When I was growing up, the notion of war between Russia and Ukraine was unthinkable. Not just because war, and the loss of innocent lives, is always wrong, but because to me, Ukrainians and Russians are kin.
I know this because, when Vladyslav and I founded Revolut in London, it did not matter where we came from. It felt like we were two brothers with a purpose and a big vision.
And today, it still does.
Because even though I came from Russia and I’m now a British citizen, by descent I am also Ukrainian. My father is Ukrainian. I have family and friends throughout Ukraine - people who I care about deeply, and about whom I am enormously concerned.
So, for me, as for so many, the idea of a war between Russia and Ukraine is not just horrifying, it is almost impossible to believe. As recently as last week, I was still convinced that a diplomatic solution would be reached, and it was with complete disbelief and sadness that I looked on at the violence of this past week.
At that time - while still hoping that it would never actually come to war - my focus, just like my colleagues’, was on the safety and wellbeing of our people in Ukraine. I don’t need to repeat what we’ve already said about our efforts to keep them safe, but I would like to thank all Revoluters who have worked so tirelessly on their behalf. And I want our people in Ukraine to know that they are my top priority.
In choosing what to do or say publicly, however, I also had to first consider the wellbeing of our colleagues in Russia. They have done nothing wrong; they have simply helped build Revolut, supporting their own families through their hard work, just like their colleagues in Ukraine (or London or New York or Sydney or Mumbai, or anywhere else in the world where our people are based). I was, and remain, mindful of them in all of my actions.
However I would like to make clear, publicly, what I’ve felt privately from day one: war is never the answer. This war is wrong and totally abhorrent. I am horrified and appalled at its impact, and I add my voice to those around the world calling for an immediate end to the fighting, and a commitment to diplomatic solutions. Not one more person should die in this needless conflict.
What I believe shouldn’t matter. Opinions are of little consequence. What really matters is actions. And in addition to helping our colleagues, we at Revolut have also made it possible for millions of our customers to donate instantly to the Red Cross Ukraine appeal.
On Friday, we opened instant, fee-free donations to our customers in the UK, Lithuania, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria and Singapore. Our customers donated more than £1 million within 24 hours. Since then, we’ve added 17 more European countries to that list, with even more around the world to come. We also ensured that people who wanted to send money to banks in Ukraine could still do that, and we’ve waived the associated transfer fees.
But Revolut can still do more. So today, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, I am announcing that every donation made to the Red Cross Ukraine appeal will be matched by Revolut. For every pound or euro or złoty or franc donated by a Revolut customer to the appeal, Revolut will donate the same again, from today for the next 7 days, up to £1.5m.
I hope that our commitment will help the victims of this war. I sincerely hope that a diplomatic solution can be found quickly, allowing peace to be restored to the region.
And I can only hope that day will come very soon.
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