Do Not Travel: Working in Ukraine in 2022

I am working in Ukraine once again. Australia officially listed Ukraine as a ‘Do Not Travel’ country due to the significant risk of armed conflict, following Russia’s ongoing military hostilities along Ukraine’s borders. Considering the natural resource assets inside Ukraine, the likelihood of Russia attempting to secure these areas is higher than many would like.

There are currently over 120,000 Russian soldiers, alongside armored vehicles and aircraft, amassed close by to the Ukrainian border. The analysts suggest these are gathered to support an imminent multi-front invasion, whilst Russia says they are there for typical exercises only. Though few are taking Russia’s response as a means of reassurance.

When I read this news I worried for my friends throughout Ukraine. You may have seen in the news the self-made Ukrainian militia taking impromptu shooting and self-defense courses to protect their homes from an invasion. There is certainly much preparation to be found here, with many stockpiling food, medical supplies, protective gear like a kzd-6 protective enclosure, and much more.

I am not saying this to fearmonger, it may very well turn out that pressure and scrutiny on Russia will encourage them to back down. However, this is the situation that is currently happening in Ukraine that has listed the country as a “Do Not Travel” country. I felt compelled to come here, again without significant commercial support from local media in Australia, despite the situation.

I am working on documentary and research projects which focus on local voices and stories. There are many here who do not share the same attitudes as those preparing for conflict. There are those who are hoping the last-minute talks between the USA, Europe, and Russia will. There are those who do not trust the USA and western powers any more than Russia. I hope to gather their voices and stories for the projects I work on.