Defend Truth


We stand united in our fight against Russia on Independence Day in Ukraine


Liubov Abravitova is the Ambassador of Ukraine to South Africa.

When standing up and defending the simple right to live and speak the truth, any person or collective becomes indestructible. This is why South Africans had a superpower when standing against apartheid, and why Ukrainians are turning into superhumans in their fight against Russian imperial, neocolonial ambitions.

Thursday, 24 August, is the 32nd anniversary of the independence of Ukraine and there’s one undeniable truth: we know how to come together and fight shoulder-to-shoulder. Ukrainians are well acquainted with living under totalitarian regimes and we have no intention of enduring a terrorist one. Consequently, those capable of fighting do so, while the rest of us dedicate substantial time to volunteering or donating often both. In these pivotal moments of modern history, such support serves as the foundation for victory, demonstrating the unyielding spirit of individuals rallying as a united front.

Explaining exactly how this system operates might be complex, but its efficacy is unquestionable. It appears that every individual in Ukraine, both domestically and abroad, now centres their life around advancing victory. And I’m not only referring to major charities, NGOs, influential bloggers and the media. All these entities play a remarkable role, raising millions daily for our armed forces. I’m also talking about ordinary people Ukrainians who hold jobs, care for families and deal with everyday concerns, under the constant threat of missile and drone attacks.

Upon opening my Facebook feed for just 10 minutes today, I came across:

  • A post by Anna, the sister of a friend. She is a sports journalist and record-holding skydiving champion. She is a volunteer at a frontline hospital and raises funds for an evacuation van and for soldiers’ first aid kits.
  • A post by Oksana, a contemporary poet, marking International Poet’s Day and urging contributions for drone equipment for the 17th Separate Tank Brigade.
  • Dana, a prominent activist, business owner, and mother of two, is auctioning a Ukrainian flag signed by the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, with proceeds going to charity.
  • Yulia, a graphic designer, is auctioning a beautifully crafted handmade purse with bead embroidery to support her friend’s drone brigade.
  • Nastia, a hairdresser from Dnipro, is raising funds to buy a bus for the 128th Separate Brigade.
  • Anastasia, a marketing manager, is seeking help to purchase charging stations for the 115th Brigade.
  • Marina, a chief veterinarian at one of Kyiv’s premier clinics, collects donations and food for pets in Kherson, particularly those affected by the explosion of the Kakhovka Dam by Russian terrorists.

Almost everyone is contributing to the victory effort. Beyond donating to established foundations and charities, people are taking action that includes providing meals, crafting trench candles, weaving camouflage nets and sewing uniforms.

Children too are involved. They yearn for their childhood and families to be restored. Recently, children in Ternopil raised funds for a vehicle for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Lutsk’s schoolchildren gathered money for an anti-drone rifle. Children from Mukachevo collected nearly 1.5 million hryvnias for drones.

A school director who purchased trucks for the armed forces shared, “Every one of the 820 students and 65 teachers put in the effort to raise the necessary amount…”

I can’t adequately express my pride in our people, who stand strong against Russian terrorists. Hopefully, one day, we’ll fully grasp the magnitude of the collective efforts Ukrainians have invested in saving our country.

In Ukraine, volunteering and donating are a phenomenon. Whenever Russia launches an attack on civilians, donations surge. We’re a nation that buys our army Bayraktar drones. There are Telegram channels that gather funds for specific needs, and people eagerly contribute. They meet funding goals within minutes, demonstrating appreciation and immense gratitude for those safeguarding our lives.

Every Ukrainian is contributing to the defence of Ukraine, not because we don’t want peace but because when facing a much larger invader, we are left with no other choice. DM 

PS: As we mark the 32nd anniversary of the independence of Ukraine, I’m honoured and delighted to donate to various causes and charities. If you’re interested in joining me in aiding Ukrainians, our next donation will go to the UNITED24 fundraising platform.

For this purpose, the Ukrainian embassy in South Africa has opened a dedicated account where local and international partners can make their contributions.

Account name: EMBASSY OF UKRAINE (demand deposit account)
Bank: FNB
Account number: 62938629849
Branch name: Brooklyn
Branch code: 251345
Account type: Current

All donations will be transferred to the platform UNITED24 and made publicly available in all transparency.

I appreciate any assistance, even if it’s the price of a cup of coffee. For us, help in protecting our freedom is invaluable.


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