Ukraine, a long-standing ally of Canada, is under attack from Russian forces in one of the biggest assaults by one European country against another since the Second World War. If you’d like to show support for those affected in Ukraine, below are some of the ways you can help. And if you want to learn more about the conflict, check out our continuing explainer.
Support a verified fundraising campaign for Ukraine
If you see a crowdfunding campaign promising help to Ukraine, check it out carefully to see whether it’s legitimate. Look for an association with a registered charity that will have the means to distribute funds, as well as verification in place. Here are some resources Canadian and Ukrainian organizations are sharing:
- Canadian Red Cross: the local wing of an international emergency-relief organization. The federal government says it will match individual donations by Canadians.
- Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders): a humanitarian group that’s been supporting Ukraine’s COVID-19 response.
- Canada-Ukraine Foundation: a Toronto-based group that co-ordinates Canadian charitable aid to Ukraine.
- Save the Children: an international NGO delivering emergency aid to Ukrainian families.
- Voices of Children: offers psychological support to children affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
- Come Back Alive Foundation: a Ukrainian NGO that supports veterans and co-organizes the Invictus Games in Ukraine.
- Phoenix Wings: a charitable foundation that supplies the Ukrainian army with medical treatment and defensive equipment such as vests and helmets.
- Revived Soldiers Ukraine: a non-profit that funds medical rehabilitation for Ukrainian soldiers.
- Razom for Ukraine: a pro-democracy group that’s fundraising for medical supplies in Ukraine.
- Kyiv Independent: a Ukraine-based, English-language independent news media outlet.
Learn about online disinformation, and how not to spread it
Being skeptical of the things you see on social media is always a good practice, but especially when bad actors and their bot accounts spread disinformation on purpose, as Russia did during the past two U.S. presidential elections, and will no doubt continue alongside this invasion. Fake accounts might try to impersonate credible news sources or trick search engines into promoting bogus websites over real ones. For the clearest picture of what’s happening in Ukraine, The Globe and Mail has compiled a list of journalists to follow. In 2017, The Globe prepared a tutorial and quiz to help people learn how not to be fooled. It’s free to try.
Protect your computer or mobile device against ransomware
Russia’s intelligence agencies have made a fine art of cyberwarfare over the years, and the computer systems of rival governments aren’t their only targets: Regular people and businesses can be victims too. One threat to avoid is ransomware, in which a hacker gains illicit access to a device or network, blocks access to files and threatens to keep them sealed unless a ransom is paid. What does this have to do with the conflict and helping people? Well, if a Russia-based outfit hacks one of your devices, paying them may make the forces attacking Ukraine a little richer. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security offers pointers on how to avoid this, such as:
- Keep your operating system and software up-to-date.
- Be careful with any suspicious e-mails or texts, especially if they ask you in an urgent tone to open a link or file attachment. These can be examples of phishing, a scam designed to make you download malicious software.
- Make sure you have important files backed up offline, such as on an external hard drive or USB key.
- Make sure you’re aware of the cybersecurity and privacy policies at your workplace, and follow their instructions about what to do in the event of a breach.