Advisor of the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Dasha Zarivna: “We are asking our partners: close the sky or give us the weapons”

Aspen Institute Kyiv started the series of panel discussions with Aspen Network international partners — #UkrainianDialogue. Their goal is to share the personal stories of Ukrainians who help to defend freedom of our country and to have a two-way communication with other countries that support us. Dasha Zarivna was the speaker of the first discussion, which was held with Aspen Institute Spain. Dasha told about her personal perspective of this war and reasons why Ukraine needs weapons. 

Dasha Zarivna is an advisor on communications of the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak. Also she is responsible for working with the digital and creative teams of the Office. 

“Russians burnt the book of a man who has been warning what will happen when the books are burnt”

Dasha was born in Kherson. Now this city is occupied by Russians. In mid March she and her parents were told by the neighbors that their house there had been smashed up.

— Russians, namly the burats, broke in and squated there. They enjoyed our comfort, used our things, and broke the furniture. They even kindled up the small fireplace with the books. There were my books that I used to read as a child and even my mom’s books from her library. Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” was among these books. Think about it. Russians burnt the book of a man who has been warning what will happen when the books are burnt, — she tells. 

Dasha thinks, that the story of her family’s house in Kherson in a bigger picture is something which happened with the whole country: 

— Russians invaded our country, destroyed everything that was important and valuable for us, destroyed our lives, houses and dreams. But anyway they will never win. I think there is an abyss between Ukraine and Russia. Today we are fighting for our future while Russians are fighting for someone else’s past. 

Ukraine needs weapons to to bring the war to the end of it’s termes

From the start of Russian full-scale military invasion to Ukraine Dasha has to work 24/7. Among other tasks her everyday routine is arranging public and nonpublic communications, meetings and media interviews of the Head of the Office of the President oriented to different countries. She tells that from the start of the war communication narratives of the Office of the President of Ukraine have changed a bit. 

— We continue on closing the Ukrainian sky from Russian military jets, from cruise missiles. But now we are asking our partners: either close the sky or give us the relevant weapons. Efficient enough, sufficient enough so we can protect ourselves. Otherwise lots of lives will be lost. 

Dasha adds that Ukraine will fight to the end, but no war ends on the battlefield: 

— The battlefield is a place where conditions of war end are to be determined and defined. And even World War IIwas ended by diplomats. We understand that war in Ukraine has also to be ended by diplomats. Sure we continue to fight to bring the war to the end on our termes. The termes that will be beneficial to Ukraine. But again for this we need weapons. 

It’s important to tell truth about the war

The Russian propaganda machine works with public opinion in different countries. That’s why it’s very important to share the truth about the war in Ukraine. 

To confirm this thesis, Dasha tells a story from her own experience:

— Chief editor of one of the few liberal independent media left in Russia has sent me the link to the article. In this article there was a video from Bucha which proves that all this massacre was done by Russian troops. He told me: “Wow, you should have a look. Now we have evidence”. He was so excited because he had something to oppose Russian propaganda. 


But for Ukrainians there is no news. For at least 8 years we have been dealing with such evidence.