war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Assistance worth millions. Volunteer activities of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group in 2022

Yevgeniy Zakharov
During the year, KHPG launched five humanitarian aid programs. We provided targeted support to hundreds of families, hospitals and other institutions, AFU soldiers, volunteers, and prisoners. KHPG's charitable programs will continue in 2023, including a new program that will use a part of the Nobel Peace Prize to help the families of perished civilians.

Collage of photos by Mykola Tsipko, Oksana Komarova, Tamila Bespala, and others

The war forced us to become actively engaged in charity work: it directly affected hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. And so we had to do as much as we could to help them.

As of the end of 2022, KHPG has five charity and humanitarian aid programs. All of them will continue in 2023. The assistance is provided through the Human and Law Charitable Foundation.

1. Assistance to families in difficult life circumstances and Ukrainian Armed Forces 

This program was launched in early March 2022. It is mainly aimed at families in a difficult situation during the war: they lost their homes and other property, needed to be evacuated from the war zone, and family members fell ill, etc. Particular attention was paid to families with many children and families whose members were killed or wounded.

Funds were raised in the United States (through the Spotfund fundraising platform) and in Europe.  From March 1 to December 31, 2022, USD 114,280.62, EUR 6,774, and UAH 180,000 were received and entirely spent.

Between March 2 and December 31, 295 individuals and 13 legal entities received cash or in-kind assistance.

The large expenditures include:

  • the purchase, delivery, and installation in the Regional Psychiatric Hospital No. 3 in Kharkiv of a 45 kW diesel generator weighing 1,500 kg with diesel fuel; a total cost of USD 13,200. The generator will be primarily used to cook food for 600 inpatients in the absence of a power supply;
  • purchase of a Renault Kangoo car worth USD 10,800 to evacuate people from “hot”spots, deliver humanitarian supplies, drive monitor groups to closed institutions, etc. The Kharkiv Human Rights Group specifically hired a driver for this car;
  • completion of constructing a bomb shelter at 24 Constitution Square in Kharkiv, in the basement of the Puppet Theater. It has a capacity of 140 people and costs 99,084 UAH.

A significant part of the funds was spent on buying protective equipment and other items needed by our military (KHPG either bought these items alone or contributed to their purchase):

  • contribution to the purchase of 18 bulletproof vests — UAH 108,000;
  • contribution to the purchase of 2 bulletproof vests — UAH 29,500;
  • acquisition of 7 bulletproof vests — USD 1,731;
  • contribution to the purchase of a resuscitation machine for the 93rd Brigade of AFU — UAH 62,000;
  • procurement of tactical medicine means — UAH 126,000;
  • contribution to the purchase of drones — UAH 51,000;
  • drone repair — UAH 12,000;
  • purchase of a quadcopter — UAH 24,000;
  • contribution to the purchase of another quadcopter — UAH 23,000;
  • acquisition of various items for an electronic warfare company that was going to the front — UAH 43,500;
  • acquisition of 10 military medical kits — UAH 20,000;
  • purchase of clothes for the wounded soldiers delivered to Kharkiv hospital from the frontline and disposable eco-friendly tableware at the request of the Kharkiv Territorial defense unit soldiers — UAH 20,100.

© Mykola Tsipko

A significant portion of the funds was also used to meet the needs of volunteers, primarily for fuel to:

  • deliver goods, including from abroad, to military units on the front line — UAH 239,000;
  • evacuate people from the combat zone — UAH 77,000;
  • deliver food and other humanitarian goods to the localities near the front line — UAH 84,000 (in particular, UAH 64,000 was paid for diesel fuel for four large trucks, each one delivering 20 tons of food);
  • drive blood donors to donate blood for the wounded in Kharkiv — UAH 5,000.

We spent UAH 39,700  to repair volunteers' vehicles.

We also supported the purchase and delivery of food, water, and medicines to the elderly on the upper floors of high-rise buildings (when the elevators were out of service), as well as to the disabled people who couldn't walk.  In Kharkiv, UAH 246,075 was allocated for this purpose, on average, 10 thousand per week.

The funds were also used to buy food and other things for people in difficult circumstances (UAH 65,000), as well as to purchase laptops and other items necessary to document war crimes (UAH 102,900).

Since mid-September, three KHPG teams have been regularly visiting the de-occupied areas of the Kharkiv region to document war crimes.  They also provide legal and humanitarian assistance to those local communities where almost all residential buildings were destroyed. There was no place to live, no place to sleep, and nothing to cover, and significant problems with access to electric power and heat.  For each such trip, we pre-purchase and then take out things necessary for rural communities.

© Oksana Komarova

For example, to help residents of the Bilyayivska community, UAH 50,000 was spent on purchasing 100 warm blankets and UAH 44,000 — to buy portable charging stations, thermal underwear, and chemical heaters.

For the residents of Zaliman village, who were transferred to the Shevchenkove settlement, we bought 40 sets, comprising of a fold-up cot + mattress + pillow, 70 blankets, and linen, to the total sum of UAH 105,000.

We spent UAH 14,000 to buy hygiene products for the homeless shelter (at 102 Mira Ave.), where IDPs from the Kharkiv region were accommodated during their first days in Kharkiv. An additional UAH 8,600 was spent on thermal fans, flashlights, linen, towels, hygiene products, disposable tableware, and tea for the same shelter.

UAH 24,500 was spent on buying 17 tents, 17 gas cylinders, and 51 flashlights for the residents of the recently liberated localities Husarivka, Petrivske, and Zahorodny.

UAH 77,764 was spent on buying blankets, gas stoves, portable charging stations, power banks, flashlights, tents, gas cylinders, medicines, and food for the residents of Hrakovo, Hnylytsia, Kutuzivka, and Vilkhivka.

The rest of the funds were used to help families of internally displaced persons, families of fallen soldiers, and other families who, due to the war, found themselves in difficult life circumstances or people who had contracted severe illnesses. The amount of assistance ranged from UAH 2,000 to UAH 10,000 per family. More than 250 families received such aid.

We plan to continue this program in 2023.

2. Assistance to convicts serving their sentences in detention facilities

It is well known that the conditions in Ukrainian penitentiary institutions were poor, mainly due to chronic underfunding. After the outbreak of full-scale war, these problems became even more acute. Our program was launched on July 1, 2022, with the support of the Danish Institute Against Torture DIGNITY (Copenhagen).

Over six months, 476 packages of food and other items worth UAH 750 each were handed over to convicts who did not have any outside support. The program predominantly helped convicts from 10 penal institutions transferred from the areas of hostilities to the country's west.

Also, we paid for the services of the State Migration Service to produce passports for 71 convicts who lost them during the investigation (UAH 484 per passport).

In 2023, we plan to distribute another 1000 packages and provide passports to 400 convicts.

3. Participation in the Let's Help Ukraine Stay Warm Through the Winter program

This program was launched by the Polish charitable foundation WOT in November 2022. It aims to purchase and transport the necessary items for heating and electricity generation to Ukraine. Funds for this program are being raised at lightning speed by Russian political migrants everywhere. As of January 20, when I wrote this text, PLN 154,335, EUR 186,700, USD 79,478, and GBP 30,778 have been collected. For more information about the program, see its website

KHPG became the operator of the program in Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region. We have set up a warehouse in part of our office premises and have already received four truckloads of the items purchased under our order: 21 generators, 50 fold-up cots, 140 gas stoves, 100 sleeping bags, and 112 stoves. Most of these items have already been delivered to the towns and villages of the region.

We will continue this program in 2023.

© Mykola Tsipko

4. Charitable assistance to families in difficult circumstances

Another project supported by the Danish Institute Against Torture DIGNITY, among other things, involves the distribution of monetary aid of UAH 3000 to a thousand families. It began on October 1, 2022, and 180 families have already received such aid.

Only civilians who have been victims of war crimes and human rights violations can receive this aid, namely:

  • survivors of torture and ill-treatment, including sexual and gender-based violence;
  • relatives of the perished persons (parents, children, grandparents, spouses, siblings);
  • persons who suffered due to hostilities;
  • relatives of missing persons if their disappearance was related to the military conflict;
  • relatives of prisoners of war or civilians detained by Russians who have not been released;
  • persons released from captivity;
  • owners of buildings that are more than 75 percent destroyed (the fourth degree of destruction).

The groups on this list are arranged in order of priority. The highest priority is given to victims of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and relatives of persons killed in the military conflict or wounded in the fighting. Among this group, assistance is provided primarily to people with disabilities and serious illnesses, parents and guardians of three or more children, and lonely older adults.

5. Charitable assistance to families with a perished civilian member

This program will start in 2023, and the funds have not yet been received. The program funds amount to SEK 1,666,666, half of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Memorial. According to the decision of the Board of the International Memorial, this sum will be transferred to KHPG to help the civilian population affected by the war. If the amount of aid is UAH 3,333 per family, this program can cover 2000 families.

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