Aspen Institute Spain: the first #UkrainianDialogue on Ukraine’s Defense of Freedom

War in Ukraine – is not about what is happening in our country, but also it is about the point of no return for the entire Western world. Aspen Institute Kyiv, together with International partners, started a series of panel discussions #UkrainianDialogue about the Ukrainian Defense against Russian aggression.

On April 8, together with the Aspen Institute Spain, the first discussion was held. Leaders of the Ukrainian Aspen Community who actively supported our country from the beginning of the war shared their opinion of its nature and their visions on how European leaders could help in this crucial defense. The discussion was held under the moderation of José María de Areilza, Secretary General of the Aspen Institute Spain.

Anton Drobovych: Ukrainians proved that there are fundamentally good things and values worth fighting

Anton Drobovych, who served as the Head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, decided to join the Kyiv Territorial Defense after the war began. He highlighted that the reason for this war was nothing but Russian nationalism of imperial type, whose key feature was the opposition with the West and its values.

Anton is convinced that Ukraine will win: “Almost everyone supports us: musicians, artists, mercantilists, politicians, truck drivers, astronauts, football players, dockers and hackers, athletes, models, and bishops. We saw that one of the most powerful armies on the planet was successfully drowned by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Ukrainians proved that there are fundamentally good things and values worth fighting”.

Natalya Yemchenko: “Any kind of peace will not change the main paradigm of Russia”

Natalya Yemchenko is a Director of Public Relations and Communications at SCM. She was born in Donetsk and was forced to leave her city eight years ago when the Russian invasion started in that region. She highlighted that the main objective of Russians is to eliminate Ukrainians as a nation. Also, she underlined three types of crucial economic sanctions which would help in Ukrainian defense: a total embargo on gas and oil, closing the transit, and sanctions on people and companies. Natalya said that big Ukrainian businesses are ready to follow European standards and business practices.

Natalya stressed that there could be no consensus between Ukraine and Russia: “It is important to recognize that there is no space for compromise. The main aim of Russia is to eliminate Ukraine as a state and Ukrainians as a nation. This war started not on February 24. It started eight years ago. It means that any kind of peace will not change the main paradigm of Russia”.

Olexandr Novikov: “Every Russian is responsible for this aggression”

Olexandr Novikov and the National Agency on Corruption Prevention are responsible for forming the list of Russian individuals and companies, governmental bodies related to this war. He underlined that it is crucial to put sanctions on those people. Also, he said that their families, who didn’t choose to live in Russia, should be banned from Europe. Olexandr suggested that a new system of security should include mutual obligation of governments to arrest foreign assets of an aggressor.

Also, Olexandr mentioned that after the starting of this war Ukraine has no more pro Russian minorities: “We have a consensus in our society that Russia is a danger for every Ukrainian. In my opinion, every Russian is responsible for this aggression, because all of them knew that Putin was a dictator and he wanted  to start a war in Europe. Since 2013, all of them knew that his ambition was to ban NATO to the borders of 1991”.

Dasha Zarivna: “We are fighting for our future while Russians are fighting for someone else’s past”

Dasha Zarivna is an Advisor on communications of the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. In March Russians destroyed her house in Kherson. She underlined that now the battlefield determines the future of Europe. Also, Dasha said that it is crucial to spread the message among Western leaders that Ukraine needs weapons and other support in order to win this war.

Dasha emphasized that despite the Russians destroying Ukraine, they will lose this war: “Russians invaded our house, destroyed our lives and dreams. But they will never win. We are fighting for our future while Russians are fighting for someone else’s past”.

Aspen Institute Kyiv is grateful to its international partners from Aspen Institute Spain for the opportunity to explain the situation in Ukraine to their Community, and for their support.