US to fund printing of more than 3 million textbooks for Ukrainian students after Russia destroys printing houses

Damond Isiaka
5 Min Read


CNN
 — 

The United States will fund the printing of more than three million textbooks for Ukrainian students to use in the coming school year amid escalated Russian attacks on Ukrainian printing facilities that are part of Moscow’s war “against the Ukrainian people,” US senior administration officials told CNN.

“By striking Ukrainian printing presses, Russia is seeking to disrupt the production of Ukrainian textbooks and the education of Ukrainian children,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement to CNN. “We will not let Russia succeed. That is why we are providing assistance to print more than three million textbooks for Ukrainian elementary school students ahead of this school year.”

“Our message is clear: We will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as they defend against Russia’s barbaric war of aggression,” he said.

The roughly $8 million in funding for the textbook printing comes as the Biden administration has adjusted its policies in an effort to fortify Ukraine’s military fight against Russia. The administration has shifted its policy to allow US weapons to be used in strikes into Russian territory where Russian forces are engaging in cross-border attacks into Ukraine – a change that was first publicly acknowledged in late May as Ukraine worked to push back Russian advances toward the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

The administration is also prioritizing critical air defense capabilities for Ukraine over other countries.

“This all kind of fits together in terms of helping the Ukrainian military to defend its skies but also helping to ensure that Ukraine is able to educate its students and its children,” a senior administration official said.

“It’s not enough to just support their military. Of course, we’re doing that,” the official told CNN. “But we also recognize that Russia is trying to do something broader than that, which is target Ukraine’s culture and history and identity and we need to respond to that as well.”

In late May, Ukraine’s largest printing facility, Faktor Druk, was hit in a Russian missile attack on Kharkiv. The US assessed that it will take six to eight months for Ukraine to repair Faktor Druk, according to the official.

The day after the attack, in a daily internal meeting on Ukraine, Sullivan directed his team to address the fallout from the strike, making it “an urgent priority” for the US to help ensure that the educational materials make it to the Ukrainian students, the official told CNN.

After coordination between the National Security Council, US Embassy in Kyiv, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ukrainian government, it was decided that by “using existing resources and programs” the US, through USAID, will provide roughly $8 million to fund the printing of the textbooks, the official said.

“We really focused in on hardcover textbooks for first and second graders in Ukraine as an area where they identified the most urgent need, and working with them to identify facilities where these materials can be prepared and printed,” the official said. “So we really sprang into action in that regard and also sprang into action to allocate supplemental resources to go toward this initiative.”

The 3.2 million textbooks will be manufactured at other Ukrainian printing houses in time for the start of the school year in September 2024, the official described. They will be distributed “to approximately 12,700 schools throughout Ukraine,” they added.

The Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, called the funding for printing the textbooks “extremely timely and very much valued by the people of Ukraine.”

“It is especially important that funding will be provided to Ukrainian printing houses. It is another investment in our future, and our fight for justice and humanity,” she said in a statement to CNN. “Like so much needed support with defense and weapons, this is yet another sign of strong strategic friendship between our nations. As President Zelensky said: ‘the partnership between Ukraine and US is strong and unwavering.’”

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *