- March 3, 2022
“Solidarity with Ukraine” Concert in Vilnius
On March 1, a concert “Solidarity with Ukraine” by the Ukrainian band Horpyna from Olsztyn took place, next to the square of K. Szyrwid near the Polish Embassy in Vilnius.
In the heart of the Vilnius Old Town, between the Polish and French embassies, people gathered to show solidarity and support for Ukraine.
Poles in the Vilnius region protest against the war
“I am here to show that Poles in the Vilnius region are protesting against this war and that the Ukrainian nation does not deserve to see people die in their country,” says Andrzej Rosiński to “Kurier Wileński.”
“People must live without war. What do you need it for? I do not understand what do they want from the Ukrainians?” resents Irena Kuszniewicz in an interview with “Kurier Wileński.”
Olha about family in Lviv
Olha comes from Lviv and studies at the University of Vilnius. As she told “Kurier Wileński,” her body is here, but the soul and heart are in Ukraine with her loved ones.
“It is hard to imagine what we are feeling today. I am here, I feel safe, but my whole family is in Kyiv. For now, they are alive. My brother and father went to fight. Mom is staying in the subway. I call my loved ones every day, and if they do not answer, I immediately think of the worst. It is scary to talk and hear gunfire, explosions…” says weeping Olha.
Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania always together
Petro Beshta, the recently appointed ambassador of Ukraine to Vilnius, thanked the Polish and Lithuanian authorities for their support in the fight against the Russian invaders and for helping Ukraine on its way to join the EU and NATO.
“Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland are always together, both in times of peace and in times of war. Together we are building a new Europe. However, a great tragedy has come to Europe these days. Putin’s neo-fascist regime has hit Ukraine. He wants to destroy the country and introduce his rules in Europe. One hundred thirty-two hours of total defense – Ukrainian soldiers are courageously defending their homeland. Nevertheless, the bad news is that the attacks continue; the invaders attack civilian facilities, destroy hospitals, kindergartens, kill civilians,” said the Ukrainian ambassador in Vilnius Petro Beshta.
A space of goodness and beauty connects everyone
Sister Michaela Rak, founder of the Blessed Father Michael Sopocko Hospice in Vilnius, in an interview with “Kurier Wileński,” spoke about the flowing tears.
“We can gather in this space where every man who has freedom meets. We can say from this place, ‘you are not alone!’ Today I send a cry to God — stop the evil actions of people in whose minds and hearts aggression against other people was born. I ask for peace; this space that unites us is a space of goodness and beauty. The space of tears, pain, suffering, and killings will always be divisive. Today I ask that the space of connection between us will always be there, and today we connect,” comments Sister Rak.
Vilnius has heard Ukrainian music
The concert was organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Institute in Vilnius with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine and the Self-Government of the City of Vilnius. As emphasized by the initiator of this symbolic musical support for fighting Ukraine, the ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius Urszula Doroszewska, Ukrainian songs best reflect the spirit of this nation; besides, they were often sung also in Polish homes.
“We want to show our solidarity with Ukraine. The Ambassador of Ukraine, the Ambassador of Japan, and the residents of Vilnius are all with us today. We want all of Vilnius to hear Ukrainian music, Ukrainian songs. Moreover, we want to show that we are thinking of Ukraine. We want to show through music and support for Ukrainian culture, that we are on their side,” says the ambassador Urszula Doroszewska to “Kurier Wileński.”
During the concert, Edyta Tamošiūnaitė, deputy mayor of Vilnius, said that no one is safe in the face of unconcealed aggression and complete disregard for legal and international norms.
“Today, the whole world is watching events in Ukraine with concern. One cannot understand that a war is going on in Europe in the 21st century. With the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, we realized how fragile the notion of peace in today’s world is. Every war means a sacrifice, immeasurable pain, ruined fortunes, despair, and fear. After every war, it is extremely difficult to get up and rebuild a ruined human life. Let us hope that the courageous, proud, and spiritually strong Ukraine will withstand this dreadful test. The whole world is on Ukraine’s side today. Today, the national spirit of this country impresses all of us,” said the Deputy Mayor of Vilnius.
Translated by Marta Graban within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.