Letter from the Front Lines – Kyiv

Submitted by Richard Wolfram, Old Greenwich

To the Editor,

I’m writing in response to a request I received yesterday from two fellow competition (antitrust) lawyers in Kyiv, co-founders of one of the leading law firms in Ukraine, who asked that I forward an e-mail I received from them.

Last night I sent a letter to a Russian competition lawyer I know. I copied my two Ukrainian colleagues on that letter. Among other comments, I wrote to my Russian colleague, “I appeal to the better lights of the Russian people, such as you, to light a fire under a movement to depose Putin, before he takes your whole country down, and wreaks even more terrible death and destruction not only on the innocent citizens of Ukraine but also quite possibly on other countries and peoples as well.” 

I added, “I assume you will recognize the names of two of your fellow competition lawyers [copied on this e-mail], in Kyiv, whose offices, for all we know right now, are being bombed on orders from your president.”

My two Ukrainian attorney contacts, copied on my e-mail, responded with an automatically generated reply which I’ve included below, reprinted in full, exactly as written, unedited.  (I have removed the senders’ names for their own protection, although they signed their letter, did not hide their own e-mail addresses and thus sought no such protection for themselves.) 

I encourage readers to forward the letter on to their contacts, as the attorneys themselves request. 

This is unfiltered, from the front lines, and of course timely as of a day or two ago.  I call attention particularly to the concluding phrase of the ‘Message to Russians in English.’


Dear friends,

first of all we want to let you know, that we & members of our families are safe & sound and have successfully sustained third day of the most recent russian invasion.

Russians keep attacking Ukraine on land and at sea all along the border, having however Kyiv as the main target to overturn the Ukrainian government. Over the last 24 hours some assets of civil & military infrastructure all across the country were again brutally attacked by all kind of weaponry, – Kyiv, Odessa, Luhansk, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kherson, Rivne, etc.

Brave, strong & perfectly trained Ukrainian Armed Forces have been doing great job, demonstrated excellent courage in successfully responding to the attacks and delivered remarkable statistics, – as of today, 3000 + russian soldiers killed, 20 + russian helicopters, transport & military jets, 80 + tanks and 350 + military machines of various kind were successfully destroyed. In the most recent war history our enemy has never experienced such heavy losses in such a short period of time!

Several civil & military infrastructure assets all across the country are destroyed or severely damaged by enemy shellings. Chornobyl Nuclear Station is still under control of Russian troops [invaded through Belarus border], which they use as a safe base, – apparently, Ukrainian Army wouldn’t dare to shoot on the nuclear object. Unfortunately, school & kindergartens are also in the shooting line.

Martial law & curfew introduced all over the country.

Our international friends and partners keep supporting Ukraine but the assistance is obviously not timely enough given the situation on the ground.

Ukraine is a brave country in Europe, which is not EU – or NATO – member, but which is the solid shield for EU & NATO – countries these days. On daily basis we keep receiving hundreds of words of support from our friends all over the world, which are safely arriving and truly appreciated BUT we have to realize that the world is too late with your words of support & prayers and it is high time to provide more tangible support to Ukraine.

Remember, battleground is not Ukraine, battleground is EUROPE! Today they are attacking our homes, tomorrow – your families will be in russian shooting lines! While brave Ukrainian Army is doing its best to be the strong shield for your families on European grounds, we expect other countries to wake up asap, face the reality to stop the aggression!

Hurry up, every hour counts!

What can you do?

  1. Speak up to your politicians and wake them up, make pressure on them to support introduction of all possible sanctions from hell against russia and regime – supporters;
  2. Military help of any kind is very important these days;
  3. Donate to Ukrainian army (bank accounts your can find on ARZINGER Linkedin & FB pages as well as here https://bank.gov.ua/en/news/all/natsionalniy-bank-vidkriv-spetsrahunok-dlya-zboru-koshtiv-na-potrebi-armiyi);
  4. Spread the news in the world and raise awareness about the war in Europe, – let each and every person you know about the real situation on Ukrainian grounds;
  5. Go on the streets and join demonstrations to stop the war in Ukraine;
  6. Challenge your russian friends & colleagues, make them sorry for their ignorance;
  7. Repost & forward this message, make sure, that it reaches the more desks as possible.

Pray for Ukraine and Ukrainian people and support Ukrainian Army!

Message to Russians in English:

Even if you live in Europe, Asia or Americas and do your best not to notice the situation in Ukraine, you should very clearly understand, that the blood of Ukrainians in on your hands and each and every Russian is responsible for this! War is a disaster for Ukraine but it is much more harmful & damaging for russia and each & every russian on this planet. Russian soldiers are dying in Ukraine and russian economy keeps collapsing on hourly basis. Russians as nation are turning into isolated outlaws in the world, your today’s friends will avoid you and will be ashamed to shake your hands, you personally will be ashamed to realize, that you are russian. It will not be possible for several generations of Russians to atone for these sins. BUT there is still a chance to redeem yourself, – go on the streets and get rid of the criminal!

Сообщение для русских:

Даже если ты кофортно живешь в Европе, Азии или Америке, делая вид, что ничего не происходит, ты должен четко понять, что кровь украинцев на твоих руках и каждый русский в ответе за эти преступления. Война – это страшно, но она приносит больше вреда россии и каждому русскому на этой планете. В Украине умирают русские солдаты, а экономика россии с каждым часом рушится в пропасть. Русские становятся руконеподаваемыми изгоями на международной арене и очень скоро твоим друзьям будет стыдно общаться с тобой и твоими детьми, а тебе будет стыдно осознавать, что ты русский. Несколько поколений русских не смогут отмыться от этих грехов. Еще не поздно что-то изменить и искупить вину, – выходите на улицы и свергайте преступный режим.
We will do our best to keep our operations on all our locations (Kyiv, L’viv, Odessa) ongoing as long as possible BUT we don’t know, how the situation will develop on the ground and cannot exclude some communication interruptions should infrastructure fail. We ask for your understanding, that for obvious reasons our priorities have shifted at the moment & responses on business matters may take some time.


To this, I add only the following exchange between Rick and Victor Laszlo, from Casablanca:

Rick:  “Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this? I mean what you’re fighting for.”

Victor Laszlo:  “You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.”

Richard Wolfram
Old Greenwich