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UKRAINE

UPDATED: How can people in Sweden help Ukraine?

Wondering how you can offer your spare room or summer house to someone in need, or where you can donate money? Here's a few ways people in Sweden can support Ukraine and its people.

UPDATED: How can people in Sweden help Ukraine?
The Swedish and Ukrainian flags on Gustaf Adolfs Torg in Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo Adam Ihse/TT

This article will remain completely free for everyone as a service to Sweden’s international community and to help support the people of Ukraine. But our coverage is only possible with our paying members’ support, so if you haven’t yet, please consider joining us to support our independent journalism. Thank you.

Over the past weeks, it’s been impossible to ignore the ongoing war in Ukraine. Scenes of destruction and human suffering, fears of the conflict escalating and worries for any friends and family in the country have led many to feel powerless and unsure of how best to help.

Though we as individuals may not be able to place sanctions on Russia directly, or provide warehouses full of military supplies to Ukraine, there are many real and direct ways we can support the people of Ukraine and their fight for democracy. Here are a few of them.

Provide housing

Sweden does not yet have an official authority or register for those wishing to offer Ukrainian refugees a place to stay privately, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible.

The Migration Agency told The Local in a press conference that it is working on a solution to make this possible, but recommended that those able to offer housing do so via voluntary organisations instead.

One association you can contact is CareBridge, a group offering buses from the Ukraine/Poland border to Sweden, where refugees are matched with hosts offering accommodation.

Their website includes a form where those interested in offering housing can sign up.

CareBridge told The Local via email that it places high important on safety and security for both host families and those arriving in Sweden. “At the moment we personally vet all the host families and check IDs at pick up. In a few weeks, we will have an app that will do the ID check through BankID. We also have a host team who checks in with refugees after they are settled to make sure they have what they need”.

“We collaborate with Refugees Welcome and other organisations,” CareBridge said. “We have a contact person on the Ukrainian side of the border who can find people who want to go to Sweden and match them with hosts even before they cross the border to Poland. On the bus we have a Ukrainian speaking host who can answer questions.”

Another possible way to offer housing or lodging for Ukrainian refugees is by contacting Refugees Welcome directly – they have a Sweden-wide branch, but also local branches in Malmö, Stockholm and Lidköping, as well as a housing branch collecting donations towards rent payments for refugees.

Another method of offering housing is via this Facebook group, matching those seeking accommodation with those who can provide it. Christel Prinsén, the woman behind this Facebook group, is also currently working on building a website to make this process easier and safer, with identity verification to protect those applying for housing and those offering it.

Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with The Local at [email protected] or under this post if you know of any other ways in which private individuals can offer housing to Ukrainians looking for shelter.

Donate to humanitarian organisations:

There are a number of humanitarian organisations on the ground in Ukraine helping in different ways. Here are some which you can donate to.

UNICEF

UNICEF is working to help children in Ukraine in a number of ways, including meeting needs for safe water, healthcare and protection, providing medical and education supplies, supporting psychosocial care to children in need and continuing efforts to address Covid-19 in Ukraine.

You can donate via their website or by sending money via Swish to 902 00 17. If you use Swish, write “Ukraina” as your message.

The Red Cross

The Red Cross are experienced working in Ukraine – they have been in the country for the last eight years. Their work in the country includes providing clean water, food and toiletries to families, first aid, psychological support, giving money to those in need, supplying hospitals with medical supplies and repairing vital infrastructure.

You can donate here or via Swish to 900 80 79.

UNHCR

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has been in Ukraine since 1994. UNHCR works to provide shelter for refugees, give emergency care, repair homes which have been destroyed, provide winter clothing and repair schools so that children can continue their education.

You can donate to UNHCR here or via Swish to 900 1645.

RFSL

RFSL, a Swedish organisation working for LGBT+ rights, is collecting donations to support Ukrainian LGBT+ organisations as well as assist in evacuating LGBT+ Ukrainians.

You can donate to RFSL via their website, or via Swish to 123 900 40 86.

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres or Läkare Utan Gränser, are also active in Ukraine, providing healthcare within the country and in neighbouring border countries.

You can donate to Doctors Without Borders via their website or via Swish to 900 60 32. Note that this money will go to Doctors without Borders’ work in all countries and is not a specific campaign for Ukraine.

Donate to support Ukrainian media:

In the wake of Russia’s invasion, accurate information is more important than ever. But journalists working in the country are facing unprecedented challenges. 

As a result, media partners across Europe are joining forces to give Ukrainian outlets all the financial, operational and technical support they need at a very difficult time. 

And as the robust response to Vladimir Putin’s aggression from the EU and elsewhere has shown, coordinated challenges to Russia’s attack are entirely necessary to ensure that Ukraine can continue to operate as a modern, functioning democracy. 

If you would like to donate you can find all the information here, or in our article on this campaign.

Support the Ukrainian military directly:

To support the Ukrainian military directly, you can donate to Army SOS, which buys the supplies the army needs (including things like radio sets, uniforms, supplies and ammunition) and promises to deliver them straight to the front lines. You can also donate to the army via a special fund set up by the National Bank of Ukraine and to Come Back Alive, a foundation set up to support the Ukrainian military with by purchasing essential equipment like body armour and helmets.

Donate clothing:

Swedish outdoor clothing store Naturkompaniet are collecting clothes – coats, trousers, waterproofs, gloves, hats, socks, shoes – and sleeping bags to send to Ukraine. Donate in their stores from 25 Feb to 6 March. They will also be donating clothing and equipment, and covering all shipping costs.

Note that at the time of publication, the following stores were no longer accepting donations after receiving “an incredible amount” of donations: Skövde, Täby C, Sickla, Skövde, Kungsgatan 4 and Odengatan.

Join a solidarity protest

It may feel indirect compared to donating money or handing over physical aid at a collection point, but getting out on the streets in a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine is a vital part of the picture.

Not only is it crucial at this juncture to show Ukraine the world is with them, but protesting is also a good way of channeling pent up frustration, anger or sadness into something productive and connecting with other people who are feeling the same way.

Push for an appropriate response

This one may take some reading up on, but if you’re passionate about, for example, toughening sanctions on Russia or ensuring a more robust response to the crisis from politicians, companies or sports teams you follow, it doesn’t hurt to put pressure on them. 

You can do this by tweeting them or writing to them directly to express your opinion. Of course, it’s best to do this politely and by stating a few key grounds for your opinions and asking them to take the action you propose, rather than having a rant (though that can feel very cathartic).

If you think an issue is being overlooked or needs a greater response from the public and politicians, you can also set up online petitions on sites like Avaaz.org and Change.org.

Do you know another way people in Sweden can help Ukraine which is not on our list? Tell us so we can update it – either comment this article or email us at [email protected]
 

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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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