Tristan Blythe: Russia’s war on Ukraine is casting a long shadow

04 Apr 2022 Voices

The tragedy of the war in Ukraine is truly heartbreaking to watch. The harrowing scenes of devastation and destruction have cast a long shadow.

The courage of the Ukrainians fighting for their country’s survival has been remarkable. So too has been their success in holding back the far larger and better resourced Russian army. On paper, it should be no real contest, with the Russian troops quickly overpowering Ukraine – but the reality has been very different.

Not that Putin will admit that. Alongside its military might, Russia’s propaganda machine has been in full swing, attempting to convince Russian citizens that the war (although that word isn’t used) is going to plan and that the Russian army is a liberating force.

Politics in the UK may have been highly divisive in recent years, but these events are a reminder of how lucky we are to live in peace in a liberal democracy with a free press.

In light of such troubling and dark events, it can seem difficult to find positive things to focus on. Yet, there have been some rays of light and acts of kindness. Many charities have raised significant sums to help support humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine and for Ukrainian refugees. As is so often the case, the British public have been incredibly generous in their support.

For example, in its first two weeks the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Ukraine appeal raised £200m, which the charity said was the equivalent of £3 for every person in the UK. No doubt by the time you read this the total raised by this and other appeals will have increased substantially.

Given that there is a cost-of-living crisis in the UK, this generosity is particularly meaningful. Along with the number of people signing up to house Ukrainian refugees, it shows that the British public are still willing to step up and help those in dire need of support.

This generosity is the lifeblood of many charities and is something that the whole sector should be grateful for – perhaps even more so than ever in the aftermath of the pandemic.

As we continue to do what we can to help, let us hope that Russian troops withdraw and Ukraine can start to rebuild its peaceful society soon. Russia’s war on Ukraine is casting a long shadow.

Tristan Blythe is the editor of Charity Finance 

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