By starting a war, Russia condemned itself to international isolation and pariah status. This means that we scientists cannot adequately fulfill our duties. Scientific research would be impossible without significant collaboration with our colleagues from other nations…. We strongly recommend that all military measures against Ukraine be stopped immediately.
The lines above belong to Ukrainian scientists. There is a strong desire to help Ukrainian scientists. However, it is just as difficult to maintain sanctions against Russia while maintaining communication channels.
Thousands of Russian academics and science journalists signed a statement in the days following their country's invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Many more scholarly commentaries, particularly those from Russian expatriate experts, have criticized the conflict.
Despite this, in a document signed by the heads of hundreds of Russian academic and research institutes, it was announced that he supported the war and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As the war continued, the Kharkiv Institute of Science and Technology and its neutron source were severely damaged by Russian missiles in early March.
Millions of Ukrainians were displaced by the war by mid-April. They were among the roughly 15.000 doctoral scientists, or one-sixth of the nation's total, many of whom had left the country, according to Vaughan Turekian, executive director of policy and global affairs at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Ordinary people around the world accept Ukrainian refugees and help them settle for an indefinite period, as well as offer money, provide childcare and other forms of assistance.
Scientists are also looking for ways to help their troubled colleagues, from offering jobs and distance courses to planning the future of science in Ukraine. Meanwhile, scientists and scientific institutes are unsure how to work with colleagues associated with Russian universities.
David Reitze, director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, explains:
“I believe that scientific collaboration should transcend geopolitics. Open scientific collaborations can serve as powerful examples of how international collaboration can benefit the global community.”
“It is unthinkable for me to work with experts who support Putin's brazen act of aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” he continues.
"You are always hurting innocent people with sanctions," said Helmut Dosch, chairman of the board of Desy, the German Electron Synchrotron Laboratory in Hamburg.
On the other hand, DESY stopped cooperating with Russian organizations one day after Russia invaded Ukraine.
“We wanted to send a clear signal,” Dosch explains. He goes on to say that this is a first for DESY.
“Never before has scientific cooperation been stopped because of political considerations.” Dosch also returned his honorary doctorate from the Moscow Kurchatov Institute, which he received in 2010.
Dosch stresses that he and DESY are in contact with individual Russian experts who oppose "aggressive war." He believes that in order to protect scientists, such relationships must be carefully managed. “We assume the secret service is keeping an eye on us.”