UWC’s Unite With Ukraine launches interview project featuring Ukrainian defenders

#UWC news
April 1,2024 223
UWC’s Unite With Ukraine launches interview project featuring Ukrainian defenders

The Unite With Ukraine initiative of the Ukrainian World Congress is launching the Frontline Voices series of interviews with Ukrainian defenders – featuring professional military personnel and civilians who have joined the Ukrainian military. The stories recount their complex transformations, difficult decisions, and visions for Ukraine’s future.

Slava Balbek, a Ukrainian architect and designer who has also become a volunteer and recently turned fighter, is the project’s initial hero. “The war in Ukraine has not only transformed the planet’s geopolitical landscape but also revealed a new dimension in the spirit of its people. It has brought about a profound transformation, affecting every soul with its indiscriminate shadow. Slava Balbek, a renowned name in Ukrainian architecture and design, has answered the call to defend, preserve, and rebuild his country. Now, he is synonymous with valor and resilience. His unit is one of our partners, and he kindly gave us this interview,” states the preface of the interview.

Balbek discussed his transition from civilian to military life, his readiness for service, his involvement in volunteer initiatives, and his efforts to merge these endeavors. He shared his perspective as a professional architect on the reconstruction of Ukraine.

I am skeptical about the general reconstruction strategy because our research shows that people typically will not immediately respond to assistance and will attempt to repair the damage themselves. … However, the main challenge is that while the Ukrainian architectural community has experience, they often need more resources to carry out large-scale projects. … People are already rebuilding on their own without waiting for global solutions. I witnessed this as people began rebuilding their fallen fences and patching roofs as soon as Russian troops left the de-occupied areas,” says Balbek.

The main lesson Balbek learned during the period of full-scale war is the ability to assess one’s own strengths and not react impulsively. The military also conveyed his message to the international community. “Do not perceive this war as a war of Russia against Ukraine but as a war of Russia against the whole world.”

Read the full interview at the link.