“We save lives”: Kyiv School of Economics and its humanitarian appeal for rockets and drones

Several months have passed since headlines about variants of concern gave way to those about Russian aggression, making it highly likely that you will have been approached with a request to support Ukraine in some way. There is no doubt that the consequences of military and paramilitary action in Ukraine are profoundly negative for many. In situations such as these, a relief effort is to be expected, though how it manifests itself is less predictable. The European Union and NATO continue a rolling barrage of extremely subjective condemnation of decisions taken by Vladimir Putin. This is done in such a way as to suggest that they have been unable to access the many broadcasts containing his highly articulate rationale underpinning the decision-making process. The UK Government, with considerable assistance from its sponsored media, has once again convinced the public it should serve that up is down and down is up. We have learned that there is such a thing as a good Nazi, and that the merits of going to war with Russia, in all but name, are not to be discussed or debated. 

After we have watched the NHS engulf almost all the public money in existence, it should be surprising to see the British public support another gargantuan spend with no end in sight—let alone on a country with only tenuous links to the UK and (as with most countries east of France) one that is most certainly terra incognita to them. Just as the National Health Service appears to deteriorate as its funding increases, egging Ukraine on will only prolong, compound and spread the agony. Does a sum of money exist that would see Ukraine prevail, whatever that is supposed to mean? This torrent of money, though, is not only being sluiced through at governmental level. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) calculates that the appeal it has coordinated has amassed over £350 million for Ukraine (apparently breaking at least one Guinness world record along the way). Where does this go, and who controls it?



In March of this year, I was approached by a Ukrainian friend who was asking for my assistance. On behalf of the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) Charitable Foundation, she was attempting to source what was described as “tactical gear”. I was told that the KSE Charitable Foundation had received a request from the Ukraine Territorial Defence Forces, who were to distribute this kit in order to save lives. The reason for getting in touch with me was to tap into any contacts I may have in the defence industry, due to my previous service in the British Army. My discovery that a charitable organisation was intent on procuring military-grade equipment from the initial manufacturers, in order to hand it to a military unit, rang a number of alarm bells. Supplied with the request was a link to the KSE website, so that I could see for myself what the appeal was all about.

The Charitable Foundation of the Kyiv School of Economics was established in 2007 and its website is hosting an appeal for humanitarian aid to Ukraine; or so it says. In fact, the front page of its website tells the reader that “We save lives”. The third and most recent report to the Board of Directors refers to $20.1 million having been raised (this is from early May 2022). Indeed, Forbes has cited the Charitable Foundation’s activities in a piece entitled “How to Donate to Ukraine Relief Efforts”.

The truth of the matter, which is not hidden by the Charitable Foundation, is that this money will fund a military campaign and not a humanitarian one. The fundraising website allows the potential funder to donate to “Drones for Ukrainian Defenders", "Ammunition for the military in the Sumy region" and "Vehicles and communication equipment for Rocket forces". In fact, every single item that the appeal is casting about for has an application for the combatant. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which operates in Ukraine, functions according to seven fundamental humanitarian principles. These are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Patently, none of these cardinal principles is met by the so-called humanitarian aid appeal that the KSE Charitable Foundation is conducting.

Moreover, since the Foundation is working on behalf of the Territorial Defence Forces, it at least looks as though this campaign is being mounted at the behest of the Ukrainian state. The ICRC is extremely active in Ukraine and makes much of its commitment to the aforementioned fundamental principles. In fact, Robert Mardini, the Director-General of the ICRC, wrote a blog piece as recently as16 June 2022 highlighting the challenges concurrent with occupying the humanitarian space in the theatre of armed conflict. He writes:

We have all been reminded how the principles, in particular the principle of neutrality, can lead to misunderstanding and even outrage – and why they nonetheless remain such a valuable compass and operational tool in highly polarized situations.

With this being such a hot topic, it seems reasonable to assume that the ICRC—who are the apparent arbiters on, or guardians of, humanitarian principles—would take a great interest in such a misapplication as this. Mardini’s piece concludes with an invitation to get in touch with his editor in order to “contribute to the conversation”. Messages about this matter to the ICRC field office in Ukraine remain unanswered. Mardini’s editor gave an assurance of finding the right person to consider the issue, but nobody has since stepped forward.

This will be a busy time for the ICRC but, as their briefing note on the fundamental principles reminds the reader, they are “mandatory rules of conduct” and “States must respect this necessity”. In this case, it appears that the KSE Charitable Foundation, the Ukraine Territorial Defence Forces and, ultimately, the government of Ukraine are acting in contempt of the principles of humanitarian assistance. 20 million US dollars is but a very small coin at the bottom of the cup of aid being forced down the throat of Ukraine by its puppet masters. However, the abuse of principles, right across the spectrum, is shocking. As Volodomyr Zelensky, and his small collection of small t-shirts, is fếted across the globalist speaking world, it is made perfectly clear just how much corruption people are willing to accept.



The riddle is why. Why is there any need to dress up a military fundraiser in humanitarian garb? In this instance, the KSE Charitable Foundation would have a hard time declaring openly that it had utterly broken with its raison d'être. Then again, with those evil Russians beating down the door, anything goes. After conducting its estimate process, can the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces really have believed that the most effective method for procuring equipment was to go to an agency with a history of providing humanitarian relief? Is this simply a PR exercise for the KSE, which must make some reputational capital from the disaster as it unfolds before them? Is it conceivable that the finer points of the law of war are lost on those running this appeal? Of course not. One thing that is for certain is that nothing is being hidden. It is as though the notion of humanitarian aid really can be reframed, in order that the crucial elements of impartiality and neutrality are stripped away. Once those mental gymnastics are complete, the sky is the limit. 

It may not be possible to strike upon the precise reason, but this entirely brazen deception being played out by the KSE Charitable Foundation seems to enjoy considerable top cover. The Head of Mission for the ICRC in Ukraine is Florence Gillette, and it is she that I wrote to for comment on the dubious activities of the KSE. In February of this year, Gillette was listed as an “Agenda Contributor” by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and she has a statement on the crisis in Ukraine published on the WEF website. Taken at face value, this may seem perfectly normal. However, the WEF is careful to avoid using braces alone when several belts may be employed, too. 

The President of the Kyiv School of Economics is a man named Timofiy Mylovanov. Prior to this appointment, he happened to be the Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture in the Ukrainian Government. During his short time in that post, he attended the Davos Ukrainian Breakfast 2020, hosted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, at the annual meeting of the WEF. The theme for the meeting was “New Reality, New Narrative, New Challenges”. Two years on, it is fair to say that all the targets set then have been hit. The breakfast summary reports some rather half-baked concerns about corruption, from some speakers, and much enthusiastic salesmanship of investment in Ukraine, by President Zelensky himself. More notable is that the Slovak senior diplomat Miroslav Lajčák said at the breakfast that “the international community must show its full support for Ukraine”. Lajčák had, until a couple of weeks earlier, been Chairman-in-Office (actually, "Chairperson") of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). At the 2020 breakfast, Pinchuk himself, a major Ukrainian charitable figure, determined that “there is another thing that is essential, which is building a strong narrative around Ukraine”, conceding only that “it is not all white, but much whiter than the stereotype”. With this high-tensile web of connectivity in place, what are the chances of KSE being held to account?

In light of the millions of dollars that the KSE will most certainly not be saving lives with, how should we consider the record-breaking dollop of cash boasted about by Britain's major charity forum, the DEC? What happens to it as it enters Ukraine? Is there any transparency or tracking, or an audit trial of any sort? How will its success be measured? The BBC does not bother to report the recent and permanent banning of the largest Ukrainian opposition party, Opposition Platform–For Life, so how likely does it seem that anyone will bother to track funds raised for humanitarian aid en route to their intended destination? This is by no means an isolated example. During UK Column News on 15 June 2022, Vanessa Beeley spoke about the confusing and nefarious activities of the Dark Angels (at 27:30), who have purported to be fulfilling a humanitarian aid role. They have also put out footage of the use of a Javelin anti-tank weapon system apparently being fired at Russian vehicles, whilst their own promotional video shows red crosses painted onto their white trucks.

At best, these sorts of campaigns and activities undermine any genuine, sincere and impartial aid activities that are delivered according to the fundamental principles of humanitarian relief. The strength of the mainstream Ukraine narrative and the intense vilification of all things Russian has been almost all-pervasive. These factors even purport to excuse the complete corruption of humanitarian purpose. If the reports that the KSE have published are accurate, it is certain that money raised on a humanitarian ticket will be used in an attempt to kill Russian combatants or, equally likely, to kill Ukrainian civilians. At this point, pressing and important questions should be asked concerning international humanitarian law and the possibility of war crimes. Since the wider Ukraine fan club appears to include every globalist, supranational and supposedly neutral body in the Western world, it is hard to see who would pull the pin on this particular grenade.


The author asked the ICRC for comment on this article; no response was received.