The invasion of Ukraine is an illegal act of aggression that violates the UN Charter and has targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. It has resulted in the gravest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War and neighbouring European states have responded to the crisis with generosity and open borders. However, some of the Western media coverage of the war has been infused with stereotypical and racist framing pointing to a hierarchy of victims based on troubling binaries: global North / global South; white / coloured; deserving / undeserving; and civilised / uncivilised that suggests we should value Ukrainian victims of war more because they are white and European (Ryder, 2022). There have similarly been contrasting responses to the war and its victims by some European states, most noticeably Poland, that opened their borders and societies to refugees from Ukraine but pulled up the drawbridge to civilians fleeing wars in the global South. The article suggests that development educators should challenge and rebuff the negative stereotypes, pernicious racism and á la carte humanitarianism that has accompanied some of the media and state responses to the war in Ukraine to date.

ISSN: 1748-135X