Robert G. Rose first traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, in the Summer of 2012, just 18 months before the 2014 Revolution of Dignity (Maidan Revolution), when Ukrainians ousted their Russian-leaning president and demanded a more democratic government and society.
In August 2019, Rose returned to Kyiv to retrace his steps and revisit sites of the Revolution on a solo film trip for Raw Travel TV. On this trip, Rose met many young creative artists, including Anastasia Zui, an up-and-coming cinematographer whose family was refugeed from the Donbas region in the 2014 Russian invasion.
In November of that same year, Rose returned, this time to film in Lviv, Chornobyl, and Kyiv. On this trip, he officially added Anastasia to the Raw Travel crew of videographers in what would begin a collaboration of filming through Europe over the next few years. You can view content from the 2019 film trips HERE (link to 2019).
In the process, Rose learned more about the long and challenging history of Russia’s multi-century effort to eliminate Ukrainian history, culture, and language, control its destiny, and commit genocide against the people of Ukraine.
Upon the full invasion by Russia in 2022, Rose wanted to help his friends fight for democracy, freedom, and their very survival. He began raising money for Ukraine by fundraising and selling merchandise to support various humanitarian efforts as well as Anastasia’s father’s troop fighting in Ukraine.
In June of 2022, Rose traveled to Ukraine with Anastasia, who had escaped the invasion and illegal occupation with her little brother and was now refugeed in Paris. In June of 2022, Rob and Anastasia made their way to Western Ukraine. Anastasia continued to Kyiv to reunite with her mother, a doctor, who stayed behind to serve her patients and country. You can read about their journey HERE (link to 2022 trip).
In 2022, Raw Travel TV’s “Steadfast in Ukraine” premiered, which documented his trip to Ukraine with Anastasia. In 2023 the follow-ups “Empathy Equals Strength” and “Incredible Lightness of Being with Ukraine,” all the while continuing to raise funds for humanitarian and military aid.
In 2023, Rob made contact with the inactive U.S. Marine, Mark Cary who invited Rob along on his fifth humanitarian mission to go deeper into Ukraine. Rob jumped at the opportunity and in June of 2023, Rob headed to Ukraine to hook up with Mark and his humanitarian aid partner, Hymie Rutherford from the United Kingdom, and his old pal Anastasia who was now living again in Kyiv.
Through a combination of solo travel, embedding with Mark and Hymie, and travels with Anastasia, Rob was able to visit several towns, villages, and cities all over Ukraine including several spots in or near active bombardment such as Kherson, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and more. Rob’s travels coincidentally coincided to be just days after the Russians blew up the Kharkova Dam and flooded massive areas of Kherson Oblast and he was just miles away from the action when the now-deceased (murdered?) Wagner chief and war criminal Yevgeny Prigozhin was leading his ill-fated coupe against Putin’s Russian forces.
The life-changing monthlong epic journey was full of ups and downs, joy and sorrow, boredom, fun, and, at times, yes, danger.
Rob’s forthcoming multi-part documentary series “My Summer in Ukraine” will try to communicate the things he witnessed during his journey to Ukraine. Current plans call for it to premiere on Raw Travel TV in 2024 before hitting the film festival circuit.
LINK TO TRAILER