Ukraine and the Humanitarian Crisis: A Year Engulfed in War
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Ukraine and the Humanitarian Crisis: A Year Engulfed in War
21st February 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
A year has passed since Russia launched a full-scale war in Ukraine. Ever since, tens of thousands of people have been killed, and millions fled their homes – leading to the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. As early as March 2022, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova said that Ukrainian prosecutors had collected evidence which suggested that Russian troops had committed around 2,500 war crimes, and identified several hundreds of people suspected to be guilty of these crimes. The situation has worsened in the months following, and Russia has continued its vicious attacks across Ukraine.
What is the actual situation on the ground? Have other countries across the globe done enough to protect civilians who fled Ukraine? What other policies have been or should be instituted to protect civilians who stayed in Ukraine? These are only some of the questions that we plan to address during our panel.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to gather the panel of leading experts to discuss these pressing issues.
Ron Haviv is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, award-winning photojournalist, and co-founder of the photo agency VII, dedicated to documenting conflict and raising human rights issues around the globe. He is also the co-founder of the non-profit VII Foundation, which concentrates on documentary projects and provides free visual journalism education. His first photography book, Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal, was called “One of the best non-fiction books of the year,” by The Los Angeles Times and “A chilling but vastly important record of a people’s suffering,” by Newsweek. His other monographs are Afghanistan: The Road to Kabul, Haiti: 12 January 2010, and The Lost Rolls. Haviv has produced an unflinching record of the injustices of war covering over twenty-five conflicts and his photography has had singular impact. His work in the Balkans, which spanned over a decade of conflict, was used as evidence to indict and convict war criminals at the international tribunal in The Hague. President George H.W Bush cited Haviv’s chilling photographs documenting paramilitary violence in Panama as one of the reasons for the 1989 American intervention. His work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, United Nations, Council on Foreign Relations, Fotografiska, and the International Center of Photography. Haviv is the central character in six documentary films, including National Geographic Explorer’s Freelance in a World of Risk, in which he speaks about the dangers of combat photography, including his numerous detentions and close calls. He has provided expert analysis and commentary on ABC World News, BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, Washington Post, Good Morning America, and The Charlie Rose Show. He is currently co-directing two documentaries, Biography of a Photo and Picasso of Harlem.
Professor Alessandro Politi is a global political and strategic analyst with 30 years of experience. Director since 10 years of the NATO Defense College Foundation, the only NATO-affiliated NGO strategic affairs centre. He teaches geopolitics and intelligence at the SIOI. He was senior researcher for the Italian MoD on Latin America, leading also the Global Outlook project. He has worked with four Defence Ministers, while consulting for other three major decision makers and several governmental bodies. He has published in various roles 50 books on strategic and security matters. Latest books: Shaping Security Horizons – Strategic Trends (2012-2019), Goodbye Merkel (2021).
Sir Malcolm Rifkind is a British politician who served in various roles as a Cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland (1986–1990), Defence Secretary (1992–1995), and Foreign Secretary (1995–1997).
Rifkind was the MP for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 to 1997. In 1997, his party lost power and he lost his seat to the Labour Party. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to be re-elected in Pentlands in 2001; the constituency was abolished before the 2005 general election and he was adopted, and subsequently elected, as the Conservative candidate for Kensington and Chelsea. He announced his intention to seek the leadership of the party before the 2005 Conservative Party leadership election, but withdrew before polling commenced.
Rifkind stood for the Kensington seat and was elected at the 2010 general election with a majority of 8,616 votes. He was appointed Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 6 July 2010. In January 2015 he was appointed by the OSCE as a member of their Eminent Persons Panel on European Security. In December 2015, Rifkind was appointed a Visiting Professor by King’s College, London in their Department of War Studies. He was also invited to become a Distinguished Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In July 2016, his memoirs, Power and Pragmatism, were published. In 2017, Rifkind was invited by the UK Government to become the British Co-Chairman of the Belvedere Polish–British Forum.
Vitalii Vlasiuk is a certified lawyer and a PhD candidate in legal sciences. From April 2020 to February 2022, Mr Vlasiuk woked as an Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal. From 2019 to 2022, he also acted as a Chairman of the Committee on International Law at National Association of Lawyers of Ukraine. Since February 24, 2022 Mr Vlasiuk has been a Vice Governor of Kyiv region. He is responsible for youth and sports, health care and international cooperation projects in the region.
Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.
Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.
The Henry Jackson Society was honoured to host an event on the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent humanitarian crisis a year into the Russian invasion. Dr. Helena Ivanov opened the discussion by recounting the broad outline of the war, including estimates of Russian and Ukrainian casualties, war crimes committed by the invading forces, and the millions of refugees the invasion has produced. Dr. Ivanov then opened the discussion to her fellow panellists. Ron Haviv described his experiences living through the invasion as a photojournalist, recounting the rapid transition from half expecting an invasion to occur, to seeing the entire country being effectively mobilized to defend itself against it during the early days of the war. Professor Alessandro Politi discussed the broader international implications of the war, arguing that while the reasoning behind the invasion was fundamentally irrational and driven by internal political considerations, that it nevertheless constituted a grave continental crisis that demanded both military and humanitarian assistance. Sir Malcolm Rifkind agreed, stating that a major international humanitarian effort was necessary to bring material and mine clearing equipment to Ukraine to avert preventable deaths. Vitalii Vlasiuk closed the panel with a harrowing account of Russian crimes committed in the last year. 65,000 offenses have been recorded with 256 individuals being suspected of war crimes and 92 indicted.
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