This Wednesday, May 11, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed French students via videoconference. The exchange, organized in person at Sciences po Paris, brought together more than 900 students from different universities and schools for 1h15. The opportunity to recall the importance of the role of the European Union in this war against Russia.
“Youth is our future, it is our greatest source of hope”, presented the director of Sciences po Paris, Mathias Vicherat. It is at the famous Institute of Political Studies that 900 students met to exchange canvases with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
A first for the Ukrainian leader and for future French “engineers, businessmen, teachers, public actors or even lawyers” who, for more than an hour, the “pride”, the honor” and the “humility” of asking your questions about the situation in Ukraine.
An exchange with students to better understand the war in Ukraine
“I was told that our schedule included the possibility for five students – I believe – to ask questions: I think it’s not fair, five questions are not enough to understand a person and a situation, it would seem like a privilege. Also, I would like to ask questions to find out what you think so that this is really a dialogue.“, presents, with complete ease, Volodymyr Zelensky.
When remembering reality 77 days of this “terrible and total” war where more than “10,000 war crimes were recorded”the President thus punctuated his speech with a series of questions: “Why has no European institution been able to stop this war?”, “Why is there no way to bring criminals to justice?”, “Why has one person started the war “Are you protected from it in France and Europe?”, “How would you feel if you were the son or daughter of leaders?”.
One by one, nine students followed at the table, showing their support and deftly trying to answer all these questions… sometimes with no possible answers. “We find it difficult to answer that because are no longer human beings, they are criminals who act cruelly“, retorts the Ukrainian president, pointing to the actions of the Russian army.
A peace with Russia far from being recorded
Other points were raised by the students themselves. on the future of Ukraine and its ties with Russia. “How do you envision the end of the war?” asked bluntly, Victor, a student at Polytechnique. “The war will end when we take back what is ours, no more, no less. We want to bring peace and freedom back to our country. As long as Russia does not give us back the right to live, we will have to fight,” the president replied, hoping that the dialogue to be held with the Russians would not be in vain.
According to him, peace will be possible when solid agreements are signed and that a powerful Ukrainian army be established, two indispensable conditions for Volodymyr Zelensky.
Wait, students also pointed out the current situation, in particular Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons. “As soon as there are threats, preventive sanctions are necessary. If we do not control violations of international law, it means that we do not control our future. We must therefore raise the question of the presence of these weapons, because Russia is not the only threat.”
The role of Europe and NATO in the war in Ukraine pointed
The Ukrainian President also recalled the importance of spreading the truth in the western media, trying to put yourself in the shoes of the younger generation whoever he says can hardly understand this situation until she has experienced it. “It is essential to bring up the suffering of the Ukrainian people so that political leaders are in unison with society. This is what will help us, let it be known that Russia is the aggressor and that Ukraine is resisting and fighting back..”
Caroline, an INSP student, in turn, raised the issue of the influx of refugees in Europe, quickly amended by the president, specifying that they are not refugees, but “temporarily displaced persons”. “Of the five million people who have moved, 95% want to come back, and our cities are already filling up. Europe need not fear a big wave of immigration.”
The responsibility of France and Europe in this war was also debated. Volodymyr Zelensky insisted that “Ukraine deserves to come to Europe” while qualifying and stating that it must be a reciprocal desire. “It can’t just be promises because that causes uncertainty, can we count on Europe in critical situations?”, raises the president.
As for NATO intervention, the president says he is convinced that there would have been no war if Ukraine had been part of this world organization. “Our independence can be an example of state building and this is what can destabilize Russia, this is the main reason for this war.”
The discussion ended with long applause from the students and certainly there are still many doubts about international relationsquestions that will only stir the minds of the future generation.