"I am sitting in a warm place and the internet is available. I don’t know if that will be the case tomorrow."
Casualty of War
While the looming Russian invasion of Ukraine has many nervous about the very real possibility of all out warfare, it also presents a danger to scientific work.
Ukrainian scientists have long feared that military escalation between Russia and their country would result in lost progress in research, Nature reports. Of course, not only would the researchers’ science be hindered, but the invasion also presents a very real threat on their lives as well.
"At the moment, I am sitting in a warm place and the internet is available. I don’t know if that will be the case tomorrow," Irina Yegorchenko, a mathematician at the Institute of Mathematics in Kiev, told the journal.
Their fears are not unfounded. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it took over institutions that were previously operated by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Collaboration between Ukrainian and Russian scientists became severed, resulting in the loss of research and scientific progress in a variety of disciplines.
More recent military escalation has resulted in 18 universities throughout the disputed Luhansk and Donetsk regions of the Ukraine relocating — and forcing many scientists and researchers out of their homes and labs.
"In general, this Russian tension is aiming to create chaos in Ukraine, and harm the economic situation," Yegorchenko told Nature. "We know that we will have less funding for research, less opportunities to travel and zero chances of internal conferences in Ukraine."
In response, many of the scientists have prepped "bug out bags" that include documents, clothes, medicine, self defense tools, and food. They’ve also made sure that their phones and electronic devices are powered up in case they have to travel at a moment’s notice.
"All scientists do that," Yegorchenko said.
So while the invasion of Ukraine is likely going to result in untold death and destruction, it’s also going to have a profound impact on scientific research in the country. It’s marked up as "collateral damage," but the fact is it’s an unnecessary loss caused by the personal interests of Moscow’s strongman-in-chief.
READ MORE: Ukrainian scientists fear for their lives and future amid Russian threat [Nature]
More on Russian-Ukraine conflict: Great, Ukraine Is Doing Military Combat Drills in Chernobyl Now