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FANVoices | Ukraine 1


Transcription of Maria Kurinna’s statement during the EFA #believeineurope Community Call on 28 February 2022. Maria acts as International Advocacy Officer at the Human Rights NGO ZMINA and is member of Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach.


Dear European Alpbach Network members, 

My name is Maria Kurinna. I’m a member of Kyiv initiative group Alpbach and international advocacy manager at the Human Rights Centre ZMINA which means ‚change‘ in Ukrainian. Another part of my identity is having been an internally displaced person for almost eight years, putting all professional efforts in the diplomatic and human rights sphere to restore freedom and democracy for Ukraine to flourish.  

Ukraine is under a severe brutal attack, not the military operation of disarmament, as experienced Russian propaganda lies. This is Russian war against Ukraine, a sovereign European state. This war didn’tstart just five days ago, it has been ongoing for eight long years. Ukraine has nonetheless become even more united, stronger, and more resilient than ever. We are fearlessly and courageously fighting against the barbarian totalitarian aggressor, each at his/her place: Ukrainian military forces, volunteers, units of territorial defense, human rights defenders, civil activists, medical personnel, cyber security specialists, independent media, artists, every Ukrainian tries to contribute in whatever way he/she can.  

What is at stake for Ukraine? It is a question of defending Ukrainian choice. The choice of freedom, democracy, respect of the rule of law and human rights. This is a question of the choice made by Ukraine to return to the European family. And this is a question of our existence. We will continue to fight tirelessly day and night and we will not give up. So we have no doubts we will win, as we defend not only our freedom and our peace, but we also preserve the basis of international law and world security. In order to secure any country’s independence, its territorial integrity and sovereignty must not be questioned. 

Not only our future is at stake, the future of all democratic values and the world order are at stake now. We, human rights defenders and activists, have been reporting and alerting Europe and the entire democratic world for years, trying to explain it is not enough to be ‘deeply concerned’. As well as, it is impossible to negotiate with the international criminal who violated the very concept of international humanitarian law by occupying Crimea, Ukraine. European leaders tolerated this gross crime and subsequent violation of international human rights law. They tolerated occupation of the parts of the independent states Moldova, Georgia, and Belarus leader’s blatant persecution of his own nation. Subsequently, the war is about to knock to your doors, my friends. Russia’s attempt to threaten Ukraine with nuclear weapon is a threat to whole of Europe and the world. It is not the time to wait for someone else to decide what to do, it is time to act now boldly and promptly. As not even every day, every hour counts. Every minute Ukrainians die. Man, women, elderly people, babies and our pets suffer. Ecological catastrophe can outburst at any moment. War doesn’t choose. As it hasn’t not chosen me or my family specifically twice in our lifetime. For the second time, I have to leave my home and be under bombs and fire. Please, act in the sphere you can. 

I know how talented, professional and devoted to democratic values and peace you are, my dear Alpbach community.  

Go to peaceful open-ended protests every day until the war is over.  

Arrange strikes together with professional trade unions not to cooperate or trade with Russian businesses and stop exporting their equipment, spare parts and any other commodities. Stop cooperation in all strategic fields.  

Appeal to your MPs to foster the accelerated procedure for Ukraine’s integration into the EU, block all Russian assets and funds. Challenge pro-Russian lobby high-level decision-makers who are paid from your taxes.  

Advocate at all intergovernmental platforms or international organisations you have access to. Speed up bureaucrats blocking the access to any assistance to Ukraine. Educate others that we, the Ukrainians are defending our state and have never had any plans to start any war since our independence, as we are a peaceful nation, devoted to dignity and freedom of any individual.  

Donate to any Ukrainian initiative you feel related to. And remain sure we, together, having our strong Alpbach spirit will win. This is a clash of civilizations, though, a peaceful and secure future is in our hands and it will prevail!