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On International Volunteer Day, a devastating reminder of risks to volunteers in Ukraine: NP remembers Ruslan Anisenko 

Date: December 6, 2023
Ruslan Anisenko

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

KHERSON, December 6, 2023—On Tuesday 5 December, International Volunteer Day, Ukrainian humanitarian volunteer Ruslan Anisenko was killed by Russian mortar fire in the city of Kherson, on his way to the volunteer base to continue his voluntary efforts in his community. Ruslan had been volunteering with Spravzhni, a Ukrainian-led volunteer organisation and trusted partner of Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP). Ruslan was killed alongside two other civilians, one of whom was a pregnant woman. Additionally, seven others were severely injured in the same attack.  

Alina Shemediuk, head of Spravzhni, shared that Ruslan “had a smile on his face, was part of our big family and had a good heart.” Ruslan had joined the volunteer group after the attack on the Kakhovka Dam, which caused widespread flooding, death, and distress across the region. 

Ruslan’s death is a devastating reminder of the risks that are shouldered by Ukrainian volunteers every day in an effort to reach members of their community with humanitarian aid, protection information, and other life-saving services. “These efforts are exhausting and dangerous,” shared Nicolo Braggio, the NP Team Leader in Kherson. “Ruslan woke up every day and broke his back getting nothing in return – it says a lot about the person that he was and the spirit of the volunteers.” 

Ruslan was a friend to the volunteer community of Kherson and of NP. As a community, we grieve the loss of a volunteer and friend and express our deepest condolences to Ruslan’s wife, Olena; Spravzhni; and the volunteer community of Kherson. NP strongly condemns the killing and maiming of civilians in indiscriminate attacks and the ongoing use of explosive weapons including heavy artillery shells and rockets by Russian Forces in and near populated areas of Kherson.     

NP urges the international community to recognise the selfless risks and sacrifices being made by people like Ruslan every day across Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, those most in need across the frontlines have been served by Ukrainian volunteers like Ruslan who are unpaid, and often unsupported with the safety support and equipment they need to protect their community. We have an urgent responsibility to meet the needs of volunteers, as well as to uplift and strengthen their efforts.  


NP is an international protection agency. Our mission is to protect civilians in violent conflicts through unarmed strategies, build peace side-by-side with local communities, and advocate for the wider adoption of these approaches to safeguard human lives and dignity.  

Spravzhni works in the Kherson region to keep their community safe amid the ongoing war by evacuating civilians in Kherson, providing overall assistance to civilians of Kherson (especially those with disabilities, children, elderly, sick), and providing support after shelling incidents. 

NP and Spravzhni stand united in their mission to protect civilians amid the conflict in Kherson. NP supports Spravzhni volunteers with: 

  • Volunteer Insurance (VIP): Launched on the day Ruslan was killed, the VIP programme, in which Ruslan was enrolled, ensures coverage for volunteers. 
  • Volunteer Resilience Program (VRP): NP's VRP offers free and confidential counselling for volunteers.  
  • Critical materials: Addressing vital needs, NP provides resources such as fuel, stipends, and sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for enhanced safety. 

Spravzhni is also a subgrantee of the consortium supported by FCDO and led by NP, which is supporting volunteer organisations delivering humanitarian assistance in dangerous front-line locations. 

Contact   

Advocacy: Felicity Gray, Global Head of Policy & Advocacy, [email protected]   

Media: Claire Guinta, External Relations Manager, [email protected]   
 

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