Feb 3, 2023

Ukraine: The Handoff

We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blackout, to pick up the trail of the pills and find out about the doctors and patients who needed them. But as they follow the pills around the country, what they learn changes their understanding of how we talk about these pills, and how we talk about choice, in a war. 

This episode is the second of two done in collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation. You can find the first episode here (https://zpr.io/CnmNVFQ6X5gc).

Special thanks to the Rough Translation team for reporting help. Thanks also to Liana Simstrom, Irene Noguchi, and Eleana Tworek. Thanks to the ears of Valeria Fokina, Andrii Degeler, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov. And to our interpreters, Kira Leonova and Tetyana Yurinetz. Thanks to Drs Natalia, Irna & Diana. To Yulia Mytsko, Yulia Babych, Maria Hlazunova, Nika Bielska, Yvette Mrova, Lauren Ramires, Jane Newnham, Olena Shevchenko, Marta Chumako, Jamie Nadal, Jonathan Bearak, and the many others who we spoke with for this story. Thank you to NPR’s International Desk and the team at the Ukraine bureau. Translations from Eugene Alper and Dennis Tkachivsky. Voice over from Lizzie Marchenko and Yuliia Serbenenko. Archival from the Heal Foundation.

Legal guidance provided by Micah Ratner, Lauren Cooperman, and Dentons. 

Ethical guidance from Tony Cavin. 


Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly Webster

Reported by - Katz Laszlo, Gregory Warner 

Produced by - Tessa Paoli, Daniel Girma, Adelina Lancianese

w/ production help from - Nic M. Neves

Mixer - James Willetts and Robert Rodriguez

w/ mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom

Fact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textor

and Edited by - Brenna Farrell


John Ellis composed the Rough Translation theme music. 

Original music from Dylan Keefe. 

Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions and FirstCom Music.  



Photos - 

Podcasts -

Articles - 

Further reading: a study on medical abortion (https://zpr.io/f8h5WNfKaMtk) by Galina Maistruck, one of the main sources in our piece

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MOLLY WEBSTER: This is Radiolab. I'm Molly Webster. I am back in the host's chair for one more week to bring you the second episode of our two-part story on Ukraine. It's a series we've been doing in collaboration with NPR's Rough Translation and their host Gregory Warner. So here's the final act. I hope you like it.

MOLLY: You're listening to Rough Translation from NPR.

GREGORY WARNER: I'm Gregory Warner.

MOLLY: And I'm Molly Webster.

GREG: From Radiolab.

MOLLY: From Radiolab.

GREG: And we are back with our Rough Translation-Radiolab collaboration.


GREG: The last time we were together, we told you the story of an amateur smuggling operation bringing abortion pills into Ukraine right after the invasion.

MOLLY: That story was called "Ukraine: Under the Counter." It's in both of our feeds. Go listen.

GREG: And if you don't, spoiler alert ...

MOLLY: When we ended that story ...

YEVGENIA: So it was night. It was, like, 11:00. 11:00 and something.

MOLLY: ... a Ukrainian woman named Yevgenia and her friends have crossed over the border with three moving boxes of pills.

YEVGENIA: So it was like, I'm not leaving these pills in my car.

MOLLY: They carry the boxes up to her apartment.

YEVGENIA: So I was sleeping in my apartment in Lviv with 10,000 abortions. Yeah. Was strange.

MOLLY: Really, it was something like 15,000 abortion kits. Regardless, she wakes up the next day and she had so many questions.

YEVGENIA: Doctors didn't know that we had brought this product.

MOLLY: You'll remember they were trying to get these pills to doctors throughout Ukraine after hearing stories of sexual violence committed by Russian soldiers. And so Yevgenia wondered, you know, would she be able to get these pills into the hands of doctors in time, and would women who needed them actually get them?

GREG: And so we went to Ukraine to follow these pills.

GREG: All right. So we're in a blackout, and it totally reminds me of a New York blackout.

GREG: In October, reporter Katz Laszlo and I landed in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

GREG: There are, like, impromptu parties where people clean out their refrigerators and make music.

GREG: That morning, Russian missiles had knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people. And that night, people were kissing, singing and picnicking, but also crying and shouting. We'd come here because of a donation of pills fueled by one story of war—pills meant to offer some relief and maybe restore some choice. But in Ukraine, we'd hear so many different stories about the ways that people were interacting with these pills in a war. It made us rethink our understanding of how we talk about these pills and the way we talk about choice.

MOLLY: After Yevgenia got the pills, she started calling doctors.

YEVGENIA: [speaking Ukrainian.]

GREG: And six months later, when Katz and I arrived in Ukraine, we went to see one of the first doctors that she spoke with.

WOMAN: Galina is ready.



GALINA MAISTRUK: [speaking Ukrainian]


GREG: Galina Maistruk, who is also one of the people that everybody told us to talk to when we got to Ukraine.

GALINA MAISTRUK: I know. You sent me so many messages, just like lovers in previous times. Yeah.

KATZ LASZLO: Exactly. Well, I have to say I'm very enthusiastic.

KATZ LASZLO: We met Galina at her office in Kyiv, and her organization is the Ukrainian partner for International Planned Parenthood.

GALINA MAISTRUK: I'm an OB-GYN, and also ...

KATZ LASZLO: Galina has been practicing medicine for about four decades. And abortion's been legal for her entire career, and 10 years ago, abortion pills came on the market. But when Russia invaded in February, 2022, first of all, supply chains to the country were cut off.

GALINA MAISTRUK: We have no air connection. We have no ship connection. I mean ...

KATZ LASZLO: So pills weren't being restocked.

GALINA MAISTRUK: All the pharmacies were in collapse.

GREG: So by mid-April, the very moment that Yevgenia was driving those abortion pills over the border ...

GALINA MAISTRUK: No. No. No pills at all at this time.

KATZ LASZLO: And because of this, doctors were worried.

OLHA: (through interpreter) From the beginning of war, we started to have these doubts if we're going to have enough pills because the requests ...

KATZ LASZLO: One doctor in Kyiv told us that in April, three to five times more women were showing up in her office and asking for abortion pills.

OLHA: (through interpreter) We realized that women would come and come and come, and there are going to be more and more of them. But the pills, there's not going to be more of them. And we didn't know if there was going to be any.

GREG: And at the same time, surgical abortion was actually harder to find. Hospitals were being bombed. Surgeons were overwhelmed. A doctor in the eastern city of Dnipro told us ...

NATALYA: (through interpreter) After the beginning of the full-scale invasion, refugees with no job and no money started turning to us.

KATZ LASZLO: And then on top of that, there's also just a baseline of people who are getting pregnant and who need abortions, war or no war. But Galina says during that time, there was ...

GALINA MAISTRUK: Absolutely silence in this period from international organizations, from big fishes in this. They have no such big speed to react to everything, you know? They need to make procurement. They need to—to get money for this.

GREG: But then Galina gets a call.


GALINA MAISTRUK: Connection with Yevgenia was like magic situation.

KATZ LASZLO: Yevgenia sends her 1,600 abortion kits.

KATZ LASZLO: Oh, my God, it's these—wow!

GREG: We actually got to see some of these pills when we got to Ukraine.

KATZ LASZLO: I know the person who made these. These are the coffee packages, no?

MOLLY: Coffee packages?

KATZ LASZLO: Yeah. The story goes that when Yevgenia was packing up the pills to ship them to the doctors, she didn't have any access to pharmaceutical boxes, so she grabbed these coffee bags.

GREG: Lviv, incidentally, is known in Ukraine as the city of chocolate and coffee.

MOLLY: What do the coffee packages look like? Is it like a ...

KATZ LASZLO: It's like a matte white bag, and then you can see, like, the aromatic filter on it.

MOLLY: Oh, where the good smells come out. Okay.

GALINA MAISTRUK: It's just a small box with small packages. But, you know, it's a big difference when you give somebody food when it's no food.

GREG: And so ...

KATZ LASZLO: Once she learns about this shipment of abortion pills, Galina calls all the doctors she can think of across the country.

GALINA MAISTRUK: I called to Vinnytsia ...


GALINA MAISTRUK: ... to Poltava ...

OKSANA: [Speaking Ukrainian]

GALINA MAISTRUK: ... Dnipro and to Odesa.

GREG: The coffee bags go to Bucha, and they go all around Ukraine.

YEVGENIA: We started to contact doctors, and they started to tell about us to other doctors.

GALINA MAISTRUK: From Kherson, from Mykolaiv ...

YEVGENIA: We started to receive the mails and telephones. Like, can you bring it to us?

GALINA MAISTRUK: You know, you build a building from small stones. And this was one of the small stones, which was in the basement, you know? And it was extremely important.

KATZ LASZLO: The first second that I heard about this story, I was immediately like, what was this like for the women who needed the pills?

MOLLY: Were people willing to go on the record?

KATZ LASZLO: No one that actually had an abortion wanted to talk to us, but we did talk to the people that they talked to. We talked to their friends and their doctors.

GREG: Just a heads up, almost all of those doctors asked us not to use their last names to protect their privacy at work.

OLGA: [Speaking Ukrainian]

GREG: So this is Dr. Olga. She's based in Kyiv and has patients in Bucha, and did during the occupation.

OLGA: (through interpreter) I didn't have any case when woman told me that she experienced that sexual violence or raping, or so—and we didn't ask them on purpose. Like, we didn't ask them this question. Me as a woman, I couldn't let myself do that just to make her feel this pain again. And also, I know that if this woman had a feeling that she wants to share with it, she would do that.

KATZ LASZLO: She said that the patients who did come to her for an abortion ...

OLGA: (through interpreter) They all came with a really strict decision, strong decision for abortion because despite the war, they had other plans. They maybe have children in here or a husband in territorial defense or in the army. And it's harder for them to leave the country. And I started to see patients who lost their houses, their relatives. And they came to us.

KATZ LASZLO: Another doctor we met, Valentyna, told us about this woman who came to her from the east, from the city of Slovyansk.

VALENTYNA: She told me I had in Slovyansk everything. I had two flats. I had house near seaside. I had two restaurants. Now I am bomsh.

KIRA: I'm homeless.

GREG: Another translation is, "Now I'm a bum."

VALENTYNA: Now I am bomsh. I don't know what I should do with my child.

KATZ LASZLO: She said, "I already have a child to take care of, and I just lost my house. I lost my money."

VALENTYNA: "I should be healthy, strong and to have time and still powerful ...

KIRA: Energy.

VALENTYNA: ... energy for my one child."

MOLLY: We heard stories of patients where war came into their lives, changed their environment, their houses, their relationships, their income. And they knew that they needed these pills, but we also heard stories about these pills that went beyond abortion.

KATZ LASZLO: And that revelation, it started with Dr. Oksana.

KATZ LASZLO: Yes. We are good. Okay, can you introduce yourself?

OKSANA: [speaking Ukrainian]

KATZ LASZLO: Her hospital is in Lviv, near the train station. And she sees local patients and also patients who fled fighting in the east.

OKSANA: (through interpreter) And these are a lot more complicated cases, more complications with pregnancies and more issues with pregnancy. Everyone is in a lot of stress.

KATZ LASZLO: Do you mean that just because of the stress, like, there's more complications, like miscarriage and stuff like that?

OKSANA: (through interpreter) Yeah, that's right.

KATZ LASZLO: Can you give me a sense of scale? Like, as in how much more percentage would you say was complicated?

OKSANA: (through interpreter) Well, it's difficult to estimate. But I think it's, like, one-third more than it was before.

MOLLY: It was up one-third. Wow!

KATZ LASZLO: Yeah, it just seems like such a massive increase. We heard that from a lot of doctors.

DIANA: I think it's much difficult to be pregnant during the war than in normal life because you don't know what will be tomorrow.

KATZ LASZLO: This is Diana. She's a gynecologist in Kharkiv, really close to the front lines.

DIANA: When the war start, we have a lot of complications of pregnancy.

KATZ LASZLO: And she described having a day where ...

DIANA: All women get to our hospital by ambulance with bleeding.

KATZ LASZLO: ... every single woman that came in was hemorrhaging.

MOLLY: Doctors, like, when they see complications like this happening, they reach for these pills, for mifepristone and misoprostol.

GREG: Wait, wait. They reach for these pills for complications?

MOLLY: Yeah. So it's actually really dangerous if a miscarriage doesn't complete. Like, if anything is left in the womb. And so in the case of miscarriage, you would use these pills essentially in the same way you would as an abortion, where you would take the pills, and then they would just make sure your uterus was completely cleared out. In the case of bleeding, you don't actually need both pills. Doctors would just go for misoprostol. So misoprostol is the pill that causes everything to contract. And that's just like a tightening of muscle. And so when you have that contraction, it clamps down on blood vessels, which essentially closes them off and so blood can't get out. And then you stop bleeding.

GREG: Wow!

MOLLY: Yeah. You can actually grab these pills—well, misoprostol for just normal labor where there's no complications, but to help induce contractions and give birth.

KATZ LASZLO: And so when I thought about that April shipment of pills, it took me a while to, like, really let that sink in. But every gynecologist was like, "Oh, yeah, we really used it for, like, the complications and the miscarriages and the mobile pregnancies and in labor." And I'm like, "But what about the abortions?" And they're like, "Yes, yes. For miscarriages." And I'm like, "What about the abortions?" And they're like, "Yes, yes. For miscarriages." And I'm like, "Wait. Hang on a minute. Like, why do they keep bringing up these miscarriages all the time?" It just hit me in the stomach of, like, whoa, these pills are for every possible moment of pregnancy.

GREG: Yeah, because I felt like we'd come to Ukraine to do this story, right? About abortion pills and war. But then actually being in a country that was running out of these pills because of a war, it felt like this story was so much bigger than what we thought.

MOLLY: Hello? Hello?

VLADA: Hello.


MOLLY: We have a baby, folks. I just—we have a baby on screen. Here, wait. I'll put on my video. But we also ...

MOLLY: I ended up on a Zoom call with four Ukrainian women who were all based in Kiev, three of whom have been pregnant during the war.

YEVGENIA: I found out about the pregnancy in July. And ...

MOLLY: None of these women have used these pills, but I just wanted to hear about the experience of being pregnant and giving birth in Ukraine right now.

VLADA: Now I have a little daughter. Her name is Valeria.

MOLLY: There was Genya, Nadya and Vlada, and then their translator, Anastasia.

VLADA: Yeah, it's my first baby.


VLADA: And I am 29 years old. And I never told stories about my pregnant.

MOLLY: It actually was the first time all of them were telling their stories, and they had so many overlaps and shared moments. There was this just shared sense of uncertainty.

ANASTASIA: It's okay in Kyiv not to have any electricity for eight hours.

YEVGENIA: It's blackout or life without water.

MOLLY: And then obviously stress ...

VLADA: The hospital was hit by rocket.

MOLLY: ... and fear.

YEVGENIA: Sometimes, I hear explosions.

VLADA: When I give birth to Valeria, we have air alert. And it was very scary.

MOLLY: Just a loneliness and isolation. In Nadya's case, she was two weeks before her due date.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

MOLLY: And then the invasion happened on February 24, and she found herself in occupied territory.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

ANASTASIA: They heard different sounds, like shooting and rockets and so on.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

MOLLY: So she couldn't get to the nearby hospital. The road was hit by a missile. And then just because of how dangerous the streets were and the fighting, no doctor or midwife could get to her. Her grandfather goes to the Ukrainian army, and they said if she goes into labor, let us know. We can go to her, and maybe we can help her.

ANASTASIA: She didn't want maybe to interrupt the soldiers over there.

MOLLY: But she didn't want to pull the soldiers away from fighting. And while she's trying to figure all this out, she's leaking amniotic fluid. Like, she's already leaking water.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

MOLLY: But she still decides to join a group of people who are going to try to drive out of the area.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

ANASTASIA: She didn't understand her emotions in that time, yes? She had only an aim to reach the destination where there was help.

MOLLY: After eight hours of what was supposed to be a 45-minute trip, Nadya does make it to a hospital and she has a healthy baby. And eventually, Vlada did too.

VLADA: Valeria is 5 months old.

MOLLY: And she and Valeria are very happy. Genya is about to have her baby. But these women, you know, there were moments where their lives were in danger, or their pregnancies were, or there was just simply so much uncertainty around them that it did bring up moments of doubt.

VLADA: We planned two years for my pregnancy. And (speaking Ukrainian).

ANASTASIA: Mm-hmm. If she knew, yes, that it would be the war, maybe Vlada wouldn't decide to do it.

MOLLY: Coming up after the break, these pills take us into a complicated conversation around having a baby or not in a wartime.

GREG: Rough Translation will be back in a moment.

MOLLY: We're back with Radiolab. I'm Molly Webster. This is our collaboration with Rough Translation. And here's Gregory Warner.

GREG: In the first part of this episode, we followed the shipment of abortion pills to Ukraine, and we learned that they were needed, and they were used. In fact, the stress of war on pregnancy meant they were used a lot more widely than we'd thought.

MOLLY: One of the Ukrainian doctors that we met while we were following these pills ended up making us think about the complexities of getting an abortion in a time of war. And so this doctor, her name is Valentyna, she asked that we not use her last name to protect her privacy at work. But Katz had come across a video interview with Valentyna on Instagram.

[ARCHIVE CLIP, Valentyna: [speaking Ukrainian]]

KATZ LASZLO: She starts by saying the topic of our conversation is abortion in wartime.

[ARCHIVE CLIP, Valentyna: [speaking Ukrainian]]

KATZ LASZLO: She says, "This is a very difficult, ambiguous situation from each side. But a woman has the right to decide for herself, not to wait for society's opinion or church or what they think of her. This is her decision. And no matter what decision she makes, it will be the right one."

[ARCHIVE CLIP, Valentyna: [speaking Ukrainian]]

KATZ LASZLO: She says, "We believe in the victory of Ukraine, but we should think about how to help the children we have now."

MOLLY: And the whole time she's talking, she has the actual coffee bags of pills from this April shipment next to her. And it kind of feels like she's defending these pills and the use of them against someone you can't see. And you just have all these questions like, why does she feel the need to make this argument? Or who or what is she arguing against? And thinking about the subject line of her video, what does abortion have to do with victory in the war?

KATZ LASZLO: It's so nice to meet you in real life.

VALENTYNA: Thank you.

GREG: So Katz and I and our interpreter Kira came to Valentyna's office in Lviv. Religion, it plays a large role in Lviv. And the city is a center for the Greek Catholic Church.

VALENTYNA: Not a lot of doctors, gynecologists, like to do abortion at all. At all. In our hospital, the maximum five or six person who do abortion.

KATZ LASZLO: Valentyna gets a lot of questions from her patients about how their abortion will go.

VALENTYNA: What I should do if I will have hemorrhage?

KATZ LASZLO: Will these abortion pills work? Will it hurt?

VALENTYNA: Will I have children in future?

KATZ LASZLO: Do I need a follow-up?

VALENTYNA: When I can go to fitness?

KATZ LASZLO: When is it safe to have sex?

VALENTYNA: Have normal life.

GREG: Those are some of the questions that the patients ask her, but Valentyna told us about a question that she now has to ask all of her patients who request an abortion. And this is a part of her practice that changed about a week or so after the Russian invasion, when her hospital director handed her what appeared to be a hastily written new form for patients to sign. And this form specifically was for patients requesting an abortion.

VALENTYNA: I can't give you this form.

GREG: No, of course not.

VALENTYNA: But I can show you.

GREG: And I—maybe we can take a picture just so we have ...

KATZ LASZLO: Can we take a picture?



GREG: Okay.

KATZ LASZLO: Can you just tell me what it says?


KATZ LASZLO: Because obviously I don't understand.

KIRA: It's addressed, like the head of the hospital.

VALENTYNA: That without names. Yeah. Give my agreement for ...

KIRA: For disclosing my personal data for the fact that I asked for the medical help in here...

VALENTYNA: To hospital.

KIRA: ... to the hospital.

VALENTYNA: My diagnose...

GREG: It says you're disclosing your name and information to third parties.

KIRA: Related with the interests of the national security, economical prosperity and human rights. And this agreement is active for as long as martial law is here.

KATZ LASZLO: So this is something that says specifically during the martial law period, you're allowed access to my abortion files. Wow! And they have to sign this. They can't say no. I have to say that I'm a bit shocked. I would be very upset if I had to sign that form.

MOLLY: The form is for all abortions, or it's in the case of rape?

KATZ LASZLO: It's for all abortions.

MOLLY: Okay.

KATZ LASZLO: Every single abortion. Everyone that requests one.

GREG: And Valentyna also specifically has to ask each patient: is your abortion for war-related reasons? And if they say yes—and she says most do ...

VALENTYNA: They should write that they do abortion caused by war.

KATZ LASZLO: And honestly, I was like, wait. Hang on. What does your decision to have an abortion have to do with national security, with economic prosperity?

VALENTYNA: Because in this war, we should kill our children, future children, because parents don't know what to do with all of this. You understand me?

MOLLY: Like, if there had been no invasion or no war, that couple, that pregnant person might have made the decision to keep that baby. And so in deciding to not keep that baby because it's wartime, it's almost like another murder on the battlefield.

KATZ LASZLO: Yeah, that is what she's talking about. Whether or not patients feel this way, we can't say. This was just one form in this one hospital, and we don't know where it came from. Like, the hospital wouldn't tell us more. But it was clear that Valentyna wanted us to see this form and really think about what it meant.

MARIA: I'll never forget when I saw first—the first time mass grave in Mariupol. And you feel like your—your society is not just people around you, that it's like you really one body.

KATZ LASZLO: Many Ukrainians told us about a certain kind of conversation they'd been a part of or at least overheard.

MARIA: We feel this genocidal war is killing us. And I think when somebody wants to have children, have more Ukrainians, it's just about future, about living and about, you know, purpose. It's like regeneration.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

ANASTASIA: A lot of people who are around told me,"Ooh, you are so great. You gave birth during the war." But she didn't have any other opportunity because she was already pregnant.

NADYA: [speaking Ukrainian]

ANASTASIA: Her acquaintance, they were planning to have a child before the war. But when the war started, she and her husband decided to—not to do it. And she even say the phrase that, "I'm not sure if I want to give a life in such a world."

JULIA: (through interpreter) It seems to me that every woman in Ukraine has her own story. And even if at first glance it has nothing to do with either war or pregnancy, you can still trace the points that lead to this.

GREG: On our last day in Ukraine, we go to the address of a warehouse where Yevgenia tells us there's a few coffee bags still left.



GREG: This guy answers.

VANYA: It's eight.

GREG: It's very clear that this is not a warehouse in the way in which, like, I've been picturing it. It's just an apartment.

KATZ LASZLO: Hi. Are you Vanya?

GREG: Gregory.



VANYA: Okay.

KATZ LASZLO: Nice to meet you.

GREG: He's got a roommate who's frying an egg. They have a dog.

KATZ LASZLO: And then we come in, and the dog is, like, very enthusiastic.

GREG: Since that April shipment that we've been following, Yevgenia received two more shipments of abortion pills. These were not smuggled though, through Poland, like the last batch. They were legally mailed from India.

KATZ LASZLO: And yeah, she told us that they were here, so we thought we would come and visit them.

VANYA: Yeah. They—it's just a room full of boxes. [laughs]

KATZ LASZLO: You can just see in the corner of your eye, in each bedroom there's, like, a huge stash of boxes. Like, massive amounts of boxes.

KATZ LASZLO: Like, the stack is taller than us.

GREG: I would say it's eight-foot high, for sure. That's amazing.

KATZ LASZLO: So they're, like, a hundred white boxes. And on it, it says "Top kit. Combi kit. One plus four."

GREG: So 24 ...

GREG: There's so many boxes of abortion pills here.

GREG: ... 25, 26, 27 ...

GREG: And then also the living room, there are more boxes of pills.

GREG: ... 34, 35, 36 ...

GREG: And under Vanya's sock drawer.

VANYA: It's mifepristone. Yeah, it's abortion pills. But they put it all together in the kit, which ...

GREG: Every few days, someone comes here, grabs a packet of pills and mails it off to another doctor. They've even smuggled some into occupied territories.

KATZ LASZLO: Here they all are.

KATZ LASZLO: It was so dramatically casual. We're just standing in this guy's apartment, and each of these pills is—is a story. It's someone's story, a moment in their life. Whether that's pregnancy or a complication or a family decision or pressure, a traumatic event or just something they'll forget.

VANYA: Have a nice day.

GREG: Thank you.

KATZ LASZLO: Thank you.

GREG: Thank you so much.

MOLLY: Yevgenia, who brought the boxes over the border originally, says that they have more than enough pills. Some of them may even expire.

KATZ LASZLO: But the hope is that they'll never have to go back to a situation like in April, that they'll never run out.

KATZ LASZLO: All right. And then we step back into a beautiful day. You would never guess.

GREG: Reporter Katz Laszlo. This episode was produced by Tessa Paoli, Daniel Girma and our senior producer Adelina Lancianese, with help from Nic M. Neves. Our editor was Brenna Farrell. Reporting help from the Rough Translation team.

MOLLY: Huge thanks to the ears of Valeria Fokina, Andrii Degeler, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov, plus Soren Wheeler and all our friends at Radiolab. Thank you to NPR's international desk and the team at the Ukraine bureau.

GREG: And to our interpreters, Kira Leonova and Tetyana Yurinetz. Thanks to doctors Natalia, Irna and Diana, Yulia Mytsko, Yulia Babych, Maria Hlazunova, Nika Bielska, Yvette Mrova.

MOLLY: Thanks also to Lauren Ramires, Jane Newnham, Olena Shevchenko, Marta Chumako, Jaime Nadal, Jonathan Bearak and the many, many others we spoke to for this story.

GREG: The Rough Translation team includes Luis Trelles and Justine Yan. Our intern is Eleana Tworek. Our supervising producer is Liana Simstrom. Irene Noguchi is the executive producer of the Enterprise Storytelling Unit, which is our home at NPR. Our visuals editing came from Catie Dull and Peter DiCampo. Illustrations by Oksana Drachkovska.

MOLLY: Translation came from Eugene Alper and Dennis Tkachivsky. Voiceover came from Lizzy Marchenko and Yulia Serbenenko. Archival from the Heal Foundation.

GREG: John Ellis composed our theme music. Original music from Dylan Keefe. Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions and FirstCom Music. Mastering by James Willetts and Robert Rodriguez. Fact-checking by Marissa Robertson-Textor.

MOLLY: Legal guidance from Micah Ratner, Lauren Cooperman and Dentons. Ethical guidance from Tony Cavin. NPR's senior vice president for programming is Anya Grundmann.

GREG: I'm Gregory Warner. Rough Translation is taking a little break, but when we get back, we have some more stories from Ukraine and a trip to India. See you soon.

MOLLY: I'm Molly Webster. Thanks for listening. Lulu and Latif are back next week.

[LISTENER: Hi. I'm Erica in Yonkers. Leadership support for Radiolab's science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.]




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