Well-known member
The very least the UIS could do is suspend the membership of the Russian speleological federation. Yes, it's probably a bit of a token effort, but it's not aimed directly at individual Russian cavers and matches many (most?) similar international bodies.


Pitlamp said:
I have to agree with Badlad's sentiments.

In my earlier post I wrote: "I've been wondering if I'm the only one pondering on whether there's anything the caving community could do to help refugees directly.". What was in my mind was whether the caving community might be able to offer any temporary accommodation in caving hostels. The number of families with no roof over there heads is now an unthinkable number. Could we fortunate folk who are able to pursue our pastime, whilst fellow human beings are being slaughtered by the coward in the Kremlin, maybe provide at least a small amount of accommodation in the short term?

I don't know the ins and outs of this but I thought it worth at least asking the question.

I think it would be better if individual cavers  offered Ukrainian cavers a room in their home, and then took them caving to try and take their minds off the war.
We are investigating how we can do just this.
Using the caving huts directly could effectively close down UK caving for years, except for those who don't use them because they live close or in caving areas.
Ukrainian refugees are not likely to be going home for years, if at all.


Text of a public letter from John Scheltens to George Veni, President of UIS.


The UIS statement you released in reference to the war in Ukraine has triggered a worldwide negative response by cavers and cave scientists.

As I  recommend in an earlier response the UIS must issue a statement that strongly and unequivocally condemns the invasion of Ukraine.

UIS cannot remain neutral.  If you wanted to be more neutral than Switzerland then you should have said nothing. This war is not a dispute between two countries.  It is a vicious, bloody war against humanity. It is against all of us. You cannot possibly be a human being and justify what is happening in the Ukraine.

The whole world is united against this.  The UIS must also be against this.

You mentioned that your Advisory Committee  reviewed this statement.  In the transparency of the UIS, who are the members of this committee?

You also said that you have received public comments from members supporting the UIS statement.  Since this is a public statement by UIS please show these members comments also.

As President of UIS you must lead the effort to reissue UIS's statement.  You cannot use the excuse that you are in the field till May and can't respond.  If Ukrainian Speleologists who are getting the Hell bombed out of the them can respond in a wonderful diplomatic letter, then you owe it to all UIS members to get to a location where you can communicate and  resolve this serious issue.

In is with utmost urgency that I recommend the UIS take the following two actions:

1. Condemn in no uncertain terms the invasion by Russians into Ukraine is a war against humanity.

2. Suspend the UIS membership of the Russian Speleological Federation.

The UIS is about to have its international congress in France.  It is highly inappropriate to have Russian delegates at this congress.

If the UIS cannot see fit to take these two appropriate  actions, then all UIS members, to include the United States, should seriously consider suspending its support for the UIS.

John Scheltens"

I've just emailed George at to say I agree with every word.

Ian P

Active member
Ian Adams said:
Please excuse my ignorance, what is the "UIS"?


Copied from their website.

The Union Internationale de Sp?l?ologie (UIS) is the international body for caving and speleology. Formed in 1965, its voting members consist of a delegate from each member country. This delegate represents the country?s cavers and speleologists, rather than its national body(s). An elected Bureau runs the affairs of the UIS between the once-every-four-years General Assembly meetings held at the International Congresses. The actual speleological work of the UIS is done by the members of its Commissions and Working Groups, which are open to everyone who is interested.


Ian Adams

Active member
Thank you Ian, when I googled the acronym it returned allsorts of things.

Now I can understand the narrative.



Well-known member
Along a similar topic of discussion, should UK caving clubs be stopping Russian caver memberships? New or pre-existing?


Well-known member
I agree with everything on the new statement except for the bit "exclude Russian as an official UIS language".

Russian is a lingua franca a large part of the world meaning it's common language spoke in many countries full of caves that are not Russia and the language is also very widely used in Ukraine itself, so from a practical point of view it would not be very viable. What really concerns however with this statement is that it seems to play into the hands of Putin where he says that the Ukrainians have been discriminating against Russian speaking people (which I know is a load of bollocks). This will appear that it is discriminating against Russian speakers proving Poo-tin right. So I suggest instead, they should  make Ukrainian an official language too (if it's not already).


Rob said:
Along a similar topic of discussion, should UK caving clubs be stopping Russian caver memberships? New or pre-existing?

The problem is with Putin and those who support him, not individual cavers (unless the spout support for the war, of course). I have Russian caving friends who deplore what's going on. I'd hate to block them, individually, from anything.


Staff member
Ah yes, the consequences of the actions your country takes.  Are you exempt if you don't agree with them?  Do you have to accept the consequences for your country's actions?  I don't know, but...

I didn't support brexit, in fact I loathed the idea, even waved European flags outside Westminster.  However, we still did it and I suffer the consequences of the actions of my country.  Me, my family and friends suffer the losses of freedoms and rights, the little Briton ideologue, poorer for the poor, richer for the rich, etc etc. There were quite a few lies about all that I think too.  In context it is minor compared to the bloodshed of a war but I'm not exempt from brexit actions because i didn't support it am I, so why should Russian cavers be exempt from the consequences of their country's actions just because they don't happen to support it.

It's a view I am toying with, not sure if it is right.


Well-known member
I think though, like you say we are affected by Brexit despite being against that, but I don't believe that's fair as we didn't vote for it and fought against it. So I guess that raises a good point is it fair to tar all Russians by the same brush?


Well-known member
A well worded post Badlad.

I think the main difference between Brexit and the appalling "Russian" aggression is that you got a vote on the Brexit fiasco (even though you were lied to). Our Russian caving colleagues get no say in what the Kremlin scum are up to.


Active member
Russia is not a free country. Here you are free to say what you want about Brexit, Boris, or whatever.

We were lied to by both sides about Brexit, and at one time we went to war on the back of lies. But we are a relatively free society and we have our voice at elections as well.

Ordinary Russians live under a cloud of fear, interviewed all you get is either the state line or a quickly muttered "It is dangerous to talk". The problem is not with ordinary folk.


I voted remain for seemingly esoteric reasons, but I would note that the Leave vote represents nearly 60% of those who normally turn out for a general election. It was a lot.

I think this ?lies? spiel is a deliberate attempt to divide and disrupt people for political reasons with little basis in fact. From what I can tell, the majority of Leave voters were exercised by the scale of immigration and the inability of any UK government to restrict it. Whether you approve of this is moot. This was far from a ?lie?. When we left the EU about 6 million EU citizens registered in the UK and about a million Brits the other way, of which half were prob pensioners. Not many Brits took up the offer of work abroad, something I can confirm from practical experience of trying to get them to do it. London is overwhelmingly attractive to most career-minded Brits, and still is. English is the lingua-franca of Europe which means anyone can come here, but Brits seriously struggle to work in a local language abroad, so normally work for multinationals using English. I worked abroad for 25 years with dozens of nationalities in supervisory positions - if you want chapter and verse on expat realities, let me know.

I would note there is little problem working in the EU as long as you can get a job. The old rules still exist. Otherwise you might be puzzled as to how Emily can work in Paris, let alone her English boyfriend. The joke is she can?t speak and write French fluently, which would obviously be mandatory for her position. Most EU countries have sweetheart deals for foreign workers with big tax discounts, much better than the UK because they are not as attractive as the UK.


Well-known member
Was what was famously slapped on the side of the Boris bus not a lie? Or at best a deliberate attempt to deceive?

Didn't they tell us all we'd be so much better off if we separated from Europe? I see little evidence that this assertion was true.

And while we're on about it, wasn't that a rather bad example to set, driving thousands of unnecessary miles in an immense and fuel hungry vehicle when the other side of the face is telling us all to make sacrifices to help move away from the carbon based economy?

But I'd better not be tempted to digress further. Back to Ukraine; having benefited from good advice on this forum in a related topic, I reckon the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) may well be the best one to donate to, in order to help refugees. They act as an umbrella organisation for a number of other refugee charities, so in a good position to judge how best to distribute the resources they have. Their website is really easy to use:


Active member
Back to Ukraine

Payback time!

Just picked up breaking that Ukrainian attack helicopters have attacked an oil depot inside Russia at Belgorod. I rather anticipated this. Looks like Putin has messed with the wrong guys. Nice.


Active member
The Russians Cleary don?t believe in the 4 freedoms that?s their issue .

Freedom of speech
Freedom to workship
Freedom of war
Freedom of FEAR


Active member
One recent story about the tactical excellence of Putin's Plonkers made me smile, especially if it's true.  Apparently they thought it was a good idea to dig trenches in heavily contaminated cordoned off land around Chernobyl.  Following that they got radiation poisoning and were shipped back to Russia.  Couldn't make it up!