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Ukrainian directors urge the world to fight Russia's information war

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A group of prominent Ukrainian filmmakers has called for the world to wake up to the threat posed to democracy following Russian President Vladimir Putins invasion of their country.

“Now, more than ever, we need the help of the international community and anyone who understands that tomorrow war may be at your door,” the open letter, accessed by ‘Variety’, said. “We have talked about the war in eastern Ukraine in our films for eight years. You watched them at the festivals. But this is not a film, but our reality. And today this reality has spread throughout our country without exception.”

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The letter, circulated to the media, was signed by Oleh Sentsov (‘Rhino’); Valentyn Vasyanovych (‘Reflection’ and ‘Atlantis’); Maryna Er Gorbach (‘Klondike’); Anna Machukh, executive director, Ukrainian Film Academy and Odessa International Film Festival (OIFF); Natalia Vorozhbyt, (‘Bad Roads’); Iryna Tsilyk (‘The Earth is Blue as an Orange’); and Nariman Aliev, (‘Homeward’).

They have urged the international community to listen to the needs of Ukraine’s politicians, apply economic sanctions against Russia, and most significantly, fight an information war. In this, as ‘Variety’ puts it, they appear to endorse the adage that “truth is the first casualty in any war”.

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“The most important thing you can do now for Ukraine is to read and disseminate verified information about what is happening,” they said, attaching a list of “operative, truthful information” about Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Vorozhbyt detailed her family’s activities and wrote: “We took chairs, candles and water to the basement. I allowed my daughter to swear, because she was scared. My ex-husband enlisted in the army. We live in the centre of Europe, in the 21st century, in Ukraine. Our closest neighbours are Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Baltics, Romania. Near Germany, France, Italy, etc — we [can] go there by car. This is not just our war.”

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