In Spring 2022 I promised my new friends I’d be back when the airports reopened. Guess I can’t wait that long.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, I will be kicking off Trek to Bucha’s promotional tour in Ukraine in January 2023 Trek to Bucha - Tour Info (theoeco.org). Unfortunately, just like in the Spring it will take several days of flights, trains, and cars to get to the Bucha Premiere on February 5th. That includes an overnight flight to Warsaw from Boston, a night in Warsaw, a sleeper train to Kyiv, and then a ride to Bucha after a night’s stay in Kyiv. All of which carry their own risks of course.
Sure wish I could just fly to Kyiv like before the February 24th invasion 10 months ago. To which most say: “Well, duh. Of course the airports are closed. There’s a war going on you know!”
Yes, I know. And I’m not typical. But as I offered back in September:
“It also means getting airports reopened and transit normalized to the extent possible. There has been war going on in Ukraine’s east for almost a decade and Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport stayed open until February 24th when Ukraine closed its airspace. We need to get back to that. If more advanced missile defense systems and the like are needed to keep jet liners safe then supply them.” Trek to Bucha Epilogue: Force Majeure (Act of God) – Part 1 (Economics) (theoeco.org)
New Patriot missiles systems are finally on their way to Ukraine. These have the potential to reduce the risk to commercial jets to a minimum even if Russia were foolish enough to shoot down civilian aircraft again. Even China and India would object to such barbarism.
Missiles and drones threaten the Capital and other big cities throughout Ukraine. But the risk of death to civilians not on the front lines is about the same as the USA from guns. See: On this Thanksgiving Weekend Ukraine and USA Share Two More Things: Thankfulness and Violent Death Rates (theoeco.org).
Russian strikes tend to be focused on electrical infrastructure. Presumably, when the airport in Kyiv is reopened it will also be targeted. Enter the new missile defenses.
I’m not saying this will – or should – happen overnight. Demand for flights will be low anyway as long as power is unreliable, not to mention water. Yes, the number of passengers might be light but the symbolism huge.
Stick it to Putin while providing a huge boost in morale to Ukrainians and their supporters? The time is nigh for flights to resume. Ukraine’s economic recovery and the return of its refugees depend on it. And for those that object to billions in economic supports to Ukraine might proffer, patriot missiles are cheaper than Ukraine’s ongoing economic depression.
We’ll need brave pilots and flight attendants – and passengers. Airfares need to be cheap. A missile attack could be considered a force majeure so insurance policies for carriers and passengers will need to consider the risks and subsidies provided to cover the risks a carrier might incur. Passengers will need to be covered separately by Accidental Death policies.
I wish it were an option right now. Because as much as I look forward to going back to Bucha, I don’t look forward to getting there.
Heading Back to Ukraine to Screen the Film For the Film’s Stars
By Steve Richards
As we approach the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, I will be kicking off Trek to Bucha’s promotional tour in Bucha on February 5th. The venue (to be announced) has generators so we’re confident we will be good to go. We are also planning to livestream the event if possible. Ukrainian captions will be ready.
We are also planning screenings in Lviv and Kyiv during a month-long Ukrainian tour as the long, cold, energy-tight winter sets in.
The film is a glimpse of what those in Bucha – and throughout Ukraine – dealt with in the winter of 2022 and what many Ukrainians will live through this winter due to Russian attacks on their energy grid. For instance, in the film we see folks cooking over open fires in field kitchens outside their condos, the thrill of power being restored, workers working on power lines, etc.
Personally, in my ongoing quixotic effort to help the Ukrainian cause I hope to bring a bit of goodwill and support from the USA and let those that I encounter know we are with them. I’m also looking forward to revisiting new friends and seeing how they are doing. I am particularly eager to see how the rebuilding is progressing in Bucha and Irpin, the most heavily hit areas featured in the film as discussed in Trek to Bucha Epilogue: Force Majeure (Act of God) – Part 1 (Economics) (theoeco.org).
I will also be shooting Back to Bucha, a sequel where we will dig further into the evolution of Putin’s Orwellian justification for his war; from de-nazification to de-satanization. The developing schism in the Orthodox Church is also something I hope to document as we continue to explore the Spirit in Ukraine begun in Trek to Bucha Epilogue: Force Majeure (Act of God) – Part 2 (Spirit) (theoeco.org). To me it is reminiscent of what happened to the Church of England in the USA during its revolution beginning in Boston in 1775, which led to the creation of the Episcopalian Church here in America.
Is going to Ukraine dangerous? I recently researched the issue to make my Mom feel better about it all and found that being in Ukraine is no more life threatening for most people than being in the USA given its ongoing gun violence. Don’t believe it? Check out On this Thanksgiving Weekend Ukraine and USA Share Two More Things: Thankfulness and Violent Death Rates (theoeco.org).
So off I go!
Lastly, our screenings are donation driven and free for the folks in Ukraine. If you would like to support the effort book a screening for your own group for when I return mid-February. I’ll be happy to come screen the film and tell you all about what I found.
For more go to the Tour page at Trek to Bucha - Tour Info (theoeco.org).