Private Companies and Citizens Offer Creative Aid for Ukraine

While our political leaders are giving rousing speeches in Washington, companies like Ahrefs, Microsoft, BP, and Airbnb are taking immediate steps to intervene in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

President Biden has put Russia on blast: “To the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime: no more,” said the 46th President. But the brunt of support for Ukraine appears to come not from elected officials but companies and citizen support.

Weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, companies both domestic and foreign have offered creative ways to get individuals engaged in this crisis against the Shield of Europe.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs, a powerful software company focusing on SEO optimization and backlinks, have made a significant impact with their latest donation incentives. Their software is an essential tool for any company aspiring to maximize its digital presence, and Ahrefs is leveraging its success to make a difference.

Ahrefs has been an outspoken voice against Russia. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not stopping,” they warned on Twitter. “Our colleagues, friends, and families are in shelters, taking up arms to defend their communities; at risk of losing their lives at any moment,” they said in a post. The popular software company then announced they were blocking all access from Russia and Belarus.

In exchange for donations to Come Back Alive – the largest foundation providing support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2014 – Ahrefs offers users extended subscriptions. This perk is accessible with any donation, either to Come Back Alive or to a list of approved charities.

In addition, supporters can send proof of their donation to support@ahrefs.com to receive subscription benefits.

“We are doing our best to make sure Putin’s values do not spread further, even beyond our borders,” says a statement on Come Back Alive. They have already raised over 20 million.

Companies like Ahrefs offer creative ways to get people active and invested in an invasion that may seem far away but could have implications close to home in the future. Companies in the technology, energy, and travel sectors have had their own unique responses to the invasion of Ukraine.

Microsoft

Microsoft is one of the leading Western companies getting involved to assist Ukraine. In addition to humanitarian assistance and financial contributions to aid groups, the tech company is also helping to protect Ukraine from cyberattacks.

Microsoft detected a uniquely malicious type of malware they named FoxBlade. Their theory that Russia was behind the cyberattack has not yet been confirmed, but FoxBlade was discovered mere hours before the Russian invasion began.

These cyberattacks with wiper malware, “could mark an escalation against various Ukrainian targets,” according to experts who spoke with the Wall Street Journal. In an atypical move, Microsoft communicated directly with Ukrainian leaders. “We’ve continued to share… intelligence about specific threats or compromises in their environments,” said Tom Burt, President of Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft.

Support that goes beyond financial contributions showcases the individual identities of these companies. These opportunities to do more than offer solidarity take back power in a moment when people can feel powerless and beholden to graphic news reports.

BP Gas

The Energy sector, which has direct entanglements with Russia, has not hesitated in getting involved. For example, BP announced plans to exit a 19.75% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer. “The Rosneft holding is no longer aligned with BP’s business and strategy,” says chairman Helge Lund.

Rosneft was critical of this decision, blaming media pressure rather than genuine support for Ukraine. It should not be shocking that these allies of fake news propaganda would take up former President Trump’s battle cry. Rosneft issued a statement critiquing BP’s decision, claiming it “was preceded by a campaign of Western media that was replete with false reports and conclusions.”

Airbnb

Airbnb is providing temporary housing for up to 100,000 refugees in the tourism world. The company will cover these stays, but individual hosts are also getting involved, pledging free or discounted rooms. “We know that hosts on Airbnb and guests around the world will be eager to stand up and assist this massive effort in the coming days,” said a spokesperson for the vacation app.

With the invasion of Ukraine a daily reality of international catastrophe, many people are looking for ways to get involved and support Ukraine. Be on the lookout for companies like Ahrefs, which offers contributors an extra incentive for donating.

Private support for Ukraine can only be expected to grow as the invasion wears on. If only our elected leaders could take a more active role, one imagines the invasion would have a speedier conclusion than we can look forward to.

“This alone will not make the war stop,” says Ahrefs on Twitter, “but we are standing up and not looking away. Because when all of us, together, take our stand, that is when it will stop.” Encouraging words from a small software company just looking to make a difference.

 

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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Justin McDevitt is a playwright and essayist from New York City. His latest play HAUNT ME had its first public reading at Theater for the New City in September. He is a contributor for RUE MORGUE where he lends a queer eye to horror cinema in his column STAB ME GENTLY.