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On February 24th, 2022, President Putin issued the order to invade Ukraine and the world has not been the same since. With many of us wanting to offer some support, being cyclists, it’s natural to think, how we can support Ukraine?
There are several ways we, as cyclists, can do our bit to show support for the Ukrainian people in this horrific time.
Whether that’s doing fundraising rides, booking Airbnbs, supporting the Ukrainian military directly, or a charity.
We’ll be covering all the different ways to support Ukraine as well as giving you an overview of what’s happening.
Sadly, Russia and Ukraine have been involved in the conflict for over eight years. In 2014 Russia established military control over Ukraine’s southern Crimean peninsula.
This war has never really ended between Ukraine’s military and Russian-backed rebels and Russian troops. Fighting was mostly occurring in two eastern regions of Ukraine, which were collectively known as Donbas. There have been thousands of casualties and deaths as a result of this fighting.
Back to today, a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine is underway, after Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in the early hours of February 24th.
In January 2022, Russia wanted NATO to cease its Eastern expansion and guarantee that Ukraine and other former Soviet states were banned from ever becoming members.
The EU has stated that this full-scale invasion could be the largest conflict in Europe since the Second World War.
The impact so far has been devastating, with thousands of Ukrainian people being killed in the conflict. Millions of people have been forced to leave their homes and country, seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
Sanctions have been placed on Russia, with hundreds of companies and brands pulling out of Russia. Netflix, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola to name but a few.
The Rouble, Russia’s currency, has lost its value, putting more strain on the Russian people.
Like many sportspeople, cyclists have been doing their bit to try and help Ukraine. Below are a few things you can take part in.
Virtual cycling app, Rouvy wanted to express their support to Ukraine. They did this by creating a Ride for Ukraine – #RideForUkraine.
This was a really simple concept and a great way for cyclists to support Ukraine.
Complete the Ride for Ukraine ride, which is in Kyiv and Rouvy would donate €1 to Ukraine’s cause. The ride wasn’t difficult or long. 10km with 63m of climbing – the idea being that everyone could do it.
Sadly, the event ended in the middle of March, but there are still ways to show your support.
Cyclists were quick to react on Zwift, with people changing their national flags within the game to Ukraine’s within hours of Russia’s invasion.
A simple change, aimed at showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Other cyclists have been completing fundraising activities. One large one to mention would be the ride from Ema Lesicka-Ennis. This was to support UNICEF and also to assist people fleeing from Ukraine to her homeland of Poland and other countries.
Some Zwifters have changed their names on their profiles to include #NoWar #SupportUkraine or other similar phrases.
Changing your kit is also being used to support Ukraine. If you switch to the “Zwift Basic 4” kit, it is made up using the Ukrainian flag colors.
What is Zwift doing to support Ukraine? Every Thursday Zwift holds “Global Solidarity Ride for Ukraine”.
There are several start times so regardless of your time zone, you should be able to fit one in. The rides are 40 – 60 minutes in length and set at a sociable D pace.
To find a list of the upcoming rides, take a look here.
In addition to this, Zwift has also pledged $25,000 in a bid to support The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
There are some non-cycling things you can do to support Ukraine.
It is estimated that there could be up to 7 million Ukrainians who become refugees and that’s just a rough figure, judging by the current situation, it’s going to be much higher.
It’s important to note, that there are so many different volunteer organizations, especially in Europe. They are the ones who take in the women and children who are fleeing from the war, and help them get situated in their new homes.
The ICRC has actually been in Ukraine since 2014 and they work closely with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society.
As you’d expect, they are increasing their response to the humanitarian needs in Ukraine.
In terms of what the ICRC does, they provide emergency assistance, which includes food, water, and other essential items. In addition to this, they provide support to hospitals and primary healthcare facilities with medical equipment.
They also help reconnect families who are separated during the conflict.
CARE is an international humanitarian group that provides food, water, and, other items to families who are fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
World Central Kitchen was founded by world-renowned chef, José Andrés. He started World Central Kitchen after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010.
The group supplies meals to people Ukrainian people at the Polish border.
The International Medical Corps is seen as a Global First Responder, providing emergency relief to people who are struck by conflict in this instance. It doesn’t matter where they are, or what the conditions are like.
Internation Medical Corps provides a wide range of resources and training to help local people in need. This includes healthcare, food, water, and sanitation support.
Doctors Without Borders is all about getting medical relief to wherever it’s needed – no border should stop them.
They are currently in Ukraine and are supporting the medical and humanitarian needs of the conflict.
If you’d like to donate to the Ukrainian Army, you now can do so. The Ukrainian National Bank has opened an account to facilitate this.
It’s a multi-currency account and accepts USD, EUR, GBP, and UAH.
The Ukraine Defense Ministry has partnered with volunteers and created an online platform intended to unite and coordinate actions. People4au.com shows the needs of the army, dividing needs into different categories; clothing, food, transport, and finance.
All of the volunteers have been verified by BankID.
There are two options when it comes to Airbnb.
You can book an Airbnb in Ukraine, in fact, as of March 4th, more than 61,000 nights had been booked on the platform. This totals more than $2 million worth of bookings.
Airbnb is temporarily waiving the guest and hosts fees for bookings in Ukraine. Hosts get paid within 24 hours of a guest checking so this has become a quick way to send cash to Ukrainians.
Of course, you don’t actually stay at the Airbnb but it’s a good way to show your support and you know your money is going directly to individuals.
Do ensure you check out the host before booking to make sure that it’s not a company.
The second way Airbnb is helping is through Airbnb.org. This website is about providing short-term accommodation for people feeling Ukraine.
Airbnb.org allows you to offer temporary stays, these can either be for free or at a discounted price through Airbnb.org or you are able to fund a stay.
If you’re considering hosting then it works very much how Airbnb works. A comfy bed will need to be provided, along with basic amenities. The stay duration can be for a few days or a few weeks.
By using Airbnb.org, you get their backing and support. Nonprofits will check the eligibility of guests and offer any assistance they may need, before, during, and after their stay.
As with a usual Airbnb stay, you are protected by Airbnb’s AirCover. This includes $1 million in liability insurance, $1 million in damage protection, and more.
If you want to donate, 100% of your donation goes towards getting people into housing.
Any guests within the program, stay for free.
Any donations you make are tax-deductible – obviously depending on your local tax laws.
Being cyclists, it’s in our DNA to like apparel and it’s a great way to visibly show your support to the world.
A retailer from New York, Rubber N’Road is selling “Ride Bikes Not Tanks” t-shirts. The border of the t-shirt is sports the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
All proceeds (and we mean 100%) from these sales are going to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.
There are many other options, for example, Spreadshirt has countless shirts available.
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Enjoy reading, learning, and discussing, and see you out there!
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