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A year on since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Rockstar Slava Vakarchuk urges Ukrainians to ‘keep going’ in exclusive tribute concert /

Since the start of the war, Crown Agents International Development has raised more than £15 million to support the humanitarian response in Ukraine. Focus now shifts to reconstruction and recovery

Rockstar, Sviatoslav (Slava) Vakarchuk has urged Ukrainians to ‘keep going’ as the country approaches the one-year mark since the start of Russia’s illegal invasion. The musician was in London this week for an exclusive concert organised in partnership with Crown Agents International Development (CAID) and the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom, with support from the Embassy of Ukraine, the Royal Bank of Canada and Jefferies.

‘A Night for Ukraine’ was aimed at showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine and bringing together key stakeholders and partners to support Ukraine’s ongoing reconstruction and recovery efforts through Crown Agents’ charitable arm, CAID. HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, who is the patron of CAID, and David Rutley MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, were also in attendance.

When the war started, Slava, the lead singer of Okean Elzy, the most famous and most decorated Ukrainian rock band, signed up to join the army but was ordered to go and sing instead. Singing songs inspired by love and pride, Slava has toured across Ukraine to raise the morale of soldiers and civilians, and worldwide to raise awareness of the war. He said:

“It’s a great privilege to be here. For us, Ukrainians knowing that you have such strong support from the world really makes a huge difference. It gives you courage, inspiration, and self-confidence.

“We always know…we always feel that we will win with your support. And we really appreciate that.”

His playlist for the evening included some of his most popular songs and an exclusive live performance of his upcoming single, We Will Never Be the Same, set to be released as a soundtrack to French filmmaker, Bernard-Henri Lévy’s new film, Slava Ukraini.

Canada has the second-largest Ukrainian diaspora in the world. Speaking at the event, H.E. the Honourable Ralph E. Goodale, P.C., the High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom said:

“Freedom-loving people everywhere stand in awe of the Ukrainian people – their strength and skill, their determination and resilience, their tenacity, courage and valour.  They are today on the GLOBAL frontline for democracy. And they are fighting that fight for ALL of us.

“Canada is proud to be among [the] strong coalition of freedom-loving friends of Ukraine.  So is the United Kingdom.  We HAVE been there from the very beginning, and we WILL be there until the job is well and truly done. But for tonight, our attention is on the Ukrainian people and we celebrate their indomitable spirit. ”

H.E. Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK, on his part said:

“Over the [last] year, we have been talking about great tragedy, great sacrifice, and the great courage and strength of the Ukrainians who are fighting [one of the largest armies] in the world, and doing it quite successfully with your help and assistance. Without you, we won’t be here.

“Slava in Ukrainian [means] simply glory. [Tonight, Slava] will bring us back to Ukraine…how it is now, how it is fighting, how it is surviving, how it is celebrating, and how it is loving.

“I’m so happy to see all good friends of Ukraine.”

Having personally visited Ukraine last year and seen first-hand what is most needed on the ground, Fergus Drake OBE, CEO of Crown Agents said:

“I am hugely thankful and proud to say that conversations related to this evening have raised over £3.3 million for ongoing lifesaving support.  The needs are great and growing though, and the reconstruction of the country will be a mission we must undertake together. I want to thank everyone in this room for their continued support. It is saving lives every single day.”

“Crown Agents has been working in Ukraine for more than 25 years and now, more than ever, remain committed to continuing to support the people of Ukraine, working closely with the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders on the ground.”

Crown Agents in Ukraine

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the Crown Agents’ teams in Ukraine and across the globe mobilised a humanitarian response within 24 hours. Having worked in Ukraine for 25 years and been embedded in the Ministry of Health for the last five years, Crown Agents works closely with donors, development partners and corporates to assist those citizens that have remained in the country.

To date, Crown Agents has procured and delivered over 750,000 lifesaving items to those affected by the war, including 97,000 trauma kits, 153,000 medical devices, 50,000 food kits, 36,000 hygiene kits, 400 oxygen concentrators, 91 premature baby incubators, 192 generators, and patient monitors.

CEO Fergus Drake OBE with Tetiana Korotchenko, Crown Agents Ukraine Country Director, with one of 97,000 Medical Trauma Kits transported to Ukraine

Crown Agents International Development (CAID), is now fundraising for the sustainable reconstruction of 100 healthcare facilities, having already secured funds to rehabilitate 50. This means that CAID will be responsible for restoring over three-quarters (76%) of the healthcare facilities in Ukraine, enabling health service provision for over half a million Ukrainians every month.

CAID is also working with Civil Society Organisations to provide training for Ukrainian doctors in prosthetics, rehabilitative therapy, and PTSD care. Partnering with Superhumans Ukraine, CAID aims to raise funds to leverage government funding ensuring that the organisation’s centre in the West of Ukraine can fit as many children as possible with prosthetics at the first opportunity. The new centre will operate several departments, including surgical, trauma, physical, PTSD and paediatric reconstruction.

For information about CAID and how you can support Crown Agents’ Ukraine response, please contact:

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Media Contact

For further information about Crown Agents’ Ukraine response, high-resolution images and/or to request an interview, please contact:

Angela Kolongo
Senior Communications Manager
Mobile: +44 (0)7890 959712

Notes to Editors

About Slava

Sviatoslav (Slava) Vakarchuk is the founder and leader of Okean Elzy, Ukraine’s most successful and popular rock band. Since 1994 Okean Elzy has released 10 studio albums and conducted numerous concert tours around Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe.

In 2015, Slava became a Yale World Fellow, becoming the third fellow from Ukraine since the program launched. From 2015-2016, Slava gave several lectures and presentations at UC Berkeley, Fordham, Columbia and Harvard. He was also a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL).

Slava is also known for his social and cultural projects. Together with the members of his band, he actively supported the International Organization for Migration and MTV Europe’s campaign “People Are Not For Sale”. In 2015 Sviatoslav Vakarchuk was declared the most active Ukrainian philanthropist.

He is the founder of “Lyudi Maybutnyogo” (People of the Future) Charity Foundation.

About Crown Agents

Crown Agents is the UK not-for-profit international development company with decades of experience supporting governments, working in some of the most difficult contexts in the world and focusing on the most vulnerable in society.

Crown Agents’ work reaches over 120 million people in 80 countries, with expertise in Procurement Reform, Public Sector Transformation, Humanitarian & Stabilisation, Climate Change, Last Mile Supply Chain, Health System Strengthening, and Training & Professional Development.

For more information about Crown Agents, visit:

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About Crown Agents International Development

Crown Agents International Development (CAID) is a registered charity (No. 1192249) and a member of the Crown Agents Group with a shared mission to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems and deliver lasting change for vulnerable populations. Formed in 2020, it immediately responded to the COVID-19 emergency, procuring and delivering 199 concentrators and 385 pulse oximeters to Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe, and 325 healthcare workers were provided with related training, along with a tailored patient education communications strategy for each of the respective countries.

With access to knowledge, experience and skills of experts and wide-ranging networks across the public and private sectors in over 80 countries, CAID can rapidly scale up, particularly in response to emergency situations.

For more information about CAID, visit:

About the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom

The High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom is Canada’s diplomatic mission in the UK and the seat of Canada’s permanent representation to the International Maritime Organization. As part of Canada’s foreign ministry, known as Global Affairs Canada, we help define, shape and advance Canada’s interests and values in a complex global environment. We manage Canada’s diplomatic relations and promote international trade with the UK and provide consular assistance to Canadians residing in or travelling through the country. We support Canada’s international development, humanitarian and peace and security assistance efforts. We also help contribute to national security and development of international law.