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Advice for students and colleagues affected by the invasion of Ukraine

University of Bristol

2 March 2022

The ongoing escalation of military action in Ukraine has impacted many colleagues and students at the University of Bristol. Our thoughts are with all those affected by current events and we will do what we can to support them. Bristol is a diverse community with many different nationalities – we ask our community to respect and support each other during these grave times. This is a summary of support and advice available to staff and students.

Advice for our students

A dedicated web page with the latest advice and updates is available to support students affected by the situation in Ukraine.

Advice for our colleagues


Support for staff concerned about family and friends in Ukraine, Russia or Belarus; support also available for staff anxious about the developing situation.

The staff counselling service is available if you simply want to talk something through with someone who is neutral and independent, or if you need help with more severe problems such as anxiety and depression. The service can offer specific support for workplace issues such as acceptable behaviour and dealing with conflict.

The University Employee Assistance Programme(EAP) is available to all University staff and offers a helpline with confidential, 24-hour personal assistance from experienced counsellors. The helpline number is 0800 015 5630.

You can also speak to your line manager about other support or flexibility needed.

Further information is available on the Staff Counselling SharePoint site.

Bereavements or dealing with urgent family issues

The University's family friendly policies provide tools to assist staff under these circumstances. If you require help with identifying the most appropriate support for a particular member of staff, please contact your HR business partnering team.

Dealing with potential tension between students of Russian, Ukrainian or other origins because of the attack taking place in Ukraine

We expect everyone in the University to show each other respect and kindness during this difficult time. If staff or students are concerned about the behaviour of students, they can submit a report. You can make reports anonymously through the Report and Support tool. Students can also access wellbeing support.

Advice for managers regarding potential tension between staff as a consequence of the attack taking place in Ukraine

We will work collaboratively to ensure that staff affected by the crisis are supported. In the event of confrontation or tension between staff, please involve your HR business partnering team.

We expect all parties to any dispute/tension to try and resolve issues informally. Strategies can include referral to an Acceptable Behaviour Supporter; facilitated discussions between both parties, a trained mediator, discussion with a Trade Union representative or use of the University Employee Assistance Programme.

Advice for managers regarding staff who are called up or who volunteer to participate in the war in Ukraine

If you are contacted by a member of staff regarding military service, please seek advice from your HR Business Partnering team. If a member of staff is called up to participate in the war in the Ukraine, the University recognises that this is a commitment and a responsibility and will support the member of staff using our career break policy wherever possible. Subject to the terms of any visa or other restrictions at the time of their return, that member of staff would usually be reinstated.

The University does not encourage any staff to travel to Ukraine. If you are made aware that a member of staff wishes to volunteer but is not actively called up or conscripted to do so then you should refer to HR before entering into any agreement or discussion regarding a career break or other arrangement to facilitate that action.

Staff exchanges or visits to Russia/Ukraine/Belarus or other countries in Eastern Europe

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office currently advises against all travel to Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

Research participation and collaboration in the affected countries

The UK government has announced new sanction measures in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If you are aware of any financial transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the Russian National Wealth Fund, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, or any export of technical equipment or components to Russia or Belarus, please get in touch with RED contracts team.

International Mobility advise staff and line managers to make contact with support services such as HR, Finance Research Team, Insurance, Safety and Health with concerns regarding staff and overseas working or mobility.

Financial support for staff because of the impact on the Russian banking sector

There are resources in place that can provide financial support to you if you are in critical need including:

  • Advance payments.
  • Financial Advice through our Employee Assistance Programme. Visit the Care first website, enter the username lifestyle1234, then enter the password: carefirst
  • Wellbeing  Spotlight on Financial Wellbeing (including specific EAP support, finance training sessions etc)
  • Wellbeing Spotlight on the EAP (deep dive into everything they can help with)
  • Wellbeing main pages

If you are approached by a staff member facing financial hardship, please contact your HR Business Partnering team to find out about options available to support them.

Further staff support

If you have any staff related issues, please contact your HR Business Partnering Team.


How you can help

We know that many in our community want to provide help and support at this time. Several charitable appeals have been set up if you would like to donate to organisations that are currently providing humanitarian support in Ukraine: 

  • Locally, Stand with Ukraine Bristol, are promoting different collection points currently accepting donations in Bristol – please check their posts for the most recent donation needs.
  • The DEC (Disaster Emergency Committee) is involved in coordinating the UK public's response to overseas disasters and has set up a Ukraine fund. The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas.
  • The British Red Cross is working with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support people affected by the conflict. Donations to the Red Cross go towards food, water, first aid, medicines, warm clothes and shelter. 
  • UNICEF is working across eastern Ukraine to deliver life-saving programmes for children as well as deliver safe drinking water in areas heavily impacted by the conflict. 
  • The UNHCR is working with local authorities and other partners in Ukraine to provide humanitarian assistance for refugees. 
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