On Friday, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak met with students of the Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He said he is very pleased to communicate with young people studying at the higher education institution, which he once graduated from.
"We showed the whole world what we are capable of. Ukraine has been at war for more than a year and has not only stopped the invaders but is gradually liberating its territories. Today, Ukraine is one of the leaders of the free world, holds its well-deserved place, and we are treated with respect," Yermak said at the beginning of his speech.
The head of the President's Office is convinced that now, in international politics, a lot is built on personal contacts and attitudes towards each other of people who work and make decisions.
"If there are no personal relations, it is impossible, in particular, to protect the interests of one's country," he said.
Yermak gave an example of his contacts with National Security Advisor to the U.S. President Jake Sullivan.
"From the first meeting, we've managed to build a very constructive dialogue. He is an extremely clear, intelligent, and thoughtful person. We communicate very openly, we say what we may like and what we may not like. I highly value our communication," he said.
Speaking about the prospect of creating a special international tribunal to investigate the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the head of the President's Office said that this process is an example of when systemic work is being implemented to achieve a result, and it is important to find an individual approach to different countries.
"Today, we need the whole world, even those countries that maintain neutrality, to be interested in ending the war and supporting our territorial integrity," he said.
Yermak said that Ukraine continues working on the promotion of a document on security guarantees for our country until becoming a NATO full member called the Kyiv Security Compact, which was developed by the international working group led by the head of the Office of the President and former Secretary General of the Alliance Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
According to Yermak, today, these materials have been brought to many world leaders.
He also drew attention to the fact that the Ukrainian Peace Formula initiated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is an extremely important step because it contains answers to all the challenges that currently exist in the world.
Answering questions about the effectiveness of sanctions against the Russian Federation, the head of the Office of the President said that if Russia is capable of continuing the aggressive war against Ukraine, this means that the sanctions pressure today, although unprecedented, is still insufficient.
At the same time, the Yermak-McFaul International Group is constantly working to make the level of economic restrictions on the aggressor more effective.
Yermak said that each new package of sanctions against the Russian Federation is difficult to adopt because, for example, several EU countries hesitate to introduce sanctions against the Russian nuclear sector, as they depend on the Russian Federation in this field.
Sanctions against the structures of the IT industry – companies that contribute to the implementation of the Russian missile program or the production of drones, as well as against propagandists of the Russian Federation – are also important.
Speaking to international students about the peculiarities of the exchange of prisoners of war, which is of great importance for Ukrainian society, Yermak said that, unfortunately, there is no international organization in the world today that would be able to influence this process.
"The war changed the world, and it was Ukraine that showed how these issues can be quickly resolved. Because when people are actually in concentration camps, there is no time to wait," he said, adding that it is a very difficult process.
Yermak recalled that Ukraine came up with the idea of founding a new international organization with headquarters in Kyiv, which would effectively deal with such issues.
The head of the President's Office expressed the opinion that conventional diplomacy is "dead," and now, it is Ukraine that has proven that a non-standard approach in this area is effective.
Yermak said that it is important for a diplomat to deeply understand the country, in which he works, and its culture, communicate with different people, and, above all, not be indifferent.
He also said that he supports the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its head Dmytro Kuleba regarding the open acceptance of applications for the positions of ambassadors.
"Now, each of you has a chance to be who you want to be. It is the kind of country we are building," the head of the President's Office said.