Ukrainian WOD Insight Founders Say Humanitarian Aid isn’t the Answer, Actively Stopping Russia is

March 20, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Taya Kholodova
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Twin sisters Nastya and Taya Kholodova—Ukrainian software developers, CrossFit enthusiasts and the founders of WOD Insight, an app that can be likened to Strava but for the CrossFit athlete—are adamant that sending clothes or food to Ukraine is all but useless. Instead, the world needs to focus their attention on stopping Russia.

  • “Way too many people are focused on helping refugees with humanitarian aid. That is an easy task to execute on…(The) ugly reality is most of the humanitarian aid will be rotten somewhere on (the) Polish-Ukrainian border,” said Taya, who relocated from Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine, to Kamianets-Podilskyi in western Ukraine after the Russian invasion, while her twin sister lives in Washington, DC.

The situation now: Though Taya is currently in the safer western part of Ukraine, and Nastya is in the United States, their mother and grandmother are still in Kharkiv, as their grandmother isn’t able to walk.

  • “It is a big issue for older people. They simply don’t want to move and some of them can’t,” said Taya, who has no intention of leaving her country at this point. 
  • Another contentious issue for both Taya and Nastya is how the world is referring to the situation as a war. “This is not a Ukrainian crisis or a war in Ukraine. This is (an) unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Taya said. Further, just saying “no war please…will do nothing except dilute attention from (the) root cause of the issue.” 

One big thing: One of the hardest things for both Nastya and Taya has been how their friends and family in Russia have effectively turned against them since Russia invaded their country at the end of February.

  • “(Our) relationships are destroyed with people who used to be our friends or family in Russia…Our Russian connections told us that Ukraine deserves to be bombed and levelled to the ground, (a) statement that we haven’t learned how to process yet,” Nastya said.
  • That being said, CrossFit Games qualifier, Russian Roman Khrennikov, who just relocated to the United States, has continued to show his support. “He is one of the nicest people we know. He is one of the few who said he is sorry for what is happening between our countries,” Nastya said.
    • Editor’s Note: WOD Insight has since cancelled sponsorship for Roman Khrennikov.

The Bottom Line: “Russia must be stopped. It will solve all problems with the war (and) refugee (crisis) immediately,” said Taya, who admitted she and her sister are struggling hard right now. 

  • “I can’t sleep, eat or exercise… Everything we grew up with has been destroyed during (the) past two weeks,” Nastya said. 
  • Taya added: “I am really bad. The last two weeks were horrible. We are fighting as hard as we can.”

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