With so much Ukraine content all over the news and social media, I wanted to help people find reliable news based on the most common searches according to Google trends. Why should you trust me?
You shouldn’t. I hope you verify everything you see here or on any other news source. Always. But as a Ukrainian, I’ve kept up with this war since it started in 2014. I was there in March 2014 interviewing those involved with the Maidan Revolution and ousting of Yanukovych. I also have a BA in International Relations and my thesis was on the Political Images from the 2014 Ukrainian Crisis.
While I am not there now, my parents are, and I hope that spreading information about the situation helps keep them safe. Since so many people have asked me, here is a list of reputable places to donate.
1. Vacuum Bomb Ukraine aka Thermobaric Bomb Ukraine
Thermobaric bombs also known as vacuum bombs are a type of explosive that uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion. They are highly effective and dangerous which is why they are prohibited by the Geneva convention.
“On Monday, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova accused Moscow of using such bombs during a plea to Congress for more help in defending against the Russian invasion.”New York Post
“Amnesty International accused Russia of using vacuum bombs, or thermobaric weapons, to attack a preschool in northeastern Ukraine while civilians took shelter inside. CNN reported that one of its teams had spotted a Russian thermobaric multiple rocket launcher near the Ukrainian border early on Saturday afternoon.”USA Today
“The International Criminal Court has started investigating Russia over potential war crimes the country may have committed during its invasion of Ukraine, after a Ukrainian official claimed that Russia used an illegal weapon during the war, officials said.”Fox News
2. Snake Island Ukraine
Snake Island is also known as Serpent Island or Zmiinyi Island (О́стрів Змії́ний) in Ukraininan. It is located south of Odesa, west of the illegally annexed Crimea.
This island became famous overnight as the Ukrainian defenders of Snake Island allegedly had a profane response to the Russian warship that told them to surrender. Their response is now Ukraine’s ‘Remember the Alamo!’
“According to a purported audio exchange, one of the Ukrainian troops had responded to a warning from an approaching Russian vessel to lay down their weapons or face bombing by saying, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.””CNN
The 13 soldiers were presumed dead but it was recently confirmed that are actually “alive and well,” according to the Ukrainian Navy.
3. 2014 Crimea Annexation
Since I mentioned Crimea though, here is a great video by NowThis World:
Speaking of those Russians in occupied Crimea:
“IT’S A PUTINY! Russian marines ‘MUTINY on warship and refuse to fight in Ukraine’ fuelling hopes of anti-Putin unrest, reports claim.
“Reports that marines from Crimea refused to attack Odesa.”
The mutinous Russians were marines from the 810th Brigade, according to Russian opposition politician Ilya Ponomarev.
He was the only member of Russia’s Duma to vote against the 2014 annexation of Crimea.”The Sun
Many may remember that Putin’s popularity soared after Russia invaded Crimea. This time, it’s different.
“Hess likened the war between Russia and Ukraine as “a fratricidal war” in a number of ways and particularly given the close historical ties between the neighbors, which has lent an ambivalence to Russian attitudes toward the invasion. Indeed, there have been protests in Russia against the armed incursion.CNBC
4. Some Russian Soldiers Thought They Were in Crimea
Some of the Russian soldiers claim to have been told that they are doing military drills in Crimea but were instead taken to fight in other non-annexed regions of Ukraine. A text exchange between a soldier and his mother were read at the UN:
Here is another video where the Russian soldiers say they don’t know where they are:
“For that reason, we have been forced to appeal to you, citizens of Russia, so that you can find those who were killed on our territory — and killed because he illegally crossed our border based on an illegal and despicable order by your president,” Denysenko said in the video appeal, which the Ukrainian Interior Ministry posted on its official YouTube channel.RFE/RL
5. Ukrainian Reaper
“AS FIGHTING has broken out in Eastern Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, news sources in other parts of the world have struggled to keep up with all of the details.
Recently, rumors of a “Ukrainian Reaper,” a sniper who kills Russian troops with intense accuracy and frequency, have been popping up across social media.The Sun UK
The Ukrainian Reaper has been identified online as Ukrainian solider Volodymyr Vist.”
6. Reaper Drones
“Amid increasing concern over Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Poland has decided to buy an undisclosed number of MQ-9 Reaper drones from the United States under a special, accelerated procedure. With the planned procurement, the Polish Armed Forces would become the first military on NATO’s eastern flank to purchase the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV.”Defense News
7. Ghost of Kyiv
The Ghost of Kyiv is a potentially mythical pilot credited with shooting down six Russian fighter planes. Some say he is an urban legend. Others believe him to be real. In my opinion, the most important thing is that the Ghost of Kyiv brings hope.
“Social media has been ablaze with outlandish claims of a pilot known as the “Ghost of Kyiv” who is reportedly traversing the skies and taking down Russian jets – but does the Ukrainian flyer really exist?
A number of videos posted to Twitter showed a jet soaring through the sky, amid speculation the pilot downed six Russian planes on the first day of Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine.”The Independent
8. Russian Casualties Ukraine
This is a tough one because Russia just started reporting death tolls and they are low. On the other hand, Ukraine reports almost 6,000. You can follow The Kyiv Independent @KyivIndependent on Twitter for updates of Russian casualties. This is a great news source although it is clearly on an optimistic and hopeful side, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Their latest at time of posting is:
Apparently, Russians have been desperately Googling to find out if their family is alive or dead. I don’t have a source for this.
Ukrainians are letting prisoners of war call home though:
“Several demoralized Russian troops captured in Ukraine were allowed to call home over the weekend to tell their families they were safe and profess confusion about why they were sent to war.”Military.com
Here is some information for Russians in Russian looking for their loved ones. Most Ukrainians know how to speak Russian and have been communicating with Russians directly:
9. Ukraine Death Toll
This is another tough one because there are different reports. Since Russia is constantly on the offensive, the numbers also grow constantly.
“More than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have so far been killed during Russia’s ongoing invasion, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said Wednesday. CNN has not been able to independently verify this figure.”CNN
10. Ukraine Maksim Chmerkovskiy
I couldn’t figure out why he was supposedly arrested or if the arrest was confirmed. Men between 18 and 60 were banned from leaving the country, so perhaps he was held because of this. He is out of the country now.
“The “Dancing With the Stars” alum posted a video to Instagram early Monday in which he told his followers that he was arrested in his home country amid Russia’s invasion and is figuring out how to get out.”Page Six
“The former “Dancing With the Stars” pro informed fans on his Instagram Story Monday that he “made it on the train” out of Ukraine and arrived in Poland amid the Russians’ invasion of Kyiv.”Page Six
11. Where to Follow Ukraine News?
It has been hard for anyone to know where to look and there is a lot of misinformation floating around. War at times of social media is chaotic and fact-checking is crucial. I really like CNN’s coverage that keeps updating.
I also really follow The Kyiv Independent @KyivIndependent on Twitter. They are generally more positive yet they report what seems to be the truth. It is hard to verify everything, but that can be said for other sources as well.
I’ll be keeping an eye on Ukraine and I may post some updates here. I hope that this has been helpful and that you and your family, whether you are in or from Ukraine and Russia, or anywhere else in the world, are safe.
“Slava Ukraini!” (СЛАВА УКРАЇНІ means Glory to Ukraine! The response is Glory to the Heroes or Героям слава!, romanized: Heroiam slava!)
I’d like to end this with a video of a lady giving a Russian soldier sunflower seeds so that when he dies, sunflowers will grow. Sunflowers are the national flower and the symbol of Ukrainian resistance.