Namati Mailers

Defending justice in Ukraine

Dear Friends,

My name is Yevgen Poltenko. I write to you today from Ukraine, as a member of the Legal Empowerment Network and a representative of grassroots justice organizations across the nation.

Since February 24, our colleagues all over the country have found themselves in a war zone. We never believed that the invasion would reach such a terrible scale. We were not prepared for the shelling of civilian areas, or the use of destructive weapons in areas that have never before experienced conflict. But as a result of Russian aggression, ​​Ukrainian society has become more cohesive, stronger, and more efficient. And we, as legal empowerment organizations, are playing our role.

We are mobilizing all of our grassroots networks and resources to help our communities. People come to our paralegals and lawyers for legal assistance on documents for crossing the border, rights under martial law, temporary housing and resettlement, support for small businesses, and other matters. We are providing logistical support for the distribution of humanitarian aid, including food, clothing, and medicines. We are assisting with crisis management, helping to improve communication between local governments, residents, volunteers, and internally displaced persons.

We are staying strong for our communities. Even those who are in Russian-occupied territories continue to work. They are often the only ones who provide legal assistance to people in these areas now.

Stand with us.

We are forming a coalition of Ukrainian organizations and activists — including other Network members — who are strengthening the legal capacity of communities throughout the country. We will coordinate grassroots initiatives, share effective experiences, connect legal aid requests with a wider web of lawyers, and create humanitarian supply chains and safe evacuation routes. Please, support our communities and our work. Even in wartime, legal empowerment is essential.

Donate to our Coalition

To all of our friends and allies in the Legal Empowerment Network and beyond, we thank you for your solidarity. Our struggle is not only for the future of Ukraine, but for all who are defending justice at the frontiers of democracy.


With gratitude,

Yevgen Poltenko
Member of the Network Advisory Committee for the Legal Empowerment Network and Executive Director, Legal Development Network (LDN), Ukraine


March 17, 2022 | Yevgen Poltenko