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2014.04.14 11:34

Ukrainian Researcher: “We are feeling tremendous support from Lithuanians”

Šarūnas Bulota |DELFI | The Lithuania Tribune2014.04.14 11:34

“Every Ukrainian feels that the situation in our country is extremely dangerous. Lithuanians must be aware that they can be the next Russian target,” said Ukrainian researcher Valerij Michailenko while visting Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Faculty of Chemical Technology. Michailenko is a geography professor at the Kiev Taras Shevchenko National University and was vsiting KTU to read a paper at a seminar on landfill mining in the context of sustainable environment, but the academic dialoque inevitably touched on the intensifying political situation in Ukraine.

 “Every Ukrainian feels that the situation in our country is extremely dangerous. Lithuanians must be aware that they can be the next Russian target,” said Ukrainian researcher Valerij Michailenko while visting Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Faculty of Chemical Technology. Michailenko is a geography professor at the Kiev Taras Shevchenko National University and was vsiting KTU to read a paper at a seminar on landfill mining in the context of sustainable environment, but the academic dialoque inevitably touched on the intensifying political situation in Ukraine.

Before beginning the talk, the Ukrainian researcher thanked the organisers who made his participation possible. “As you all know, my country is suffering a huge political and economic crisis,” said Michailenko.

The researcher said he greatly valued support from Lithuanian and other EU academic communities. He said it was extremely important for all Ukrainians today as it made them feel they were not alone.

Do you have time to follow the events in Eastern Ukraine while participating at the seminar here, at KTU?

I cannot elaborate much on this question as I am taking part at the scientific conference, and that is in my focus of attention at the moment. I did not have enough time to watch TV or follow the news, and the situation is changing all the time.

Who is to blame for the events that took place over the last few months in Ukraine?

The independent state of Ukraine was founded in 1991. We did not have any problems back then. What happened? Who is to blame? Russia. It is not only my personal opinion, but also that of the United Nations Organisation.

Do you feel supported enough by the democratic Western world?

There are different problems and different levels of support. We feel great support at the academic level from Lithuanian, Polish and other European countries’ academic communities – my being here is the proof of this.

I can honestly say that this means a lot to us as our government does not have enough strength or funds to send Ukrainian researchers to international conferences. Our scientists are being contacted by colleagues from various countries. We have also received this kind of support from the Lithuanian community of researchers. We can feel that we are not alone.

What is your opinion on NATO’s decision to not interfere directly? Should it change course and consider military defence of Ukraine?

We have already had one bad scenario – the Crimea occupation. I do not wish it to repeat itself.

Do you feel optimistic about Ukraine getting Crimea back?

A pessimist is a well-informed optimist. I am probably not as well informed, but the situation is really bad. Everybody in Ukraine feels that it is very dangerous. You have to be careful as you may become the next [Russian] target.

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