim is to cease fire on Ukrainian territory to prevent casualties. As a result of the first session and according to the Ukrainian delegation, both sides identified common topics that they must work on and departed back to their own capitals for further consultations and implementation of the first session. The next session will happen shortly. The start of the negotiation process is a crucial part of peace in Ukraine. Our delegation will defend Ukraines national interests and sovereignty. Nothing much was achieved during the first session. But the meanness of the aggressors knows no limits. During the talks, the parties agreed to a ceasefire. However, taking advantage of the moment, Belarus and Russia continued to attack Kharkiv, Kyiv and other settlements from the air. We emphasize once again that the words and promises of the Russian regime are worth nothing.
- Referendum in Belarus. The dictator Lukashenko signed a decree appointing a referendum on amendments to the Constitution of Belarus on February 27. As a result of this referendum, he wanted to strengthen his power and create additional danger for Ukraine and the world. In addition, he creates security guarantees that do not allow him to be held accountable for his actions during his terms. Most importantly, he deprives Belarus of its nuclear-free status. These changes mean that he does support the war against Europe. He is ready to get nuclear weapons from Russia and use them not only as a blackmail instrument but also to kill our soldiers, families, and children. Almost 66% of people voted for the amendments to the Constitution. We ask you to support the decisive steps to stop another dictator who instigates the war, kills our soldiers and civilians by dropping the missiles from the country he made a hostage of his lunacy. The consequences of Lukashenkos actions can be fatal and affect citizens of all countries.
- Humanitarian crisis at Ukrainian border. We Ukrainians are thankful and proud of all the support of our fellows worldwide providing help to our people and assert human values to win the war against totalitarianism and dictatorship. While many Ukrainians are fighting, there are the ones who must save their young kids, some of which have just been born. International volunteers are working hard to provide these people with the possibility of saving their souls from the enemys fire. Providing shelter in neighboring countries, food, basic sanitation, and hygiene products is crucial. Women with little kids who stay at the Ukrainian border sometimes for 3-4 days need resources to survive during this period of turbulence. Most necessary at the Ukrainian border is food, baby food, water, diapers, wet wipes, coverlets, toilet paper. We ask you to become a part of global solidarity with Ukraine now and address NGOs and volunteer centers with help. The young Ukrainian generation will forever remember the good that the world community provided them with!
- How does the Ukrainian Catholic University deal with the current state of war? The community of the Ukrainian Catholic University is now being actively engaged in various volunteer activities. Our main objectives: Witness, Serve and Communicate lead us through these hard times. UCU operating group has been working non-stop since the first day of Russias full-scale invasion in Ukraine. For example, UCU cooperation with UNICEF has launched the assistance to refugees to provide them with the first necessary humanitarian aid. UCU has also become a center for many volunteering projects, including media coverage of war, humanitarian aid, city security, IDPs support etc. Our students are redistributing clothes, food supplies, medicines and hygiene products for the soldiers all over Ukraine and to IDPs, who came to Lviv. Yesterday, 27th of February, we handed over to the military: 1 quadcopter, 5 walkie-talkies, 8 phones, 51 power bank, 23 boxes of food (including thousands of bars, dry food, coffee, tea, canned food, etc.), 15 chargers, 19 large boxes of medicines and many many other items. We do not stop the educational process, despite the recommendation of the Ministry of Education and Science to pause instruction for two weeks. We believe that there can be no vacation during the war. Traditional lectures have been canceled, however all classes were transformed into practical activities according to the service-learning approach that UCU has been pioneering for the last few years.
We must win! We must be united in this struggle!
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, February 27, 2022
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
Four endless days and more than 96 hours of sacrificial defense and resistance. Four days that changed Ukraine and the world forever! Many countries are astonished now by Ukrainians: their faith, their resilience, their unity, and their resolute readiness to die for their land. The aggressor loses control. It is difficult for Putin to accept that Ukraine is not a controlled territory with a puppet government, but a free country of free people, which is an integral part of European civilization. This reality drives him crazy and pushes him to further commit the most shameful crimes.
How UCU and Ukraine have survived through the fourth day of war? Where do we all need to remain vigilant and resilient, despite all the incredible feats of Ukrainians over the past few days?
- Nuclear threat. After suffering a crushing defeat after four days of the attack on a peaceful Ukraine, Vladimir Putin voiced threats to use so-called deterrent forces. We are talking about Russia’s nuclear capabilities. The threat of nuclear weapons to a peaceful nuclear-free neighboring state is tragic evidence of Putin’s painful ambitions and inadequacies. Putin is ready to put the world to the worst test, which could lead to the loss of millions of lives. This challenges common sense and the civilized foundations of the world. Every destructive weapon can be answered with no less force, and this is the way to the death of mankind. It’s time we need to consciously admit to ourselves: Russia is headed by a paranoid man who is ready to drag the whole world. We urge you not to remain silent! Communicate with your governments and stakeholders, take to the streets and demand immediately bringing Putin to responsibility for the voluntaristic threat of using nuclear weapons!
- Ecological catastrophe threat. It is also crucial to recognize the extreme consequences the whole planet may experience due to the Russian military presence in Chornobyl. As for now, Ukraine lost control of the decommissioned Chornobyl nuclear plant, whose destruction in 1986 led the world to the worst nuclear disaster in human history. The world must recognize that the unhuman Russian military crimes could lead to the most significant ecological crisis of the whole century that could change our planet forever. This war is not about Ukraine only. It is about the future of humankind as a whole.
- Russia continues its air attack on Ukraine, shelling military and civilian infrastructure. Despite the Ukrainian Air Force’s continued success in intercepting cruise missiles aimed against Ukrainian territory, Ukraine’s airspace remains the weakest link in its defense. Missile and air attacks cruelly hit Ukrainian military and civilian objects, destroying thousands of human fates. NATO has to close the airspace to the Russian air force, which means that the aggressor would lose his advantage over the Ukrainian sky. We ask an international community to force your governments to support Ukraine in its cravings to defend the sky; thus, it strongly correlates with the danger of an ecological catastrophe. Russia hits Ukrainian oil facilities, power plants, and gas pipelines in a horrendous wave of attacks over the last four days: from Kharkiv to Vasylkiv, near Kyiv. Those actions could result in wind carrying the smoke and harmful substances not only to Ukraine but also to Europe. 4
- The humanitarian crisis creates a set of threats for children and their families all around Ukraine. The UNICEF warns that intensifying hostilities in Ukraine pose an immediate threat to the lives and wellbeing of the country’s 7.5 million children. Heavy weapons fire has already damaged critical water infrastructure and education facilities in recent days. Tens of thousands of families are already displaced, dramatically escalating humanitarian needs. The UN Refugee Agency stated that around 370,000 people have left the country. According to the Lviv and Zakarpattia military administrations, about 70,000 refugees are already there. Those numbers of people are still increasing in different regions and require our joint efforts to help not only them but all those people who stay in their cities and those who protect us. Moreover, we are facing problems with providing adequate amounts of supplies and medicines. It is a first priority for us to provide food, hygiene products, warm clothes, medicines and much more for our citizens. All Ukrainians are very grateful to all the people and countries around the world that provide us with those products. Your help makes us stronger and shows that by working together we can overcome the danger that looms over the world. If you find it appropriate and feasible, please use the list of urgent items that can be sent to Ukraine as humanitarian assistance.
- For now, our brave soldiers have defended the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, also the city of Kharkiv. However, Ukrainians are still facing difficulties with fighting back the enemy. The situation became more difficult when the occupant started using weapons against the civilians (e.g. in Nova Kakhovka and other Ukrainian districts). That is why we kindly ask you to keep referring to your governments with requests for military aid for the Ukrainian army.
- Russian aggression is highly dependent on financial capabilities, therefore, it is extremely important to impose severe economic sanctions on the Russian Federation. Today, European countries and G7 members cut-off several Russian banks from SWIFT as measures to stop the Russian invasion. However, these measures are not strong enough to stop Putin. Russian companies still can make operations in other banks which are not under the sanction list. Consequently, only a cut-off of the entire Russian financial system from SWIFT can stop Putin’s aggression as Russia will be isolated and economically blocked.
- Last, but not least, personal sanctions against the Russian elite must include a wider list of individuals. The UK and the US imposed personal sanctions on President Putin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov and together with the EU on some other politicians and businessmen. However, effective personal sanctions require more people under pressure, such as relatives of all already listed individuals, military figures, and big business owners. After the first sanctions imposed on Russia war continues, which implies that only severe sanctions on Russian Federations can stop Putin and his aggression. We can also impose our personal sanctions on Russia and Putin: by not buying Russian goods, not consuming Russian media products, by terminating all contracts with Russian businesses. We also encourage all the artists and celebrities to keep pushing their politicians on continuous sanctions and refusal from any tours and entertainment content broadcasting to Russia.
The world is on the brink. We, the international academic community, are the voice of conscience and warning.
Let us be resolute and loud in our support for Ukraine.
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, February 26, 2022
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
For the third day in a row, the Ukrainian people have been steadfastly defending their homeland. Many Ukrainian sons and daughters are sacrificing their lives today so that the aggressor's greatest dream of humiliating a free country will never come true! Today we honor the memory of and pray for our fallen heroes! May the merciful Lord accept their sacrificial souls into His Kingdom! And help their families to endure the great pain of loss.
Our struggle continues! Many of you are asking how you can help Ukraine now. We deeply appreciate every word and every testimony of your partnership and encourage you to do the following:
- Thousands of Ukrainian women and children (including young men under the age of 18) and a number of foreigners that were staying in Ukraine are currently seeking refuge abroad. We deeply appreciate the help and support of Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, the USA and Ireland to provide shelters for these people. It is an expression of true mercy and brotherhood. Among all these people are also teachers, students from different regions of Ukraine, who have no idea how to continue their work, study, and education. In addition, many Ukrainian students who are now staying abroad under various exchange and degree programs are worried about their future return home. We kindly ask you to provide support to such persons and, if possible, to host them at your universities so that they can continue their studies or conduct academic activities with the help of university resources (offices, libraries, Internet access, etc.) until the situation in our country is safe enough for them to return.
- Disinformation is a part of the Russian war. Many Russian citizens are blocked by their authorities from global channels of objective information. They do not know the truth about what is happening in Ukraine, being under the influence of Russian propaganda. We ask all our partners to become a voice of conscience and determination for Russian universities and to appeal to the Russian academic community to oppose military intervention and call on their authorities to stop the war. Your impartial awareness of the dire and devastating consequences for Russian science and education will serve as influential and critical evidence for decisive anti-war protests. Please, encourage them to look for reliable and fact-checked news.
- Encourage your state leaders to provide the maximum possible military, humanitarian and financial assistance to Ukraine.
- Reach out to your representatives in parliaments and urge them to support sanctions against the Russian Federation. This should primarily include sanctions against Russia’s Central Bank. State-owned companies like Rosatom, Rosneft, and Surgutneftegaz must be sanctioned too. Expand the list of individuals for personal sanctions. If possible, encourage your communities to boycott Russian goods and services not to support the aggressor’s economy.
- Putin has demonstrated that his war is not limited to a particular region of Ukraine. His initial attack on February 24 targeted military infrastructure throughout the country. The next wave of bombardment is likely to also encompass the whole country. Although not completely destroyed, Ukraine’s anti-aircraft and missile defense capabilities have been significantly weakened during the past 2 days of fighting. However, an all-out ballistic missile bombardment supported by heavy bombers from Russian and Belarusian territories is likely to be overwhelming. Ukraine needs air cover! Encourage your political leaders to support the decision of introducing a "no-fly zone" over Ukraine.
- We understand how devastating it will be to implement full isolation of Russia in all senses. However, we are convinced this is the right time to terminate Russia’s participation in all international research projects as well as international academic events and competitions. This will give Russian researchers, educators, and students the opportunity to focus on analyzing their indifference to current events. At the same time, actively condemning the actions of the Russian authorities in any of your interactions will awaken their conscience and desire to restore trust.
- Russians attacking Ukraine have no morality, no values. They are bombing kindergartens, hospitals, and residential areas in cities all around Ukraine! They are killing innocent civilians. Russia deliberately despises and rejects all possible norms of international law. Putin is a war criminal and a threat to humanity! Ukrainians are vigilantly gathering evidence of war crimes against humanity to convict Putin and bring him to justice. Support the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute Putin!
Thank you for being with us at this difficult time! Together we will prove to the world and ourselves that humanity has not yet lost the strength to fight evil and anomy.
We hope for your support!
Rectorate and Operating Group
Lviv, February 24, 2022
Dear Partners of UCU and Ukraine!
Today, on the 24th of February, at 5.00 AM the armed forces of the Russian Federation backed by the Republic of Belarus launched an intensive shelling of numerous Ukrainian cities and delivered missile/bomb strikes on the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At the same time, the aggressor started artillery shelling of the areas and settlements along the state border and administrative boundary with the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea.
This war has been going on for the last 8 years, but today, Ukraine and the whole world face the greatest danger since 2014. Do not believe that this war was provoked by Ukraine. We are a peaceful people defending right now our Motherland and a right to live in a free democratic country!
We call on now all our Partners abroad to be alert and show your solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian academic community. The evil is revealed now, and there is no space for cajoling the aggressor. Now, more than ever, we need the support of the entire global academic community. It will be extremely helpful for us if you approach your governments with institutional and/or individual appeals to support Ukraine with military, economic, and humanitarian assistance and to impose devastating sanctions against Russia. Remaining silent and apathetic are the greatest enemies right now.
This war is not just the war of the Russian Federation with Ukraine. The Kremlin’s regime is ruining the fundamentals of international order. So, for all of us, this is the war of the entire civilized world against dictatorship and against violation of the basic rules of international law.
Despite the harsh circumstances and no matter how great the challenges stemming from today’s world crisis, our spirit remains strong, and together with the help of our Lord, strong Ukrainian Army, and inexhaustible global academic support, we are – incomparably stronger to defeat the evil that rebelled against humanity!
Ukraine strongly needs your support!
Please, pray for the peace and victory of Ukraine!
With sincere gratitude for your partnership,
Rev. Dr. Bogdan Prach