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  • 07 December 2018
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Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė meets Ukrainian volunteers

This morning in the Lithuanian Embassy in Kyiv, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is in Ukraine on an official visit, met with representatives of Ukrainian volunteer organizations, specifically “The Wings of Victory, a charitable foundation, and the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.

In anticipation of the meeting. L to R: Tamara Markelova, Viktoria Kramarenko, Gennadiy Druzenko, and Natalia Prylutska

The Lithuanian leader reportedly initiated the meeting. According to the head of TWoV and a PFVMH veteran, Viktoria Kramarenko, Ambassador of Lithuania to Ukraine Marius Janukonis called her before the President’s visit. “He said that Dalia Grybauskaitė would like to see people engaging in volunteering, where activities of their organizations are broad, reaching out to not only the front,” Viktoria said. She also presumed that her charitable foundation was probably selected for this meeting also because of its connections with the Baltic countries: TWoV operated with support of the Estonian government and renowned public figures in this country, including the head of the Ukrainian Culture Center in Tallinn, Anatoli Ljutjuk, and the chairwoman of the Estonian Congress of Ukrainians, Vira Konõk.

Based on Viktoria Kramarenko’s proposal, the meeting was also attended by PFVMH Supervisory Board Chairman Gennadiy Druzenko, volunteer Natalia Prylutska, who has been assisting Ukrainian warriors since the Maidan revolution and who closely collaborates with Lithuania, and one more representative of TWoV, civil society activist and Oksamyt magazine Editor in Chief Tamara Markelova.

On behalf of the PFVMH, Gennadiy Druzenko presented Dalia Grybauskaitė with a Guardian Angel icon, painted by artist and main sponsor of the PFVMH Oleksandr Klymenko on the lid of an AKM ammo box brought from a battlefield near Mariupol. “It is symbolic that charitable exhibitions of icons on ammo boxes were held in both the Lithuanian Embassy in Ukraine and the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. We sincerely hope that the Residence of Lithuanian President will be the next exhibition venue, and with your assistance, we will be able to raise funds for the so much needed project “Mobile Clinic for the Grey Zone,” which will allow us to examine and provide medical care to dozens of thousands of residents of Ukrainian Donbas, who live in the vicinity of the front line,” Druzenko said, handing the icon.

A helmet, brought from the front and painted by Ukrainian artist Maryana Dorichenko, was a present from TWoV and Natalia Prylutska. They also gave the Lithuanian President a “Keeper of Ukraine” badge.

Ukrainians’ attitude towards Lithuania is very warm not only because the two are tied by their many-century common history, which is much longer than their history of staying together under the yoke of Moscow. “Since the beginning of the Revolution of Dignity and then for the all five years of the war with Russia, Lithuania remains one of Ukraine’s best friends, if not the very best. And as for its President personally, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Ukrainians just admire her. It won’t be a mistake to say that a majority of them would like to see a president exactly like her as the head of their state,” Gennadiy Druzenko shared his impression after the meeting.

Gennadiy Druzenko to Dalia Grybauskaitė: “Dear Ms. President! Let me present you with this icon, which is a symbol of our struggle against Russian aggression. This icon is deeply symbolic since it links the centuries-long traditions of icon-painting and an echo of the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine. This Guardian Angel was painted on the lid of an AKM ammo box brought from a battlefield near Mariupol. This icon is evidence that we are fighting for something greater than just a territory or even the liberty to define our future independently. In Donbas, we defend our common values, the core of which is humanism. Unlike the Kremlin, we really believe that the human being is not cannon-fodder for the achievement of any lofty aims. It is just humaneness that is the goal and the criterion of any policy. In essence, in the eastern areas of Ukraine, we guard the everlasting values of Christian humanism, which provides that God became a Man, and through His sacrificial death, He overcame the death. Similarly, a new Ukraine is upspringing through the victims of Russian aggression, Ukrainian warriors and civilians; a new life sprouts forth from death. The icons on ammo boxes are symbolic witnesses to this majestic mystery. But these icons are not merely symbolic witnesses – they are also real helpers that allow us to raise funds to support activities of the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital. During nearly four last years, these works have gone over a half of the world, from Mariupol to Los Angeles and from Edmonton to Rome. They were exhibited in the European Parliament and quite a dozen European capitals and helped us raise more than a hundred thousand euros to support the functioning of our volunteer medics. Without the icons on ammo boxes, we would have probably been unable to function for the four years in the combat zone and provide care to over 50,000 patients, restoring not only the health of residents in the Ukrainian east but also their hope for a better life. It is symbolic that charitable exhibitions of icons on ammo boxes were held in both the Lithuanian Embassy in Ukraine and Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. We sincerely hope that the Residence of Lithuanian President will be the next exhibition venue, and with your assistance, we will be able to raise funds for the so much needed project “Mobile Clinic for the Grey Zone,” which will allow us to examine and provide medical care to dozens of thousands of residents of Ukrainian Donbas, who live in the vicinity of the front line and therefore are the least protected and most vulnerable victims of this war. Finally, I sincerely thank personally you, and in your person, the entire Lithuanian people for the invaluable support you give us, Ukrainians, in our righteous fight for our freedom and yours!”

Photo album “2018/12/07, Kyiv, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania. Meeting of representatives of the PFVMH and the Charitable Foundation “The Wings of Victory” with President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė”

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