Dear LCLUCers,

In March of 2020 Secretary-General António Guterres of the United Nations said: “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”, calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. If he only knew what he would face two years later, when five Russian missiles hit Kyiv "immediately" after he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy finished their meeting in Kyiv. There is a popular joke: If you ask someone there about COVID, they’ll shrug their shoulders “what is it?” What is happening now could not be believed in the beginning of this year. Not a single analyst suggested a scenario of a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine, which Russia keeps calling a “special operation” – a limited regional conflict in eastern Ukraine was expected by many, though. During this “special operation”, millions of people became refugees, hundreds of thousands became homeless, dead or wounded. And the war goes on, at least at the time of this writing. This conflict will have repercussions not only for Ukraine and Russia. It will affect the whole world, not only militarily. Both countries are the biggest providers of grain to many regions in the world, especially the Middle East and Africa. The disturbed supply is already felt by some countries. It is ironic that the war started right after we finished our webinar series on the impacts of regional conflicts on land-cover / land-use change. Unfortunately, our program is affected in a serious way as we have collaborations with Ukraine in the ongoing projects. The annual GOFC-GOLD SCERIN workshop was to be held in Lviv in the end of this May, but it was held virtually, hosted by our colleagues in Lviv, with the help of START. The collaborators in Sergii Skakun’s (U. Maryland) project on Ag in Ukraine had to leave Kiev and now it’s questionable how they’ll be able to function, but at least they are safe. The planned ground observations and validation activities will most likely be impossible in the near future. Read More