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Statement by Dr. Rajiv J. Shah on The Rockefeller Foundation’s Support for Ukrainians

The Rockefeller Foundation stands with the people of Ukraine.

In the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful cities of Kyiv and Odesa as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. It was just a few months after the Maidan Revolution, in which Ukraine’s citizens rallied against cronyism and corruption — and too many lost their lives doing so. I spent time at a memorial to the fallen and visited with those who continued to work for a free, independent, and democratic nation.

Of course, today, all of that is under attack: Ukrainians themselves, their hard-won freedom, and the ideals they hold most dear. I have watched in horror at the barbarism of Russia’s invasion, even as I have been heartened by Ukraine’s brave resistance and the unity of those nations opposing the conflict. An unnecessary war, especially one that could involve nuclear weapons, is senseless at any time — but especially at a moment when humanity faces so many common threats, including Covid-19 and climate change.

The Rockefeller Foundation is taking steps to support the people of Ukraine at this horrific moment in their lives and the life of their country. We are working now to:

  • Provide urgent funding to international humanitarian partners who are assisting the millions of refugees who have thus far fled the violence;
  • Support grassroots organizations feeding the hungry, providing critical medical assistance, and connecting loved ones to each other;
  • Aid frontline women’s organizations and civil society entities; and
  • Protect journalists telling the story of this war and combatting disinformation.

History reminds us that the fight for freedom is neither easy nor short. In the weeks and months ahead, Ukraine’s future will be decided. As we have for more than a century, The Rockefeller Foundation will seek to ensure that humanity’s future is defined not by fear and conflict but by freedom, progress, and opportunity for all.

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