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Ukrainian ministry of education pleas for Russia boycott

Universities across Ukraine have implored institutions to boycott Russia across the scientific education sector in a new letter.

Over 60 institutions signed the letter asking for Russian access to be blocked from various databases. Photo: Pexels

"Perhaps the best answer to tanks, multiple rocket launchers, and rockets is closed access to high technologies, innovations, scientific research and information support"

Over 60 institutions, from polytechnics to architectural to state universities, signed the letter asking the global education community to block access to “all scientometric databases and materials of scientific publishers for citizens and institutions” of Russia, among a raft of other policies.

“We turn to you with a big request and confidence that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, protect Europe and, finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression,” the letter reads.

The document was primarily signed by education minister Serhiy Shkharlet, as well as four People’s Deputies of Ukraine and the president of the national academy of sciences.

“This letter, signed by the ministry of education and science is the third we have signed as Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv to dismiss Russian scholars and journals from scientometric databases,” Ksenia Smyrnova, vice rector for international cooperation at the university, told The PIE News.

 “The expectation is close the relations off from Russian universities, and this is one of the first steps – because it is impossible to cooperate with them in such a provision in light of the Russian aggression.

“We’re also asking governments to strengthen sanctions against Russia”

“We’re also asking governments to strengthen sanctions against Russia – which would be more powerful for the economy and for the whole community,” Smyrnova continued.

The letter clearly states that the world gives a “worthy rebuff to the aggressor through the imposition of sanctions”, but that the scientific community needs to “have its say”.

The letter was followed by the news that, as of March 7, the EUA has suspended membership of 12 Russian universities, but are also advising member universities to ensure on a “case-by-case basis” that continuation of education and research collaborations with Russian academics “remains appropriate” at this time.

The European Commission has also said cooperation with Russian entities in research, science and innovation would be halted.

“Perhaps the best answer to tanks, multiple rocket launchers, and rockets is closed access to high technologies, innovations, scientific research and information support,” the letter continued.

Among the requests is to rule it impossible for Russian institution-affiliated scientists to participate in international grant programs, suspending participations of researchers, students and institutions in academic mobility programs and boycotting attempts to hold scientific events within Russia.

“It’s going to take some time, of course – it’s not a one day solution,” Smyrnova acknowledged.

Another hope from the university is that some key data allowances for Ukraine are given – while also blocking out Russia’s access entirely.

“March would usually be the time for data gathering here – for example, we are currently unable to access our QS rankings database – it’s impossible with our cabinets and offices closed,” Smyrnova said.

“So we are asking if organisations like QS where we have those databases we can currently not access to prolong the period for reviewing them, our give some sort of exemption to Ukraine,” she added.

In a response from QS on March 8, no specific mention of such access for Ukrainians was mentioned, but it Russian and Belarusian entries are being “redacted from new QS university rankings”.

Smyrnova also pointed to the fact that there are already funds set up to try and renovate the universities caught in the crossfire.

“I do hope in the end, that these universities can be rebuilt,” Smyrnova said.

“We’re looking to some aspects of how this could be done, but at the moment we are trying to set up specific accounts for aiding renovation,” she added.

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