Another German newspaper wrote about our activities. This time, about assistance to the military. When a journalist spoke with Promote Ukraine activists, he admitted that this is the first time he sees a situation in which representatives of one nation collect aid around the world to defend their homeland. So he decided to write a separate article about this.
“Vasyl K. feels guilty. His brother and some of his friends are fighting Russian invaders in his native Ukraine. Vasyl lives in safe Brussels. ‘I can’t kill people,’ says the 26-year-old. But notes: ‘What I do here, I help my people more.’
He buys ammunition for the Ukrainian military on behalf of NGO Promote Ukraine. Helmets, radio receiver sets, night vision goggles, bulletproof vests – Promote Ukraine has already sent several batches to the frontline.
The NGO also collects donations on Facebook for this purpose. People from many European countries take part in a crowdfunding campaign. They start raising money for a birthday, ask friends on Facebook to donate.
There have been many such campaigns on the Internet since the beginning of the Russian invasion: targeted crowdfunding for small items such as medicines, night vision devices, and reconnaissance drones.
Donations to EU organisations that buy protective vests for Ukrainians act as “assistance in saving from mortal danger.” The fact that people donate to a military party is also a new moral dimension, says peace ethics researcher Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven. The Hamburg professor believes that the supply of weapons to Ukraine is a “moral obligation”. The right to self-defence is the basis. However, Justenhoven finds it problematic that citizens also finance the purchase of weapons: the state has a monopoly on the use of force, including arms control. And any weapons that other states are currently supplying to Ukraine are enough.
Marta Barandiy, the founder of Promote Ukraine, explains the motives of her compatriots: the Ukrainian authorities neglected their army until 2014. And if the state doesn’t do this, the citizens will.
Vasyl receives new inquiries from Ukraine every day. There is an acute shortage of many things. “Every part can save lives,” says Promote Ukraine founder Marta Barandiy. If people were allowed to deliver weapons to Ukraine themselves, Barandiy would do that. “In Ukraine, every citizen is at war, and everyone is in a state of survival,” she says. In her eyes, there is no longer a clear line between humanitarian and military assistance during the war in Ukraine.