Estonian formin gets honorary doctorate in Ukraine, gives lecture in bomb shelter

  • 2023-03-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu is on a visit to Ukraine, where he received an honorary doctorate at the Zhytomyr Polytechnic State University and had to give half of his lecture to students in a bomb shelter.

On Wednesday morning, Reinsalu visited Zhytomyr, a focus region of Estonia in its reconstruction assistance to Ukraine, and the Zhytomyr Polytechnic State University, where he received an honorary doctorate, spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BNS. 

Following the presentation ceremony, the foreign minister gave a lecture to the students, which was interrupted by an air raid siren set off by a Russian attack.

"I gave half of my lecture in a bomb shelter, surrounded by young Ukrainians who have become accustomed to learning in bomb shelters due to the horrors of war," Reinsalu noted.

He also discussed continued cooperation on reconstruction with the Zhytomyr local government leaders. Reinsalu said Estonia wanted to provide practical assistance in Zhytomyr, such as the kindergarten in Ovruch and rebuilding the Malyn Bridge. 

His meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday covered the decision taken at Monday's joint meeting of European Union foreign and defence ministers in Brussels to provide Ukraine with a million shells within 12 months.

"It is an important step to help Ukraine defend itself and the security of all of Europe but Ukraine still needs additional emergency defence assistance to resist Russia's continued full-scale aggression," Reinsalu said.

"Security in Europe cannot have any grey areas and sustainable peace in Europe requires Ukraine's victory," Reinsalu told his Ukrainian colleague. He emphasized that Ukraine must be given a clear and straightforward roadmap to NATO at the summit of the alliance in Vilnius.

He also spoke to Kuleba about actions to hold Russian perpetrators to account. Reinsalu said he welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court regarding President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova; however, a UN-mandated special tribunal needed to be established to prevent impunity.

"Putin and his accomplices have committed indescribable war crimes and crimes against humanity, which countries must not ignore in the name of economic and political interests," he said.