Two years war in Ukraine

What will become of our commitment to Ukraine?

February 24, 2024, marks the second anniversary of the Russian full scale invasion of Ukraine. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight. The country still needs our support, which is why the Robert Bosch Stiftung has decided on a new approach.

Eva Bolta
Anastasia Vlasova
February 21, 2024
Reading time
5 Min.
500 KMilitary personnel killed or injured*

In view of the shocking events in the Middle East and the domestic political situation in Germany, the war in Ukraine has taken a back seat in the media. But the Russian attack on Ukraine continues unabated. Recently, drone attacks on Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other cities have again increased. The military situation is difficult and the outcome of the war is completely open. Ukraine therefore continues to need all kinds of support.

After two years of support from special funding, we at the Robert Bosch Stiftung are now faced with the question: Can we consolidate our engagement and make a medium-term contribution to the reconstruction of Ukraine?

Taking stock: What has our engagement been so far?

Shortly after the Russian full scale invasion on February 24, 2022, the Robert Bosch Stiftung made funds of 4.5 million euros available  for humanitarian aid. In order to help as quickly and extensively as possible, a total of 40 projects were supported together with various partners.

In 2023, another 4 million euros were made available, but now with a new approach. To continue the funding in the longer term, the projects would be more closely linked to our established topics. As a result, 13 projects have been retained, some of which have been continued from the 2022 funding, while others have been newly launched.

"As a European foundation, we see ourselves as having a special responsibility toward Ukraine. We will continue to support Ukraine in this difficult situation for another five years. We want to support Ukrainian civil society in contributing sustainably to the reconstruction of their country."

Quote fromOttilie Bälz, Senior Vice President Global Issues

What are we focusing on now and in the future?

Thanks to our previous promotional activities in Eastern Europe, we have long-standing relationships in Ukraine and a broad network of local partners. For this reason, and in light of the ongoing emergency situation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung will continue its support in Ukraine for another five years.

In order to support Ukraine's reconstruction, we will in the future focus on strengthening civil society. Our funding will therefore not be used to reconstruct infrastructure, but to strengthen cohesion in a society that has been traumatized. People have fought and, in some cases, lost, in the war, many have fled, and families have been torn apart.  

13 M.People on the run**

We support civil society organisations working on the ground - for example, in helping internally displaced persons or in developing ideas for fair and climate-resilient reconstruction. We want to ensure that civil society actors are involved in drafting a vision for the future of Ukrainian society - this should not be the sole preserve of government agencies. For this reason, we are also promoting the participation of civil society actors in the Ukraine Recovery Conference (11/12 June 2024) jointly organised by Ukraine and Germany in Berlin.

Why it is important to prepare for reconstruction now, even if the war is not yet over

Press release

The idea that war and reconstruction would follow one another schematically does not correspond to reality. The people in Ukraine now need a new perspective and have to organise their lives together in a country that has been extensively destroyed. Even liberated areas where reconstruction has already begun can become theatres of war again. This is why emergency aid and strategic reconstruction must go hand in hand. Preparations must also be made and structures created for major reconstruction after the end of the war. The Robert Bosch Stiftung is providing 20 million euros over the next five years for this purpose.

Press release

Ukrainians must be heard

When the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung hosted the second Cafe Kyiv in Berlin on February 19, 2024, to discuss "The Future of Ukraine in Europe" with around 4.000 experts, media professionals and visitors, the Robert Bosch Stiftung made it possible for 12 actors from Ukraine to participate. Together with our partner Commit by MitOst e.V., they organized four different events on this day:

-    How we move on (or lose motion) in/out the war (Performance)
-    How we come back (or not) (Discussion)
-    How we heal (or not) (Discussion)
-    War against nature (Film screening and Discussion)

The Ukrainians drew attention to issues that have so far been little discussed and even less recognized by the public: When and how do refugees return home? How do those who stayed see their situation? How can the forces of very different groups be pooled for reconstruction? Annegret Wulff, Director of Commit by MitOst e.V., spoke to a number of Ukrainian civic and cultural activists – some who stayed, some who returned and some who support both communities and build bridges between them.

"It is incredibly important to make controversial perspectives known. The very emotional topic of return must not become a taboo subject that is lost to a mutual lack of understanding and voicelessness."

Quote fromAnnegret Wulff, CEO Commit by MitOst e.V.

As part of the Vidnova Fellowships project, Yulia Alenina supports returnees from abroad, especially veterans returning from the front. At Cafe Kyiv, she had clear words to say: "Veterans can't leave their experiences at the front, they bring them home. But the government has no idea how to help them. This is where civil society comes in, helping veterans to rebuild their professional and social lives and to come to terms with their traumas. 

The issue of "green recovery" is also important for reconstruction. Nina Dyrenko, a scientist and landscape architect, and Darya Pyrogova, a fellow at Vidnova Lab, used their "30%" project to highlight the impact of war on nature: in addition to cities, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land have been destroyed by flooding, heavy metal pollution and landmines. Through video footage and interviews with experts, Darya and Nina have initiated a discussion about what should happen to these areas once they are reclaimed. Based on the European Green Deal and international agreements on biodiversity protection, they suggested that 30% of these areas should be turned into nature reserves in the future, rather than, for example, rebuilding destroyed dams or returning the land to industrial agriculture. In this way, the war could become an opportunity to fundamentally change our attitude to nature, says Darya Pyrogova. 

"Café Kyiv has impressively demonstrated the strength and diversity of Ukrainian civil society. We will continue to support them in their work, which is so important for Ukraine and Europe," commented Ottilie Bälz on her visit to the conference.


*Source: New York Times (August 2023)

**Source: UNHCR, Statista

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Ukraine Engagement

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