Since Russian forces began their offensive in Ukraine, there had been condemnation voiced from all corners of the globe. Many Western companies have shut down, or curtailed operations in Russia, and banking systems have shut down cash flows and frozen accounts.  Sanctions equal empty supermarket shelves and fewer comforts for Russian civilians while oligarchs lose access to their luxuries. Same storm; different boats.

What about the Ukrainian people, under pressure from Russian artillery, missiles, and mortar fire? Sanctions against Ukrainians come in the form of enemy soldiers in the streets, sheltering from indiscriminately lobbed munitions and cowering in fear at the sound of a jet overhead, not knowing if it’s theirs or the enemies’. Their lives are much more upended than any caught up in Russian sanctions.

A Helping Hand

Starlink Internet

In support of the Ukrainian people and their current struggle, many international companies have pledged their support in various ways. One of the more visible “helping hands” right now is Elon Musk’s Starlink systems. A division of SpaceX, Starlink consists of a constellation of satellites that allow for high-speed internet connection via receiver sets located on the ground. The receivers are self-contained and are not constrained by established internet cabling or cellular networks.

A batch of 60 Starlink test satellites stacked atop a Falcon 9 rocket, close to being put in orbit. (Official SpaceX photo)

The basic Starlink setup consists of an antenna, modem, cabling, and power supply. Kits cost around $500, and regular users pay $99 per month. Starlink terminals and services were made available for free to Ukraine, ostensibly in response to Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov’s Twitter request.

Lifesaving Medicines

Novo Nordisk, a multi-national pharmaceutical company, pledged its support with two months worth of diabetes and hemophilia medication for the Ukrainian people. Anyone who has paid attention to insulin over the last decade knows that a two-month supply is life-saving and very expensive. Stockpiles of the medicines are already in Ukraine, so they will not be hampered by uncertain supply channels.