BCA and BCRA react to the Russian war on Ukraine as Ukrainian caver Alexander Klimchouk accepts offer of honorary membership of BCRA

Dr Alexander Klimchouk in Luoshiu Dong, Shaanxi Province, China, March 2018. Photo copyright John Gunn.

The British Caving Association (BCA) and the British Cave Research Association (BCRA) have issued their own open letters after widespread condemnation of the statement by the International Union of Speleology (UIS) on the Russian war against Ukraine. And Ukrainian cave explorer and cave scientist Dr Alexander Klimchouk has been made an honorary member of the BCRA.

BCA Statement - Russian Invasion of Ukraine Final (3)


BCRA statement on invasion of Ukraine


Dr Alexander Klimchouk told Darkness Below: “The Ukrainian cavers and cave and karst scientists have welcomed the statements issued by BCA and BCRA regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine with gratitude and satisfaction. We know about the fantastic help from many countries and their people, including very powerful support from the UK government, organisations, and the people of the UK. We know and highly appreciate this. We particularly value the expression of solidarity from people and institutions who share the passion for caves and karst with us. This solidarity means that we all also share the passion and dedication to freedom and democracy.

“Russia not only seeks to destroy Ukraine as an independent state and as a nation but attacks the civilized world and democracy as a whole. If Ukraine fails, the values of the civilised world will be damaged irreparably. We hope that the unprecedented global support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people indicates that the world leaders and nations have eventually realised this threat and are ready to defeat it.

“High spirit is extremely important in critical situations, especially in such dramatic circumstances that the Ukrainian people are faced with. The strong and unequivocal statements of solidarity with us and our fight and of condemnation of evil do matter to maintain the high spirit no less than material support.

“Thank you, BCA and BCRA for your statements – it does help! The spirit and motivation of the Ukrainian army, the people and the caving/speleological community are focused on defending the country and our values are very high.

“The BCRA statement includes a notification about awarding me an honorary life membership. It is indeed a great honour and one of the highest awards in my speleological life. I accept it with gratitude and pleasure and I take it, first of all, as a sign of acknowledgment of the courage and persistence of the Ukrainian people shown in these dramatic times of the Russian onslaught.

“We are holding this fort of freedom and democracy!”

Darkness Below congratulate Alexander on his award and hope that the people of Ukraine prevail in their struggle against Russia. We stand with them.