President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a video call with the members of the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition, who set off for the Akademik Vernadsky station in March 2022, after Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.
The conversation took place on the 160th anniversary of the birth of the first President of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Volodymyr Vernadsky in whose honor the Ukrainian Antarctic station is named.
The Head of State noted that he was extremely pleased to see Ukrainian scientists and researchers doing an important job for their country so far away from Ukraine.
"I would like to thank you for the fact that despite the war, we do not stop our steps towards the development of independent Ukrainian science. Today is a significant date for us, and it is important that we have the opportunity to communicate with you," he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that the state supports the work of Ukrainian polar explorers.
"Today we are all fighting for the sake of our country and our future. And I believe that your steps towards the development of science also bring our victory closer," the President said.
The members of the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition thanked Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the fact that the state allowed them to continue their scientific work.
In particular, head of the expedition Yuri Otruba noted the importance of acquiring the Noosphere research icebreaker with the assistance of the President of Ukraine after the polar explorers' appeal.
The polar explorers are also carrying out technical modernization of the Akademik Vernadsky station, for which the appropriate budget funding has been allocated.
"Our station conducts scientific research that is valuable for Ukraine and the international community," emphasized Yuri Otruba.
The President was told about the study of the impact of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles on the planet's climate, participation in the international project "The Year of Polar Prediction", the launch of climate probes into the atmosphere at a distance of more than 10 kilometers, which provide crucial data for modeling weather forecasts, the continuation of observations of the ozone layer, and the work of the magnetic observatory.
The head of the expedition noted that the polar explorers are trying to contribute to Ukraine's struggle for independence and future even from a distance. They appealed to the scientific community to stop any projects with Russia. Today, another relevant appeal was sent to all polar stations.
In addition, Antarctic auctions were held to sell polar explorers' products, chevrons, etc. to raise funds to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Charity tours of the station were also held. A separate project in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was the Postcard of Invincibility campaign, which sends out a set of photos from Antarctica for a donation to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian polar explorers also organized the first artistic and educational project in Antarctica - the "Home. Memories" art installation project. It reproduces the outlines of a Ukrainian house around a fuel tank, which reminds the polar explorers of their home. For tourists, it is an opportunity to get to know Ukraine through a visual image that is native to Ukrainians. This year, boards with facts about Ukraine and the station, as well as symbolic objects such as a lump of black soil or a fragment of embroidery were placed around the house.
Director of the National Antarctic Research Center Yevhen Dykyi noted that 14 people spent the winter at the station this year. At the same time, 14 polar explorers are fighting in the Armed Forces, most of them on the frontline. They were wounded, in particular in the battles for Bakhmut.
The meeting was also attended by Vyacheslav Marchenko, Deputy Director of the National Antarctic Research Center, who is currently defending Ukraine in the ranks of Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Head of State was told that Ukrainian polar explorers have their own chevron with the Latin inscription "Eagles do not catch flies."
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the participants of the meeting for the warm and informative communication.
"Thank you for this installation, for such initiatives that highlight our identity. It is very important that we stick together, regardless of the distance. Please inspire us all with the results of your research. I wish you nothing but success. Keep advancing Ukrainian science," the President said.