YES Board Members Visited Dnipro to Support Ukrainians

17 February 2022

On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, the Yalta European Strategy (YES) Board came to Dnipro to support Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country, learn about the current situation, and pass their analysis to international leaders at the Munich Security Conference where Victor Pinchuk Foundation and YES will hold the Ukrainian Lunch on February 19.

The YES board held meetings among others with students, including scholars of the Zavtra.UA program, representatives of the mayor's office, ATO veterans and activists and employees of Interpipe Steel. 

The Board was represented by its Chairman Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005); Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014), Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994); Stephane Fouks, Vice President of Havas Group, Executive Co-Chairman of Havas Worldwide; Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia (2016-2021), United Nations Secretary-General's Global Advocate for Every Woman Every Child; and Victor Pinchuk, Founder and Member of the Board, YES and Founder of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and EastOne group.

Addressing the press, Kersti Kaljulaid, said: “While the whole world is talking about the beginning of the war, the potential of the beginning of the war, the war has been ongoing. It’s the eighth year of war for Ukrainian people and that is also why we stand here today - to remind the world.”

“We still hope that Russia will deescalate. There is still space to deescalate. But it is only Russia who can do it, because nobody else has escalated. Therefore, it has to be their decision. We are ready to continue our diplomatic work, and we are ready to insist, and we will always insist for the right of Ukraine to choose their partners and allies freely.” 

Aleksander Kwasniewski said: "Certainly, we hope that there won't be a war. But everything that is happening now is very dangerous. Unfortunately, I think that even if this most tragic scenario does not take place, the Kremlin and Putin, as president of the Russian Federation, will all the time work and think how to make sure that the whole of Ukraine ends up in his zone of influence, in Russia's zone of influence. This means that this struggle will continue in different formats."

He warned that the time ahead would be difficult for Ukraine and called on for international solidarity and support for Ukraine.

Commenting on his impressions from a visit to the ATO Museum in Dnipro, Carl Bildt noted “impressive determination, resilience of the Ukrainian nation in protecting and indeed, if worse comes to worst, defending your unity, your integrity, your independence and democracy.”

“If it’s allowed somewhere for someone to invade, and to dismember and to attack another European country, that is something that is a danger for all other European countries,” he stressed.

Victor Pinchuk said: "Together with the YES Board members we wanted to demonstrate unity here today. The Munich Security Conference starts in two days. For the fifth time in a row, we are holding the Ukrainian Lunch there. This time it will be a very high-impact event with lots of politicians and decision makers attending. And it is important for us to send the right message, a very strong message, which of course we don't want to come up with on our own. We want to hear it, that's why we came here - to listen to the people, the people of Dnipro, and then to share everything we saw, heard and understood here."

"It is very important to show the whole world and Ukraine, naturally, that Ukrainian business is here in Ukraine. For us, Ukraine is our only homeland, the only thing that matters to us, this is the place in which we invest, the place for which we will fight together. Ukrainian business will be here, will invest and help," he stressed.

Stephane Fouks said: There is no European future without the freedom of Ukraine. We understand that today is the moment to tell you how much you are important for us.” 

Speaking about the current situation in the country, Dnipro mayor Borys Filatov recalled what 2014 and 2015 were like. "There is no 'Russian world', there are no problems with the Russian-speaking population, there are no contradictions in the country. There are only huge lies on the part of our northern neighbour. Unfortunately, we are now living in a post-truth world. In a world where people's minds are greatly influenced by the media and social media. But Ukraine is threatened by one country, which is its neighbour and which does not want to stop at anything," Borys Filatov said. He pointed out "that people in Ukraine want peace and will defend their country no matter what".

ATO veteran Pavlo Khazan, Russian-Ukrainian war veteran, said: “We all have to protect our civilization from this terrible post-Soviet regime and we have enough international legislation to make a pressure. I believe that all our friendly countries have enough strength. We thank everybody who sent us weapons and big support. Of course we have to protect ourselves. We have a huge army and our army has been very much improved since 2014 when it was in a very bad condition. Now we have a very well trained army.” 

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Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014); Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994), 15th YES Annual Meeting, 2018
«If you look at opinion polls throughout Europe, there has been a significant rise of public opinion support for the European Union. The reason for that is what I call PTB effect. The PTB is Putin, Trump and Brexit.»