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February 10th, 2023

Ukraine: Development and War

by Luca Reale

On the 24th of February, it will be one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. As we near the anniversary of the invasion, the war continues to have life-changing effects for millions of people, including members of our team.

The international community has come together to condemn the war and show their support for Ukraine. Contributions from around the world have totalled nearly 100 billion euros given towards humanitarian aid, military support, and maintaining essential infrastructure. 

We want to help Ukraine’s efforts however we can. We aim to raise £2,400 in donations for British-Ukrainian Aid, a charity providing medical supplies, support, and equipment to Ukraine as well as funding and support for individuals affected by the war. 

British-Ukrainian Aid is operated entirely by volunteers, and 100% of the money donated goes towards supporting Ukraine. 

Contributions will be used to supply essential items such as stretchers, first aid kits, power generators, and ambulances. 

As the anniversary of the war is approaching, we wanted to reflect on how the war has intersected with our world of IT and software development and share the story of how the Drewl team managed to pull through together during these challenging times. 

Ukraine’s IT industry

Ukrainian developers have long been recognised as some of the best in the world. The country’s IT industry has shown rapid growth, fast becoming one of the country’s largest exports. In 2021, the Ukrainian IT industry grew by 36%, reaching $6.8 billion in exports. 

Even during the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the IT industry continued to grow and, according to IT Ukraine, “remains the only export industry that stably generates foreign currency income for the economy of Ukraine in war conditions.” As such, IT companies play a crucial part in supporting the country’s economy.

So, if you need good developers or designers, consider hiring from Ukraine. You’ll get some top-tier talent while contributing to Ukraine’s economy.

The effects of the war on our team

Drewl works with remote teams from all over the world, and some of our key engineers are located in Ukraine.

In the wake of the invasion, many of our team members have had their world turned upside down. Ukrainian colleagues have had to deal with the strain of having their country under attack, as well as needing to relocate, either internationally or to safer parts of Ukraine. For some, this was the second time having to go through this, after already having left their homes following the 2014 War in Donbas.

Additionally, our Russian colleagues have had to escape their country to avoid being conscripted into a war they disagree with, or to escape political repercussions from an increasingly repressive regime.

Development work during the war

Despite the ongoing war, Ukrainians have managed to adapt and keep on working.

However, the conflict has drastically affected work life in Ukraine. With Russian attacks targeting key infrastructure sites, there have been power shortages across the country. 

Many development companies have had to work from bomb shelters, relying on power generators and satellite internet. For many remote teams, however, electricity and internet connection are not guaranteed.

For example, our lead backend developer had agreed to share some of his experiences working from Ukraine, but recent Russian attacks on Odesa left him without power and we couldn’t speak to him in time for this article. 

These kinds of incidents have been common since the war began, and we have all adapted to working around an uncertain schedule. The safety of our employees is always our top priority. We do everything we can to ensure their well-being and offer support whenever possible, whether it’s financial support or simply being understanding and flexible around their needs. 

Despite these circumstances, our Ukrainian team have continuously shown incredible resilience in the face of these difficult times.

In an interview with CNBC, one CEO said of his Ukrainian developers: “These Ukrainians are built different.”

And we have to agree.

In the face of uncertainty and danger, they have shown themselves to be irrepressible.

They have carried on working under extreme conditions, and not only that, but they’ve done some damn fine work. Through it all, they’ve kept their sense of humour, optimism, and strength of character. 

When the famous slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was coined during the London Blitz in WW2, it exemplified a state of mind that has taken on an almost mythical status: The ability of regular people to show courage every day under impossible circumstances. To be defiant by just carrying on. 

This same bravery is shown by the people of Ukraine in their perseverance and indomitable spirit. History will remember them the same way.

We remain hopeful that Ukraine will soon be celebrating peace and victory. But in our eyes, and the eyes of the world, they have already won.

We want to say thank you to all our Ukrainian colleagues and express our sincere admiration. You are all extraordinary people doing extraordinary things under impossible circumstances.

We stand with Ukraine

The world’s response to the war has shown us what can happen when people come together to support a common cause.

With the increasing severity of Russian attacks, it’s more important than ever that we stand with the people of Ukraine. Any and all contributions to the fundraiser are welcome, and no donation is too small. 

It doesn’t cost a lot to make an impact. Just £20 is enough to provide a tourniquet that could save someone’s life.

You can donate here.

Additional links:

Find out more about British-Ukrainian Aid

The latest news on Ukraine 

Development companies in Ukraine 

Freelance developers in Ukraine 

Luca Reale
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