Maryna Mykhailenko addresses Erasmus students in Coimbra
The Ukrainian ambassador to Portugal, Maryna Mykhailenko, explained today that the war in Ukraine would drag on longer if Kiev stopped its counter-offensive now and accepted an “unfavourable ceasefire”.
“Those who propose that Ukraine stop now and agree to an unfavourable ceasefire do not wish Ukraine and Europe well”, she told a ceremony for Erasmus students at the University of Coimbra, taking place in the former church of the Convento São Francisco.
“What they want is something that will allow the Russian army to heal its wounds and then attack Ukraine with renewed force,” she said. In other words, it is a strategy for dragging out the conflict.
Ukraine is “on the offensive”, she insisted – and, although victories take “more time” in the face of a terrain that is “heavily mined and fortified”, there are results: “the sceptics will be surprised“.
During her speech, the ambassador said that everyone in Ukraine has been “impressed by Portugal’s reaction to Russia’s aggression“, with the country “not just showing support, but real solidarity”.
According to Maryna Mykhailenko, the theory that Western European countries are not as concerned about the conflict because they are further away from the threat “does not apply in Portugal”.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries “have increased” and reached “a new level”, and Ukraine is keen on maintaining “this positive momentum”.
In her speech as part of the reception of Erasmus students to the university, the ambassador also stressed the importance of Ukraine’s integration into the European Union and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).
“We know that the process (of joining the European Union) can be difficult and that, for example, Portugal spent eight years negotiating and had a long transition period, but we have to start these negotiations so that there is a sign of support for our nation at this time,” she emphasised to journalists after the speech.
According to Maryna Mykhailenko, there are 60 Ukrainian students studying at the University of Coimbra (UC).
At the ceremony, dean Amílcar Falcão, emphasised that the institution he leads “will never hesitate in its international commitment” to support Ukraine.
“All of Europe is with you,” he told Mykhailenko.