Polish-Ukrainian relations after 24 February 2022 - report on the panel discussion


How have Polish-Ukrainian relations changed over the past two years? The six-day celebration commemorating the 10th anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the 2nd anniversary of the full-scale war concluded with the panel 'Polish-Ukrainian relations after 24.02.2022'. On 26 February, diplomats, politicians, academics and activists met at the Faculty of Social Sciences to take stock of the aftermath of the two-year war in the context of Polish-Ukrainian relations.

The event was opened on behalf of the Rector of UG by the Vice-Rector for International Cooperation UG, dr hab. Anna Jurkowska-Zeidler, prof. UG. The representative of the university's authorities shared her experience in implementing the BEACOUP project, which aims to support education in Eastern Partnership countries by stimulating the digital transformation of universities, schools or kindergartens.

‘The number of projects and programmes that Ukrainian society is currently implementing thanks to Erasmus + is unbelievable. I found it hard to believe that at a time when the country is at war, this society is working so hard to learn to function well in the Western world,’ the Vice-Rector recounted.

The Director of the Institute of Political Science, dr hab. Arkadiusz Modrzejewski, prof. UG, then asked for a minute's silence for the victims of Russian aggression. After a tribute to the civilians and soldiers who gave their lives for the free Ukraine, a panel discussion entitled ‘Polish-Ukrainian relations after 24.02.2022’ was opened by its moderator, dr hab. Aleksander Kuczabski, prof. UG.

Eight panellists took part in the discussion:

  • Former Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Kiev Jacek Kluczkowski
  • Former Ukrainian Consul in Gdańsk Lev Zakharchyshyn
  • Senator Jerzy Wcisła 
  • Director of the UG Institute of Political Science prof. Arkadiusz Modrzejewski
  • Initiator of the Students for Ukraine campaign Marcelina Wilczewska
  • Former Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Pavlo Sheremeta (online)
  • Oleksandra Matviichuk, who received the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of her organisation the Centre for Civil Liberties (online)
  • Mayor of Trotsynets Yuriy Bova (online)

Participants in the discussion described the social, military, economic and political consequences of Russian aggression. However, they spoke optimistically about the future. A particularly moving story was told by the mayor of Trotsinets, Yuriy Bova, who presented what his city looked like before and after February 24, 2022. The war destroyed dozens of facilities, including a hospital, schools, and hundreds of flats. The Ukrainian local government official concluded his speech by saying that the Ukrainian grain crisis would soon pass, as exports across the Black Sea had recently been reopened.

‘It is our moral duty to remember and be ready to help. The basis of morality is not mere sympathy, but compassion, which pushes us to act. Compassion means going beyond our comfort zone to experience the other person's drama, fear, anger, and trauma, to see through their eyes for a moment. Then our perspective will change. Ukraine will cease to be the name of a state or a slogan and will become personalised. And the tragedy of Ukraine will become the tragedy of Valentina, Oleksandra, Yuriy, Artiom or Mykola,’ said prof. Arkadiusz Modrzejewski.

The discussion concluded a six-day commemoration marking the 10th anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the 2nd anniversary of the outbreak of full-scale war. The celebrations were held under the common name 'Solidarity with Ukraine'.

Marcel Jakubowski/ Press Office UG