LUkraine peace march in Luxembourg City, 21 May 2022; Credit: Jazmin Campbell /

In an interview on, Nicolas Zharov, President of LUkraine asbl, discussed how the non-profit organisation is adapting its strategy to the evolving needs of Ukraine, amid ongoing Russian aggression, and those of Ukrainian refugees in Luxembourg.

In light of an "incredible drop" in donations, as Nicolas mentioned in an earlier interview, LUkraine asbl has been "trying to change the tactics, to find new messages, new approaches and new donors."

The non-profit is currently defining its strategy for 2024 to 2027 and Nicolas could already confirm a move away from projects which were found to be less effective than others. "We cannot do everything. [...] We tried to do everything we could in every domain we could to help people," he said, but "this approach is changing" because "the situation has changed".

LUkraine asbl has identified several pillars upon which to base its future projects, to "empower people" both in Ukraine and in Luxembourg. Nicolas emphasised, however, that "without Ukrainian victory, without reestablishing longstanding peace on the continent, none of our projects will be feasible."

On the ground in Ukraine, the main pillars are: emergency response humanitarian aid, aimed at supporting rescuers and defenders (soldiers) with medical and other supplies (e.g generators, but not weapons); education, including empowerment and democracy but also inclusion (i.e. for vulnerable groups) and exchange programmes; mental/psychological and physical health. Nicolas stressed that saving lives was a top priority for LUkraine asbl: "We need to save lives. We need to save people. Without people, nothing matters." Similarly, it was important to have an "educated" and "healthy" nation.

In Luxembourg, local projects will focus on: advocacy, including cultural diplomacy, raising awareness and building bridges between different cultures and people; education - in Luxembourg, 97 children currently attend the Ukrainian school run by LUkraine asbl and the non-profit hopes to be able to open this up to accommodate 200 children (aged 4-16). A special focus will be on IT and programming as well as (personal) finance, areas which may have "additional value" in the Grand Duchy; psychological wellbeing, for example through art therapy for children. A big focus in Luxembourg is on "community empowerment" through various classes, groups and cultural events and activities.

Whilst LUkraine asbl is changing the focus of its strategy (primarily helping to save lives and (re)build a healthy nation with healthy people), the non-profit has committed itself to finishing projects which it has already started, for example, its demining and water well projects (drilling has finished on the first of ten planned wells in southern Ukraine).

Speaking about the decision to shift focus, Nicolas explained: "We want to progress as an organisation and become a benchmark for other organisations that are just starting their paths. We want to empower ourselves but also empower our members [and] our beneficiaries. [...] We don't want to give fish to people, we want to give them fishing rods." He concluded that without change, the organisation would "not be able to be as efficient".