“Putin must pay”: The British politician-turned-Philanthropist building a humanitarian empire in Ukraine


In the identical week that European leaders started discussions for a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine, former Minister Brooks Newmark spoke in favour of a Multilateral Motion Mannequin on reparations which might safe over £500bn in compensation to assist rebuild the nation of Ukraine.

Newmark was one of many quite a few consultants consulted by the New Traces Institute to develop the authorized framework by which Russian belongings may be seized, oil revenues charged and soiled cash confiscated to construct a Ukraine Compensation Fund, following the precedent of the UN Compensation Fee after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Newmark is finest recognized for his involvement in Ukraine as a philanthropist who, via his organisation Angels for Ukraine, has rescued over 20,000 Ukrainians, together with a whole lot of orphans and amputees. “What began out with one bus”, Newmark stated on the launch in Parliament, “quickly grew to become twenty buses, three ambulances and a handful of vans”.

Brooks grew to become concerned after seeing an Instagram publish from an outdated Latvian good friend, Raitis Bullits, who was shuttling refugees fleeing throughout the Polish-Ukrainian border in his bus. After Raitis returned residence, Newmark continued increasing, and pushed the operation into Ukraine itself, beginning in Lviv after which Kyiv, then pushing east and south to Vinnytsia and Zaporizhia, then Dnipro and Kharkiv, areas utterly devastated by the bombing. Newmark was reaching ever additional into the war-torn nation, rescuing survivors as Putin’s regime more and more focused civilian areas for indiscriminate artillery fireplace.

This method of going on to essentially the most harmful areas introduced security to these in essentially the most life-threatening conditions, but additionally introduced Newmark and his staff near essentially the most brutal scenes of the struggle. “Most stunning of all was seeing a mass struggle grave in Bucha and understanding that there have been 458 our bodies buried there.”

The motion of his operation east additionally introduced Brooks, in true Dunkirk spirit, to actual bodily hazard. In July, Newmark obtained a plea from the native authorities to evacuate 1,000 girls and kids from behind Russian traces past the town of Kharkiv. Their autos needed to escape Russian mortar fireplace en path to the placement, the place they organised a path via greater than 500 landmines, alongside which they led the thousand to security.

It’s maybe for this feat that Moshe Azman, the Chief Rabbi of Kiev, has known as Brooks “the Oskar Schindler of Ukraine”.

Though he’s too modest to just accept such an epithet, it should nonetheless strike near residence. He has spoken earlier than of the consequences of his circle of relatives’s struggling and loss through the Holocaust, one thing which has instilled in him an impulsion to “arise and be counted” when confronted with humanitarian crises. “After I see a disaster, I nonetheless can’t assist myself getting concerned.”

Though Newmark describes his early involvement as an “impulse”, his parliamentary historical past suggests in any other case. A protracted-time parliamentary ‘Good friend of Ukraine’, Newmark had been launched early on to Invoice Browder, the financier and activist chargeable for the US Magnitsky Act of 2012, which punishes Russian human rights violators, and the motion which led to sanctions being imposed on 30 Russians believed complicit within the corruption which led to the loss of life of Sergei Magnitsky. In pushing for the same regulation on British statute books, Newmark discovered himself honoured with a journey ban from Russia, Syria, and Iran.

Reparations for Ukraine, nonetheless, can be on a very totally different scale to that of the Magnitsky Act. “Now we have a variety of instruments”, Brooks stated. “One is seizing belongings. One other is speaking concerning the breach of the genocide conference. It’s a genocide by any definition of the phrase.” A 3rd can be the pursuit of belongings held by the various Kleptocrats linked intently to the Putin regime.

Within the roundtable dialogue with MPs Anne-Marie Travelyan, Sir John Whittingdale and Natalie Elphicke, Baroness Hodgson and others, Newmark attracted reward for his method to Ukraine’s reconstruction. “Ukraine will want $1tn. Whether or not it’s from the IMF, ECB, or the Fed, they want some type of bridge finance in order that the rebuilding can start. However it should not be Western-driven. They need to self-determine. We should allow them – how do they need to modernise?”.

Taking classes from his expertise in Rwanda, the place he constructed an schooling charity, a trainer coaching centre and a faculty for 300 kids, Newmark factors out that they “didn’t simply resolve to repair what was already there” following the Rwandan Civil Battle and the Rwandan Genocide. “They rebuilt a whole nation, with power environment friendly and high quality investments”. So should Ukraine, Brooks argued, whether or not it’s on industrial technique, e-governance or Agri-business, however it should be as much as Ukraine to self-determine their restoration plan.

Within the full context of Newmark’s philanthropy in Ukraine, his closing remarks in Parliament ought to shock no-one. “We should name Russia a terrorist state”, he concluded, “and Putin should pay”.



It can take Ukrainians years to recuperate from the psychological scars of the struggle.

Newmark personally attested within the European Parliament in Brussels final month to the significance of supporting the psychological well being of kids and refugees as they flee such stunning situations. Alysha Tagert, Trauma Professional, joined him together with Olha Stefanyshyna, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, and collectively they highlighted the psychological and social injury that kamikaze drones, loss of life, and destruction of houses have on the inhabitants which survives. “Irrespective of how robust you’re”, Stefanyshyna spoke, “there isn’t a solution to tolerate it.”

In Westminster, Stefanyshyna informed of how Ukrainians obtain cellphone notifications alerting them to impending drone strikes. Every a kind of notifications, she mirrored to the roundtable, marked one other harmless life or piece of important infrastructure destroyed.

In addition to the 38,000 items of infrastructure together with faculties, bridges and hospitals, researchers estimate that as many as 20 million Ukrainians could have suffered from trauma, PTSD, melancholy, nervousness, or different psychosocial problems because of the struggle and the displacement it has precipitated. Newmark highlights how the reconstruction efforts should give attention to rebuilding the inhabitants, not simply the bricks and mortar, together with everybody from kids to veterans.

Tagert, who constructed the medical and social companies program for survivors of torture and trauma at TASSC Worldwide, outlined to Newmark and the opposite consultants how the funding from Russian reparations may be organised to ship emergency psychological care. Though kids and younger individuals may be extremely resilient to such trauma, if left with out assist the Ukrainian inhabitants runs the danger of rampant melancholy, dependancy and productiveness points sooner or later as invisible scars of the struggle. “Whole survivor-focused organizations” should be drawn up, with medical intervention roadmaps designed to make sure accountable and focused counselling. In a nation the place psychological well being stays deeply stigmatised, this course of should start by serving to survivors “identify and tame” psychosocial sickness.

Nevertheless, there stay speedy choices that organisations like Angels for Ukraine can implement to ameliorate the incoming Ukrainian psychological well being disaster. “Having enjoyable and enjoying with each other have been seen to be extremely efficient in treating trauma for each kids and adults.  Ukrainians want to contemplate creating areas to do that whereas the rebuilding occurs”.


Tagert additionally highlighted how charities can present funding for cheap however extremely efficient “coping toolboxes”, that are “precise containers full of gadgets that may assist them soothe themselves in a time of panic or nervousness by partaking the senses”. Amassing private and easy on a regular basis gadgets, akin to chewing gum, a stress ball, or a fidget spinner that may deliver an individual to the current second via touching, tasting, seeing, and convey them extra mindfulness, generally is a highly effective software for managing psychological situations.

Newmark himself has spoken with painful honesty previously about how psychological well being affected him since his adolescence. Because the Telegraph stories, it took Brooks till solely the previous few years to forgive his mom for the trauma he suffered early on. Maybe he sees in Ukraine a possibility to alleviate younger Ukrainians of the necessity for such extended struggling.



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