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R2P Director on NPR: Helping Refugees When You've Become One Yourself

Mar 16, 2022

Blog Post

Alexander (Sasha) Galkin, director of Right to Protection (R2P), discusses how R2P is responding to the crisis in Ukraine. HIAS helped establish R2P as an independent Ukrainian NGO in 2013, and the two organizations continue to work in close partnership.

This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared on NPR.org.

Nearly 3 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded late last month, and the situation is growing increasingly dire for those who remain in the country.

Many international organizations are turning their focus and support towards the exodus of refugees. But what can the humanitarian aid groups that are based in Ukraine do to help at this time?

Morning Edition's A Martínez posed that question to Sasha Galkin. He's the director of Right to Protection, a Ukrainian refugee assistance organization that was forced to abandon its offices in Kyiv in recent days and has many staff members who are now refugees themselves.

"We've been working, I don't know, 16 hours, 18 hours now a day to restructure what we are doing," he says. "And actually, plus, of course, we are stressed out and having some people still stuck somewhere in the places that are quite unsafe."

Galkin says the organization has worked to help refugees from abroad since 2003 and displaced populations inside of the country since 2014, and calls its current position "an irony of fate."

He said the majority of staff members — about 100 people — have been able to relocate to safer areas. It took some people a week to relocate from eastern regions like Luhansk, while others are still trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Read the full article at NPR.org.