• Dusty Weis

Lead Balloon Ep. 29 - Ukrainian Creatives Waging an Information War Against Russian Invasion



Ad agencies and freelancers across Ukraine have banded together to pierce the veil of Russian propaganda--and they need your help.

For Ukrainian ad agencies and freelance creatives, "business-as-usual" stopped on the day that Russian forces launched their unprovoked war three weeks ago.

Now, they need your help to pierce the veil of Russian propaganda and fight for their homeland in their own way--by waging a global information war to win the hearts and minds of the world.


In this episode, we talk to three Kyiv-based creatives who are organizing this loose coalition of Ukraine's creative community:

  • Viktor Shkurba, Founder and Creative Director of [isdgroup]

  • Oksana Gonchar, Creative Group Head at [isdgroup]

  • Andrii Mishchenko, Kyiv-based freelance creative strategist

They discuss how the war has disrupted their lives and their agency's future, how they're fighting back against Russian disinformation, and the imperative for creatives around the world to get involved.


Additionally, you can support these causes:


Prevent World War 3 Brief:

https://preventww3.in.ua/


How to support Ukrainian army:

https://bank.gov.ua/ua/about/support-the-armed-forces


Ukrainian relatives asking ex us military to donate that protective gear:

https://www.gearforukraine.com


Project aiming to show Russians all their military loses. Also asking for donations:

Russian-crimes.com will start in a few days (carpentry only in Russian: www.Marta-mira.com)



Transcript:


Dusty Weis:

As professional communicators, we don't typically expect to find ourselves on the front lines of a war. I mean, this is a desk job, for Pete's sake. But all that can be disrupted when war rolls into your home in a T-72 tank. And in Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine now in its fourth week, there is no distinction between Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Russia has shelled hospitals, apartment buildings, and even clearly marked civilian bomb shelters. And facing that kind of indiscriminate violence, Ukraine's communications professionals have no choice but to go on the offensive.


Andrii Mishchenko:

All creative and other informational industries, IT industry, technology industry, and communication industries, they're now gathered around one cause, to fight this information war.


Dusty Weis:

A coalition of Ukrainian creatives has launched what they call the most important brief ever, to engage creatives from all around the world to support peace and freedom, stop Russia's unprovoked war, and prevent World War III. And we all have a part to play.


Viktor Shkurba:

Bigger agencies that could create something really big there to just put in the Ukrainian flag on their Instagram, and I believe it's not enough.


Dusty Weis:

In this episode, we'll talk with three of the founders of this initiative about how they're waging a potent information war, how they've been forced to flee their agency in Kyiv, how they're working to pierce the veil of Russian propaganda, and of course, how you can help. I'm Dusty Weis, and this is Lead Balloon, a podcast about PR marketing and branding nightmares, and the well-meaning communications professionals who live them.


Dusty Weis:

Thanks for tuning in. You can find Podcamp Media on the social platform of your choice, and we're going to be putting out lots of important links on those channels to support some of these Ukrainian causes we'll talk about today. No fancy soundtrack in this one, no complex storytelling, no content marketing, no ads. Just a conversation that's so important, we're rushing it out ASAP.


Dusty Weis:

Our guests today are Viktor Shkurba, founder and creative director at ISD Group; Oksana Gonchar, creative group head at ISD Group; and Andrii Mishchenko, a freelance creative strategist in Ukraine. Thank you all for joining us on the podcast. And I'd like to open just by expressing my deepest condolences, my outrage, my anger, my creeping existential dread, and feelings of complete helplessness at seeing what the people of your nation have had to endure for more than three weeks.


Dusty Weis:

The Ukrainian people are an inspiration, and your efforts in standing together against Russia's immoral violence are nothing short of heroic. So thank you for talking with us today and thank you for doing what you do.


Viktor Shkurba:

Yeah. Thank you, Dusty, for inviting us to...


Oksana Gonchar:

And this possibility of course.


Viktor Shkurba:

Yeah. Spread to the world what we feel, what we are going through right now. Yeah. It's quite strange.


Dusty Weis:

I can only imagine. But tell me about your lives before this unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia. You were all members of Ukraine's creative community. Where did you work, what did you do, and what sorts of projects did you have going on? And we'll start with Viktor.


Viktor Shkurba:

Just to briefly express who I am, I actually have a family and have two boys, seven and 13 years old. And I actually lived in Kyiv for all of my life. And for the last 19 years, I'm actually developing one of the largest communications group in Ukraine, and we have more than 70 people are working in the company. Oksana working right now. Actually, Andrii had been working for maybe four or five years in the agency. Yeah.


Viktor Shkurba:

And we are working with the biggest international and local clients like, I don't know, Vodafone, Philips, Kimberly-Clark in Ukraine, and we also have a second... Our focus of attention, direction, and we are working with international agencies, biggest agencies, creative agencies around the world, trying to help them build innovative digital projects. This was our-


Oksana Gonchar:

Normal life.


Viktor Shkurba:

... normal life.


Andrii Mishchenko:

Daily routine. Yup.


Viktor Shkurba:

Yeah. Daily routine.


Dusty Weis:

Yeah. It sounds like you had a really bustling agency and a lot of good business. And as I have watched the news of what's happening in Ukraine, I think almost daily how there but for the grace of whatever that could happen to anybody, where you spend your life building up a business, becoming the best in your fields, and because of one evil person and the power at his disposal, all that is suddenly jeopardized. So how have your lives changed in the three-plus weeks since the attack?


Andrii Mishchenko:

Drastically.


Viktor Shkurba:

Yeah. Dramatically. Dramatically. Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

We noted when we began this conversation that while you were all based in Kyiv prior to this, Viktor and Oksana, you've had to move west to Lviv, a city that's a little bit further away from the fighting, although there was shelling there this morning. And Andrii, you've had to move to the southwest part of Ukraine as well.


Andrii Mishchenko:

Yeah. We're here right now. And for three weeks now, we're organizing, moving all our work here, and we're trying to build processes that we had in the capital of Ukraine. We were sort of pre-prepared with all the pandemic situation by working from home, so we know how to work from different places we now call homes.


Dusty Weis:

So business continues for the agency?


Viktor Shkurba:

No, no, no, no.


Oksana Gonchar:

It's not about the business anymore.


Viktor Shkurba:

No, no. It's not about the business anymore. So we are currently working 14 to 16 hours trying to bomb Russia with information, actually with the truths, because they don't have this understanding of what's going on in reality, so they feel they're saving our lives from someone, from Nazis, or something like that.


Viktor Shkurba:

And currently, one of our biggest focus is trying to give as much as possible information, the truths, to the Russian. Yeah. The second, as you already know this brief, trying to engage creative community around the world to do something. Not just watching TV, but also doing something to help us, help Ukrainian, help themselves, because everybody should understand that it's not just a war against Ukraine. It's war against you, against the future, against different... Anyone around the world could now help us actually fight.


Dusty Weis:

It affects everyone, and everyone has a part to play in ending this. And the resistance that the Ukrainian people have mounted has been nothing short of heroic. But to hear about how everyday citizens, like the three of you, are using your skillset to mount essentially an information war against Russian propaganda is incredible too. Oksana, can you tell me a little bit more about your efforts to get truth to Russian citizens who ultimately, at the end of the day, have the say over whether or not Vladimir Putin stays in power?


Oksana Gonchar:

In the first day of war, I ran away to my parents. It is a small village in the middle of nowhere, to be honest. And I read all news like crazy, and I read and cry. I read and cry, I think, as everybody in our community, because you couldn't understand what and how can you help. And then I start to work with different creative community from different agency.


Oksana Gonchar:

So on the third day, I woke up and thought, "Oh my God. If we have so many power just in Ukraine, have to tell the truth to the West to get this support, what if we spread the information? And what if you ask all agency around the world about help?" Because everybody in West agency know better which message they can use for spread the truth. It was just one thought, and then I wrote to Andrii, and he answered me, "Yes, we need to do it right now." And we start to develop the brief and we worked 10 hours, and it was ready.


Dusty Weis:

And that brief, I've seen it everywhere on the internet. I've seen it on LinkedIn. I've seen it covered in Adweek. I've seen it covered on the news. How has the response been? What have you heard back from the West, from Europe, and from all over the world?


Oksana Gonchar:

We have received really very fast feedback from professionals around the world. Yeah, you're right. The best mass media, like Adweek or Ad Age, wrote about us. And in the first day, we got really a lot of emails with ideas and offers and questions, "How can we help?" Yeah. And the most important for us was email from a big company, and the email from very small agencies around the world.


Oksana Gonchar:

And there are really... One interesting story that happened, I don't know, two days ago. Yeah. Some guy called me from Milwaukee. He wrote us that he saw the brief and want to help, and he has just one billboard in Milwaukee and he want to use his billboard for supporting Ukraine, but he didn't know what he should write in this billboard, and asked about help. And it was so heartwarming because one people want to do something, and we decided to create for him something special. And our friend, our colleague, found in Wikipedia, said, "Milwaukee? Is this a city in Wisconsin?" Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

Would you believe that I'm actually calling you from Milwaukee right now?


Oksana Gonchar:

Really? Whoa!


Dusty Weis:

Yeah. We're based in Milwaukee.


Oksana Gonchar:

So...


Andrii Mishchenko:

Did you know that your city is the sister city of the city Irpin?


Dusty Weis:

I do know that. I actually... I used to work at Milwaukee City Hall, and we were part of the sister city program through that, so I've actually... I've followed the situation in Irpin very, very closely. And it's absolutely tragic what happened there.


Oksana Gonchar:

And it is my story. We decided to create a message about it, just, "Milwaukee, your sister city need your support, Irpin here." Yeah. And it was the message. And this one man from Milwaukee inspired us to do a big campaign around the world and find all sister city of our cities that was destroyed by Russian bomb. And now, we are preparing this billboard and messages for each city around the world. And it is so cool to know that only one person in the world can make this wave of supporting here. So for me, this kind of story is unbelievable.


Dusty Weis:

It sounds like you've gotten great support from the creative community around the world, but at the end of the day, as creatives, as communicators, it's our job to advocate and to apply pressure, to change public opinion, and to ultimately get governments to spring into action. So as we raise our voices as a creative community on behalf of Ukraine, what else do you need to see happen to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia?


Viktor Shkurba:

This is quite an interesting question, and I believe it's important, because right now, yes, we receive a lot of different emails, and most of the people, most of the creatives ask us, "How can we help? What can we do?" And most of the creative there, trying to give us ideas. But what we are trying to ask them and say them back that we can't actually execute them right now because we are in a war.


Viktor Shkurba:

So we need you to activate the creatives around you that are close to you and to big this campaign, because what I see right now, it's... This support from small creatives around the countries, but bigger agencies that could create something really big there just put in the Ukrainian flag on their Instagram, and I believe it's not enough. And I believe that the creative community could do much more.


Viktor Shkurba:

As you say, put more pressure on the government, because... I don't know if you know, but as Biden said, United States will stop to import of oil and gas to United States. And it's quite a lot, because when Putin receive this money, it converts this money to bullets and to bombs. Yeah. But as you know, Germany, just in a day, paying more than 600 million euros per day for the oil, per day.


Viktor Shkurba:

Can you imagine how much money they give to Putin every day so he could convert this to this military equipment and to continue the war? And I believe, for example, the creative industry within Germany and within European country could push, put much more pressure on the government. And it could be a bigger operation if the bigger players will come to the game, because I believe the creative community are still thinking. They are sometimes working with Russian companies. They're receiving Russian money when they're doing some project for the biggest Russian banks, oil companies, production companies.


Viktor Shkurba:

And they're, I believe, thinking how the Russian will think about our agency in the future, whether they will go into work with us, but I believe they don't understand the scale of the war. And what's happening right now, it's not just about Ukraine. Putin tried to understand these red lines, and maybe his next step will be the Baltic countries. And maybe in a few months, he decided that he need to get back Alaska from the States and will try to start, I don't know, send in bombs. And I think that most of the people around the world still seems that it's a political question.


Dusty Weis:

Right.


Viktor Shkurba:

It's a question of, "Oh, brothers, Ukrainian, Russian, please just stop." But we can't stop. We are on our own territory and they are trying to kill us, so it's not politics anymore. It's a much bigger question right now. Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

It seems like turning off the supply of Russian gas and enduring whatever economic hardships come along with that, that's a small price to pay compared to what you're going through in Ukraine, where your hospitals are being shelled, your apartment buildings are being blown up. And to hear people say, "Oh well, we can't just go cold turkey off of Russian gas." It rings a little bit hollow to me. So I think there's certainly something to that.


Dusty Weis:

As I understand it, a lot of people in Ukraine have connections to people in Russia. And I don't know if those connections are still open. I know that there's been a big crackdown in Russia on information, but are any of you in contact with friends or family that you have in Russia? And Andrii, I see you raise a hand there. Are the sanctions making a difference? Is information from the West getting into Russia to tell them what's really going on in Ukraine right now?


Andrii Mishchenko:

Well, first, it's really tough a thing because Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and every mass media channel from West is now blocked by Russia. So there's only VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, and state-governed social networks. Yeah. And no message will go through those social network without FSB seeing, security agencies seeing what people write to each other. So it's really hard about the messages.


Andrii Mishchenko:

And I have relatives in Russia right now. Right now, my mother is in Tyumen, which is in the center of Russia. We're not raising political questions because we are probably on different sides of this spectrum of what's happening. It's really hard because on the other side of the border, there is a twisted understanding of what's happening here.


Andrii Mishchenko:

And my father-in-law got a call from his brother, his actual brother who lives in Russia, and he got a call in the first day of war on the 24th of February. His brother said, "Go ahead and try to stop us now." His brother. And so, you understand that what is happening there is just some crazy, surreal propaganda-based reality people are boiling in.


Dusty Weis:

Right. They're bought into the propaganda.


Andrii Mishchenko:

Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

They're not even looking for the truth at this point.


Oksana Gonchar:

And it is horrible because all of us have the same story. For example, my father-in-law and mother-in-law, they are living in Crimea. Crimea was occupied by Russia eight years ago. And in the first day of war, they called us and told us, "Just sit quietly and Russian army will save you from the Nazism." And it was... What a (beep) up story. And it's a big pain when your parent don't believe you because they're, I don't know, like a zombie infected with propaganda. Everybody in our country has the same story with Russian relatives.


Dusty Weis:

That's just terrible and so incredibly frustrating. And on a lesser scale but no less pernicious, I think, we've endured the same thing here in the United States recently with our former president, Donald Trump, and his supporters, who seem willing to believe whatever he tells them even when it's very clearly a lie and it's putting ideology in front of truth, and it's certainly a problem around the world right now, but seeing it play out in Ukraine and Russia is just incredibly disheartening because, again, it can happen anywhere.


Dusty Weis:

In fact, I'd say that, if anything, the last three weeks have illustrated that information warfare is a more potent tool than ever before. And as potent as Ukraine's military response has been to Russia, and you've choked your roads with their tanks that you've blown up, and that's incredible, but your ability to sculpt the narrative and win on the informational battleground is even greater and even more powerful. What is behind this string of decisive victories on the information front for Ukraine?


Andrii Mishchenko:

It is actually many things. For starters, we're not making things up. We're not creating fake realities. We're just telling the truth. And we have just one job to do: We have to tell the truth and we have to tell it effectively. The second thing is that the whole nation, 40 million of people, are now putting all their efforts into telling the truth to Russians, to the foreign citizens, to every men and women and children in the world.


Andrii Mishchenko:

So all creative and other informational industries, IT industry, technology industry, and communication industries, they're now gathered around one cause, to fight this information war. Not because they have to, but because they want to, because they feel that this is the right thing to do right now. And Russian propaganda says right now that it is all organized by NATO or it is all organized by some Ukrainian Nazi government.


Andrii Mishchenko:

What we see here right now is that there are literally hundreds of organized groups that sometimes don't know of each other's existence, but these groups have thousands of people in them and they put in all the efforts, like 20 hours a day, on sending the right messages through all the possible channels they have. So it is a matter of life and death now. And when it is a matter of life and death, you're doing everything you can, while other side, Russian propaganda machine, is doing it for money. All those troll farms, all those hackers that were working on Russian security services, they're just doing it for money.


Andrii Mishchenko:

And when, soon, money stops coming, probably, we hope that this will also influence their ability to create these fake realities of their own.


Dusty Weis:

And truth will win, we hope.


Andrii Mishchenko:

We hope.


Dusty Weis:

Certainly.


Andrii Mishchenko:

Yeah.


Oksana Gonchar:

There are one more important thing that... This is a unique situation for Ukrainian markets that Ukrainian agency are not currently competing with each other. Yes. This is a project of the creative community of Ukraine because this is our common struggle.


Viktor Shkurba:

Hundreds maybe of small agencies are currently working as one big agency, so you can imagine what can be done by a few thousand creatives that are working with the one and only focus together.


Dusty Weis:

It's incredible to see. And when the history of these weeks are written, I think that you all will have played a prominent role in shaping that. And so, it's commendable. It's impressive. I did have... I had one question here, one distinction that I wanted to draw, because I grew up pronouncing the name of Ukraine's capital as Kiev, but I recently learned that the preferred Ukrainian pronunciation is Kyiv. And so, I've been doing what I can to change my habits and say that properly. It's a very, very little thing. But can you explain to an American, who may not be familiar with the distinction here, why this is important?


Andrii Mishchenko:

Yeah. I can tell.


Dusty Weis:

Andrii.


Andrii Mishchenko:

It's my pain point about the Kiev and Kyiv. Kiev is the Russian name of our city, and it is the result of the centuries of Russification of Ukrainians. And people even know the recipe called chicken Kiev. Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

Chicken Kiev. Yeah.


Andrii Mishchenko:

Yeah. Yeah. Basically, this is the Russian version of what we are. So what we're now trying to do is, we are trying to change this narrative. So all the information coming from Ukraine will come from Ukraine, and not from the Russian sources telling you about the Ukraine. The famous... Well, the infamous Russia Today channels that were telling about what is happening in Ukraine all around the world, they are actually propaganda channels that are telling fakes about Ukraine. And they were creating these Ukraine narratives.


Andrii Mishchenko:

And when we're talking about saying Kyiv instead of Kiev, this is the choice of the truth. This is the choice of supporting Ukraine and getting the real information of what's happening from Ukraine and not from propaganda-based channels.


Dusty Weis:

It's a small way to show your support for Ukraine's sovereignty and its status as an independent identity and an independent nation. And again, it's a habit that I'm only happy to change once I learned what was going on there.


Oksana Gonchar:

I would like to add a little bit about this narrative, because Russians love to use a narrative about two brothers once they talk about our country. But it is important to understand that Ukraine has its own culture and always had own history and own heroes, and what is most important, own language. And Russians don't understand Ukrainian language. Yeah. It is funny. Okay. It's not funny. Yet, they thought that there's one language here, but they are not the same. And yes, some part of our history was common, but we are not brother anymore.


Dusty Weis:

It was a history of oppression.


Oksana Gonchar:

Yeah. Yeah. It was a history of oppression. And if somebody talks that culture or, I don't know, artists are not about politics, they need to remember the part of Ukrainian history in 20th century when Russia killed many of Ukrainian greatest culture...


Andrii Mishchenko:

Writers, poets, artists.


Oksana Gonchar:

Musicians, and other people who has built our culture.


Dusty Weis:

Is that what inspires you to keep on fighting three weeks into this, with the situation dire?


Viktor Shkurba:

Yes. But in a bigger scale, it's easy to answer this question saying that we're actually fighting for our lives. We are fighting for our future. Yes. For freedom, because we don't... Actually, we don't want to live in a country where you can't say what you want to say, when you can't move where you want to move, when you can't do what you can do.


Viktor Shkurba:

And we have families that... My family is currently in Poland, and I want to live with them, and I want to have a future for my kids, a free future where they can speak Ukrainian and when they can choose what they want to choose. Yeah. And in a peaceful country. Not a country that, all the time, trying to find another places outside of the border, always this military aggression, trying to annex some part of the other countries.


Viktor Shkurba:

And we are... Actually, we want to get back to our office. We just built... Two weeks before the war start, we just built a new 5,550 square meters innovative, inspiring office for our country. We have a lot of projects, and we are fighting for our future. It's like...


Oksana Gonchar:

Yeah. And it doesn't matter that I'm now in a safe place. Okay? And we are here in a good office. It is an office of our-


Viktor Shkurba:

Plato.


Oksana Gonchar:

... partners here and clients, and we... But my best friend is from Mariupol, a city with 350,000 people inside. And our friend Masha with three small children, she lived in Mariupol, yes, because it's totally destroyed now. And we heard nothing from her, 10 days, and it was horrible because we read the story how people don't have light, water, food. And I know the real story how many people melted ice in the street to drink. Can you imagine it in 21 century? So there are no question why we need to fight.


Viktor Shkurba:

We don't want this evil to be on our land, in our country, in our lives. Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

Andrii?


Andrii Mishchenko:

I want to add that I'm actually... My roots are from Donetsk, so it is on the east of Ukraine. And this war for me started eight years ago, when Russian-backed military troops invaded first Crimea, and then they invaded Donetsk and Luhansk regions to get away the world's attention from the Crimea. So you understand this propaganda machine, how this propaganda machine works.


Andrii Mishchenko:

I've never gone to my city, to my native city, Donetsk, for eight years now. And I want to go there like a free man. I want to go there as Ukrainian. And I want to be proud that I'm going back home.


Dusty Weis:

Yeah. Yeah. Certainly. Well, when this is all done, I would like very much to come with my family and visit Kyiv and see that Ukrainian city and experience that Ukrainian culture, and buy all you guys a beer, because what you have been through is incredible, and your effort is nothing short of heroic.


Dusty Weis:

I'm going to put a link to your brief and to your website in the podcast episode description, and I would urge everyone listening to visit that brief, read it, and think about how they can get involved with your effort as well, and apply pressure to end this illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine.


Dusty Weis:

How else can we get involved? What are some websites that we can donate to so that we can support the Ukrainian people and the cause of a free and sovereign Ukraine?


Viktor Shkurba:

Actually, what every citizen of United States could do, just, if you're not a creative guy, you could support our projects and our efforts. We are currently collecting all the dead and prisoned Russian soldiers, all the destroyed machinery, and trying to put this information on a map of Ukraine and Russia, trying to send all these targeted messages to citizen of different regions of Russia, and trying to show the reality of war because they don't see the scale of invasion.


Viktor Shkurba:

They cannot see the scale of Russian children, Russian father, Russian brother that are killing in this war. And what I believe... Because actually, part of my family living in Moscow. I believe when they saw all this information, they try to behave differently. They try to think about whether... what Putin doing is right or not.


Viktor Shkurba:

And I believe we need to push all this message and spread this message as wider as possible in Russia. And actually, right now, half of the agency, more than 30 people, are collecting all this information via social media channels. Also, Ukrainian army provide us with information on the names and the information, where they're from, all these soldiers. And so, if you could also put the name of the website and maybe someone could also support us and donate, so we could then spend this money on sending the information on the media. Yeah.


Dusty Weis:

Yeah. Please, send me a link and I'll share it in the episode description and on all of our social media channels, and we'll do what we can to help out.


Oksana Gonchar:

Yeah. And there are so many option how to support Ukraine. And I know that maybe not everybody would like to donate for army, for example. But we need to remember that war will end with our victory, and we need to rebuild our city. And already, there are three, several government funds for the nation to rebuild. And I know a great example from Italy. Yeah. Italy has promised to rebuild the Drama Theatre in Mariupol, which was destroyed just a few days ago.


Viktor Shkurba:

And I just saw that the prime minister of Greece say that they're going to rebuild the maternity and children hospital in Mariupol. I believe if local citizen will pressure more on the local government, maybe we will see much more efforts, local efforts to support. Yeah.


Oksana Gonchar:

And one more important thing about our market here. A lot of agencies offer now the job for talents in Ukraine, but we think that if they want to support Ukrainian agency, they need to work with us not to take our talents from our country to other countries, because we don't want to relocate. We want to build our agency here in Ukraine, and it is an important thing just to be our partners and to work together.


Andrii Mishchenko:

To help businesses that will build this country once again.


Viktor Shkurba:

Rebuilding the economy, helping creative agencies. It's really important stuff, but right after the war will end. And currently, there are humanitarian support needed in different direction, helping to, for example, relocate children from Kyiv, from...


Andrii Mishchenko:

That are going through cancer treatment.


Viktor Shkurba:

Children that are facing cancer and are, right now, trying to repay. Yes. And we need to move them outside of the country. And we have a fund for these children actually, one of the biggest, that helps such children around the country.


Viktor Shkurba:

But the first priority is in army. So Ukrainian army do a lot of fantastic efforts. They're putting their lives. And what we need, of course, from the governments around the world... And US do a lot actually, supporting with military equipment right now, but still, we have problems with protective equipment. Some of our military guards are still without these protective vests.


Dusty Weis:

Body armor. Yeah.


Viktor Shkurba:

And without helmet. So our... Actually, Ukrainians that are currently working in the creative industry, they're trying to ask ex-military guys from the United States to donate their armor because we don't have enough even to protect some of the newcomers. So we will do a link also to all army supporters' funds because we need to support army.


Dusty Weis:

And we're going to do what we can to back you any way that we can, because again, your fight is so important. Your cause is our cause. And we are all in this together.


Viktor Shkurba:

Thank you.


Dusty Weis:

Viktor Shkurba, Oksana Gonchar from ISD Group, freelance creative strategist Andrii Mishchenko, please be safe, be strong, and make Putin choke on every last meter of Ukrainian ground that he tries to invade. Your effort, your people, and your nation are an inspiration to the rest of us. And we're going to do what we can to support you. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your heroism. And thank you for taking time to talk to us today on the podcast.


Viktor Shkurba:

And thank you for your support. It means a lot for us.


Oksana Gonchar:

Thank you.


Dusty Weis:

That's going to do it for this episode of Lead Balloon. Please follow or subscribe to this podcast. But more importantly, take to heart what Viktor, Oksana, and Andrii had to say and find a way to get involved or support their cause. Lead Balloon is produced by Podcamp Media, where we provide branded podcast production services for businesses. Stay informed, stay creative, and fight fascism. I'm Dusty Weis.

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