Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine is on the minds of every European right now. Mėta Kvedaravičiūtė, a young Lithuanian studying in Heidelberg, Germany, shares her thoughts on the frightening situation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a Lithuanian student at the University of Heidelberg and I want to talk about the situation in Ukraine and in the whole East, especially the one in Lithuania. What is happening there right now is cruel and unbelievable. Yes, you can say that you could have expected it, it was clear that Putin will wage a war. I was also of the opinion before: A war will take place, the question is only when. But now when you read that a war is really happening so straight, it’s unbelievable. I know that Lithuania is not yet affected by the war, but you can expect everything from Putin. It seems that he wants to restore the Soviet Union. This must not be! He is a threat to the whole world and to the values that are so important to all of us. We must not allow a man to behave in this way. But what can we do? It is clear that little is achieved with a lot of panic. Nevertheless, we do not understand what Ukrainians are experiencing now. I can only speak about the experience and the mood in my homeland. I don’t know if I can and may come back to Lithuania during my vacations. For some people I may sound way too dramatic now, but when you have Putin as a neighbor, you can never be sure. My family is ready to flee. Where to? That is not clear yet, maybe here (to Germany). But what can I do about the war? Can I make more of a difference from Germany or Lithuania? A state of emergency was enforced in Lithuania on Thursday (Feb. 24, 2022) and has been in effect ever since. President Biden suspects that Putin is moving beyond Ukraine and could become a threat to other states. And there is a strong possibility that he could invade the Baltics. Lithuania is a small country. We are small, but we are united. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am prepared for anything, against Putin, with my brothers and sisters in Lithuania and other democratic states that stand for freedom and democracy in Europe, and are ready to fight. Am I afraid? Of course you are. And I am not the only one. I know that taking concrete action is much easier said than done. However, it is still important to use your voice, especially through the (social) media and draw attention to the situation or the war. The amount of false information is greater than ever on the internet these days. We must be careful to read the reliable and reputable sources only and always critically evaluate and question everything. Putin wants to create panic, he wants to portray Ukraine as weak and alone. This is not the truth and we must not allow it. Ukraine is not a part of Russia and not a new country. Ukraine has a history of statehood that goes back to the 10th century. Spread the word, stand together with Ukraine and other Eastern states! We are many, we are united and we will not calm down until Putin’s aggression stops. I ask for your understanding and support. We must not remain neutral or do nothing. Silence means endorsing Putin. Silence means having the blood of Ukrainians on our hands. As many people as possible need to get informed about the situation and spread the message (about the events in Ukraine). There are also various ways to support: we can donate to support funds (https://www.blue-yellow.lt/en/), offer shelter or meals to the refugees, and talk to them. We must not remain silent. We must not leave Ukraine alone. For me it is especially important because I don’t want to stand alone against Putin if he comes to Lithuania. And I hope that together and united we can stand against the aggressor and put an end to the war. Together we are stronger. Encourage your government to make decisions in favor of Ukraine and contain Putin in every way. It is too late for communication and diplomatic negotiations with him. Do not remain passive! Slava Ukraini and Vienybė težydi (unity flourishes)!