Ethnic minorities challenged by the Russian war against Ukraine

According to the last census (2001), ethnic minorities in Ukraine amounted to 10 million 757 thousand 456 people, or 22.2% of the total population. Representatives of more than 100 ethnic minorities live in Ukraine: Jews, Crimean Tatars, Gagauz people, Hutsuls, Boykos, Romani, Poles, Greeks, Georgians, Armenians, Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Russians and many others.

Russia used the presence of representatives of the Russian ethnic groups on the territory of Ukraine to accuse Ukraine of violating their rights and freedoms. It turns out that even without hostilities, Ukraine “would not have remained within its current borders due to gross violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking population.” Russia has been speculating about Ukraine’s violent ethnic policy to provoke neighboring Poland and Hungary to overtake the West of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s ethnic minorities are under attack by the Russian army in their Ukrainian homeland. The majority of ethnic Greeks live in the Donetsk region.The town of Sartana, which is less than 20 km from Mariupol and where about 8,000 Greeks used to live, was heavily bombed when the Russian army was encircling Mariupol. Two synagogues in Kharkiv and the Holocaust Memorial in Kyiv were damaged as a result of Russian shelling.

Ukrainian ethnic minorities are active in defense of Ukraine. Ukrainian Romani people serve in the Territorial Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, participate in peaceful protests in the temporarily occupied cities (including Kherson and Nova Kakhovka), and take part in guerrilla operations to seize enemy equipment (Kakhovka). Transcarpathian Roma have been on the eastern front of the struggle against the aggressor since the first days of the war. NGOs representing the Roma ethnic community volunteer, organize shelters for displaced persons, and deliver humanitarian aid from western Ukraine and other countries to the central and eastern regions. Such examples of loyalty for the sovereign Ukraine are widespread in other ethnic communities.


  • Behan Behrad, student of Medical Faculty of Karazin National University, Kharkiv
  • Vage Mamikonyan, Chairman of the Kramatorsk Armenian Community named after V. Mailyan Moshe Reuven Azman, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine.

UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media CenterUkrainian Catholic University’s analitical center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”.  We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.

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