Update: It’s been one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. We’ve created an up-to-date good news article: Good News in Ukraine - 2023
If you’ve spent any time consuming news or existing on the internet in the last few days, you know that you don’t have to scroll very far before feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or heartbroken about the conflict in Ukraine.
At Good Good Good, our team works to research, vet, and share authentic good news and action steps that can help our community feel empowered and hopeful to make meaningful change in the world.
We know that tapping into empathy instead of tapping out of current events energizes us and uplifts the people doing good around the globe. We aim to highlight hope — not to move past the heartbreak, but to get involved in the helping and healing process.
Although there is no lack of scary, heartbreaking news from Eastern Europe — like ongoing racism as Ukrainians attempt flee the country, disturbing racial implications of refugee protocols in Europe, and truly agonizing stories about Ukrainian civilians fighting to defend their country — we are hopeful as we share the stories of folks showing up for Ukrainians.
We find that when we “look for the helpers,” there is always someone with a creative solution, showing us what the best of humans can look like. There is always someone using their unique skills, talents, and passions to make revolutionary change, to care for others, and to generously show up in a time of crisis.
Read on about some amazing helpers who can help us turn our heartbreak into fuel as we support Ukraine.
And if these stories of helpers leave you feeling inspired to make a difference, we've already shared action steps anyone can take to support people in Ukraine.
Here are 7 positive stories coming out of what’s happening in Ukraine:
1. Russian citizens are protesting the actions of their government
As conflict rages on between the Russian government and the people of Ukraine, many Russian citizens are making it clear that they do not support Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Protests against the invasion began in Russia on Thursday, February 24 and have continued since, according to TIME. Demonstrators are marching between city centers throughout Russia, chanting “no to war!” despite the threat of arrest.
Since protests began, over 2,000 people have been arrested, and over 5,500 have been detained by Russian police, according to Reuters.
2. Neighboring countries are welcoming Ukrainian refugees
According to the UNHCR, an estimated 660,000 refugees have already fled Ukraine, and warned it could create "Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century."
Almost immediately, neighboring countries like Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia committed to welcoming refugees from Ukraine, setting up stations at the border to process refugees and provide care for anyone injured. People started posting online that they had spare rooms to offer.
Germany even said it “will take in all Ukrainians fleeing” from the Russian invasion of their country.
While we wish these countries had been as welcoming to refugees in the midst of recent crises like Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine, Ethiopia, and other recent humanitarian crises throughout the world — we're glad these countries are committing to providing a safe place of refuge for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
And we hope that by doing this good, each of these countries will be inspired to continue providing a safe place for all refugees — regardless of what they look like or where they come from.
If you live in the U.S., your state may be preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees as well. Unfortunately, funding for refugee programs was cut drastically, so there’s a good chance they need more help than usual.
The U.S. also has a historically low refugee cap right now. Contact your elected officials, express your care and concern for what’s happening in Ukraine right now, thank them for the swift action in imposing sanctions on Russia — and ask them to take further swift, helpful action by increasing the number of refugees the U.S. accepts.
3. Organizations are responding to support Ukrainians
While a number of Ukrainian organizations are working around the clock on the front lines to support civilians with protective gear, humanitarian aid, and even safety for their pets, other global organizations are responding to this crisis.
We know we can’t highlight every single organization showing up for Ukrainians (it’s a good problem to have — so many amazing first responders are doing their part!), but here are a few providing on-the-ground support as the conflict unfolds:
World Central Kitchen
When disaster is happening in the world, Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen are not far behind or far away. One day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Chef Andrés shared a video to Twitter and said, “Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack. We must come together as a force for good!”
World Central Kitchen had arrived on the border between Poland and Ukraine, and were already serving meals to refugees and civilians in need. The first night alone they served “1,700 hot meals of chicken, rice & veggies” to the thousands of people crossing the border. And ever since, they’ve been partnering with local food trucks and restaurants to provide meals to people fleeing the violence in Ukraine.
Chef José and World Central Kitchen have been sharing updates on social media. They’re planning to expand their locations to Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania. You can support their efforts with a donation.
In addition, Flags For Good is selling Ukrainian flags for folks to show their support worldwide. 25 percent of profits from each flag sold will go to support World Central Kitchen. And Sharon McMahon's community of 'Governerds' has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through Instagram.
Global Empowerment Mission
Global Empowerment Mission is a Miami-based organization founded in 2011 as a first-responder to global crises. Right now, their team is on the ground in Medyka, Poland, using donations to buy refugees plane and train tickets to help them reach loved ones in Europe. Their project works in three different phases to help those affected by crises: Disaster Relief, Gap Period, and Sustainability. This gives us hope that their work will continue for Ukrainians as they rebuild in the coming months, as well.
Global Empowerment Mission posts live updates on their website and social media feeds, so you can stay up to date with how donations are being used through direct action. Support them with a donation online.
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been working around the clock to assist Ukrainians in need. According to a statement on their website, the ICRC has delivered 3,000 liters of potable water to the Dokuchaevsk hospital and 7,000 liters to the Donetsk municipality.
They have also been visiting detention centers with personal hygiene and nutrition items. Barring safety and security, their team also plans to repair vital infrastructure in Ukraine, support health facilities with equipment, and support families with food and hygiene items.
Supporters can make a donation to help provide clean water and living necessities to those at the center of the conflict.
UNICEF has mobilized emergency support for families fleeing Ukraine. The organization provides humanitarian relief areas inside the hardest hit areas of Ukraine, and is working to set up 26 “Blue Dot” safe spaces in bordering countries, each able to provide relief for 3,000 - 5,000 people per day.
These safe spaces provide information to fleeing families, psychosocial support, referrals to social workers and health services, and reunification efforts for children who have become separated from their families. Donate to support their efforts.
4. Huge numbers of people are joining protests around the world
Not only are Russian citizens risking their safety and freedom to protest the conflict in Ukraine, but people from all around the world are showing up in protest and to support Ukrainians from afar.
The weekend after the Russian military invaded Ukraine, thousands took to the streets in neighboring European countries, as well as Japan, Iran, Australia, and the United States.
Reports show that the largest rally happened in Germany, as over 100,000 people gathered in Berlin to protest the invasion. Other areas around the world showed up in enormous numbers, as well. 30,000 rallied in Tbilisi, Georgia, which was the victim of a Russian invasion in 2008. Over 15,000 protesters lined the streets in Amsterdam. Thousands gathered in various city centers across the United Kingdom.
Protesters are calling for an end to the invasion with a message of peace. Look for opportunities to join peaceful protests in your community.
5. Athletes, celebrities, and cultural leaders are using their platforms for good
In addition to Russian civilian protests, Russian athletes have also publicly denounced their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova tweeted a statement that said, “I have represented Russia my whole life. This is my home and my country. But now I am in complete fear, as are my friends and family. But I am not afraid to clearly state my position. I am against war and violence.”
Moments after advancing to the finals at the Dubai Championships, another Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev took a marker and wrote on the lens of a television camera, “No war please.” Rublev went on to win the championship match, and wrote in a post on Instagram, “Now It’s not about tennis, It’s not about sport, It’s about having peace all over the world, We need to support each other.”
In a Portuguese professional league soccer game, fans waved Ukrainian flags and gave a standing ovation to Benfica’s Ukrainian forward Roman Yaremchuk after he subbed in and his teammate gave him the captain’s armband — he was visibly, and understandably emotional at the support from fans.
A similar moment happened for two Ukrainian soccer players before a Premier League game between Manchester City and Everton, and their teammates wore Ukrainian flags in support prior to kickoff.
Famous Russian rapper Oxxxymiron canceled six of his upcoming shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg "indefinitely" after Russia's attack on Ukraine. In an announcement video on Instagram, he said he was “specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine,” calling it a “disaster and a crime.” He added, “I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine.”
Green Day, AJR, Louis Tomlinson, and Yungblud have also canceled their shows in Russia.
And celebrities in the U.S. are using their platforms to fundraise and donate to refugees, as well. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds committed to matching up to $1 million in donations to the UN Refugee Agency. Bethenny Frankl’s B Strong disaster relief initiative committed to sending $10 million to the people of Ukraine, especially women and children, impacted by the invasion — and has already increased their goal to $20 million in aid.
6. Governments and large companies are taking action against Russia
While organizations and individuals show their support for Ukrainians, the geopolitical landscape is full of global leaders severing ties to Russia and taking action against Putin.
Switzerland — a country with a reputation for neutrality — has decided to freeze Russian assets. According to the New York Times, Swiss national bank data showed that in 2020, Russian companies and individuals held assets worth over $11 million in Swiss banks. Switzerland President Ignazio Cassis announced that the country would immediately freeze the assets of Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in addition to 367 individuals sanctioned by the European Union.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a $113 billion increase in defense spending, which is a major reversal of German policy preferring deterrence over conflict. While we don’t want to see increased violence across Europe, this is a pivotal move from Germany in response to the Russian invasion.
Other nations have followed suit to freeze assets, and impose sanctions to penalize Russia.
In addition to global political response, major corporations have also stepped up to provide relief and send a message to Russian forces.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sent Starlink satellite internet terminals to Ukraine, and — in more good news for refugees — Airbnb has vowed to support 100,000 Ukrainian refugees with access to temporary housing.
Etsy also dropped all fees for Ukrainian — and people are stepping up to buy digital products from Ukrainian Etsy sellers.
7. Countries are decoupling from fossil fuels to reduce reliance on Russian oil, and even fossil fuel companies are divesting from the region
Globally, we need to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels — and we can see first-hand how that’s especially true when it comes to getting them from Russia. 60% of Russia’s exports are oil and gas.
And countries in Europe and around the world know it, so they’re cutting off and divesting from fossil fuel projects in Russia.
Even before the military invasion, in response to Russia’s buildup of troops around Ukraine, Germany stopped the approval of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that would bring natural gas from Russia to Europe.
Later, in a moment of good environmental news, they announced they accelerated their clean energy transition plans so the country would reach 100% renewable energy by 2035 — 15 years ahead of schedule.
This isn’t a case for investing in fossil fuels elsewhere, though — it’s a case for gaining energy independence through renewable energy. It’s truly the only way forward — for a habitable planet, and to end all wars fought over oil and gas.
As ocean scientist Miriam Goldstein said in a tweet, “Clean energy is less expensive and less susceptible to manipulation by autocratic foreign leaders than fossil fuels. Transitioning to clean energy can protect consumers from the wild market fluctuations caused by global conflicts and save people money.”
And while we’re hesitant to celebrate oil and gas companies doing good for the planet — both because their overall efforts to transition to renewable energy pale in comparison to their investment in fossil fuels, and because of decades of hiding the truth about the damage they were doing to the planet — it is genuinely good news to see both BP and Shell make significant exits from investments and ventures in Russia.
We hope these stories of good action being taken on a global scale encourage you as you take action, too. Because there’s still more good to be done.
We need to increase our refugee cap in the U.S. We need equitable treatment of people seeking refuge at border countries. Humanitarian aid organizations need financial support to meet immediate needs locally. Hardworking independent journalists need safety and resources to report on the ground.
We have the privilege of watching this conflict unfold from a distance, so we also have the responsibility to do our part to help those at the center of the crisis.
You might also like: Meet the organizations rebuilding housing in Ukraine