Russia & Ukraine, Explained

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies, Moment guides you through the crisis with exclusive interviews, backgrounders and updates.

Jews in the Ukraine

Opinion | The Jewish Obligation to Ukraine

Part of Jewish history in Ukraine is indeed a surfeit of graves. However, to rephrase the oldest Jewish lesson from history: We know the heart of the refugee, for we were refugees.

Blessed at last with an independent country and coming to terms with a double-edged history, should Israel welcome Ukranian refugees?

Read the this writer’s opinion.

Outside of The Great Choral Synagogue in Kyiv, Ukraine

Some Jewish life surrounds The Great Choral Synagogue in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The Violent History—and Remarkable Transformation—of Jewish Life in Ukraine

When Russia attacked Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin stated that his goal was “denazification.” Historians agree that there is no substance to this claim—and that by invoking Nazism, Putin is attempting to weaponize the trauma of World War II to justify an invasion, and the many lives it has cost.

Today, life for Jews in Ukraine has changed dramatically. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish; in 2019, he won the presidency with 73 percent of the vote. Compared with other countries, Ukraine scores fairly low on measurements of antisemitic incidents and attitudes.

Read the interview with Ira N. Forman, Obama’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, about Jewish life in Ukraine—its fraught history, its remarkable evolution—and how it continues to affect the Russian invasion.

Ukrainains line up for Kyivska Perepichka at Maidan (Independence Square) in Kyiv.

Ukrainains line up for Kyivska Perepichka at Maidan (Independence Square) in Kyiv.

Kyiv Diaries

Helen moved to Ukraine from the United States ten years ago. The move was supposed to be temporary—her husband, a venture capitalist, had invested in Ukrainian start-ups—but the couple ended up staying. “It was quite challenging in the beginning, but over time, the country has grown on me,” Helen tells me over zoom.

“It’s heartbreaking and impossible to comprehend what’s happening in Ukraine now,” she says.

Helen was actually born in Ukraine but moved to the United States in 1988 because of the antisemitism at the time. But being a Jew in Ukraine is different now Helen says. “It’s cool to be Jewish now. My gentile students go around with Magen David necklaces and are trying to learn Hebrew.”

Read regular updates from Helen in her Kyiv Diary about what life is like in Kyiv as the Russians continue their bombardment and try to lay siege to the city.

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky

The Resilience of Ukraine and Its Jews

For Jews across the world, Volodymyr Zelensky is now a source of pride: a young, inexperienced leader who is putting his life at risk for his people by leading a nation of 40 million people in opposing a ruthless Russian aggressor.

Direct from the Front Lines

Young Ukrainian Artists Respond to the Invasion

Earlier this year, as Russia’s forces built up on the border, Crow, Slimp, and other artists with ties to Ukraine were forced to shift their attention to the war. “Before the full-on invasion started, we made a shot depicting our fleeing of Ukraine.  The wartime work of these artists is full of motifs and imagery from Ukrainian culture, including sunflowers, Mavkas (women who frown themselves from heartbreak and become water nymphs), and wartime inspirations such as the soldiers of Snake Island or the “Ghost of Ukraine.”

Read an exclusive interview with Crow Ra, a Ukrainian animator and illustrator….plus view digital art from other young Ukrainian artists using this platform to express their feelings about Russia’s invasion.



Russian Aggression through the eyes of Eastern Europe with Konstanty Gebert and Amy E. Schwartz


Russia, Vladimir Putin and Ukraine: The Struggle Between Authoritarianism and Democracy


Russia & Ukraine Explained with Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder and Robert Siegel

Israel, Zelensky & the American-Jewish community

How (Almost) Everyone Is Supporting Ukraine: Israel’s response to Russia-Ukraine crisis

Israel’s efforts to straddle supporting Ukraine at its time of need, while not opposing Putin in order to maintain Israeli-Russian security cooperation on the Syrian border, stands in stark contrast to the views of the U.S. administration and of the American Jewish community.

An Interview with Radoslaw Sikorski

What Is Putin Thinking?

One longtime diplomat with a ringside seat for observing both the war and the dictator is Radoslaw Sikorski, chair of the European Parliament’s committee on U.S relations and a former defense minister and foreign minister of Poland.

From the Newsletter