"Peace does not come by itself"
"There is no speech," Oleksii Makeiev, Ukrainian ambassador to Germany since October last year, declared right at the beginning of his talk. He said he did not want to speak at length, but to engage in conversation. "Diplomats of the 21st century rely on honesty," the ambassador explained: "Addressing fears, answering questions, collecting political and scientific ideas and suggestions, that's what I'm here for." About 130 EUF students, faculty and other staff had taken their seats in the Senate Room to discuss with the ambassador, who had arrived together with the Consul General of Ukraine in Hamburg, Dr. Iryna Tybinka.
Awareness of the Everyday Suffering of Ukrainians
At the beginning, the Ambassador raised awareness of the everyday suffering of Ukrainians in this war. Afterwards, he thanked the audience on behalf of all Ukrainians for the reception of more than one million refugees in Germany and for military support. Oleksii Makeiev left no doubt that Ukrainians were defending European values such as freedom of the press, democracy and human rights for all Europeans in this war.
This is Russia's war on Ukraine
"Basically, Ukraine has been at war since the spring of 2014, since the annexation of Crimea. How do you experience this?" was the first question a student asked the ambassador. "We feel left alone," Oleksii Makeiev answered. "It bothers me that this war is called the Ukraine war, because it is not. This is Russia's war against Ukraine and against Europe." On what grounds he had called for pushing his country's admission to NATO, another question read. "Ukraine is doing today exactly what NATO was created for," Oleksii Makeiev replied, "to protect Europe militarily from a Russian imperialist invasion."
Peace does not come by itself
How he assessed the impact of non-military means? Sanctions have become a very important diplomatic tool, the ambassador replied, but only on condition that they are introduced quickly and comprehensively and that gaps are closed decisively.
To the question "What Ukrainian scenarios are there for ending the war?" Makeiev answered in detail: "Peace does not come by itself. It all has to be fought for. We have clear ideas for Ukraine's victory; among other things, there is a 10-point presidential peace plan. Victory is when Russia leaves all occupied territories. Victory is when all prisoners of war are exchanged and children deported to Russia are returned. The war is won when Russian war crimes are brought to justice by a special tribunal. The war will be over when Russia also pays for it and we can start reconstruction. Guarantees must be created for this."
Warm Welcome to Ukrainian Students
The ambassador spent a total of one hour answering the interested and knowledgeable questions of those present and then welcomed some of the 11 Ukrainian students at the EUF. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Glassmann, Vice President for Europe and International Affairs, was pleased about this. "We were able to tell the ambassador that the students are financed by DAAD scholarships here and integrated into student programs, giving them a perspective. This is also exactly what education systems need to provide in this situation."
Glassmann also appreciates the ambassador's visit to the university for academic reasons: "Usually, diplomacy or politics is the subject of study at the university. And therefore always have to unfold a critical view, but of course the important impulse to have sensitized for the war suffering in Ukraine is something very valuable to stimulate now discussions in the university about how a European university redefines itself in times of war in Europe."
An assessment that the president of the EUF Prof. Dr. Werner Reinhart, shares in principle: "We are faced with the paradoxical situation that the European idea, which had been very much under pressure, has been given new impulses by the threat from outside."