The first Ukrainian center in the European Union for citizens who were forced to leave Ukraine was opened in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, the Republic of Lithuania has sheltered more than 50,000 Ukrainian displaced persons.
The cultural center was established at the initiative of the first ladies of the two countries - Olena Zelenska and Diana Nausėdienė. The premises for it were provided by Vytautas Magnus University.
The symbolic ribbon was cut at the ceremony by the First Lady of Lithuania, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Lithuania Petro Beshta and Rector of the University Juozas Augutis.
Olena Zelenska joined the event via video call from Kyiv.
"When we conceived this center with a colleague, let me say, with my friend and a great friend of Ukraine Diana Nausėdienė, we wanted Ukrainians who were forced to come to Lithuania because of the war to have a truly native place. We wanted the center to be really the place where one can address any question - help or communication. We wanted people to be able to study here, to spend leisure time. Join a cultural event or educational course," she said.
Former Lithuanian Ambassador to Ukraine Algirdas Kumža, signatory of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, became the Head of the Ukrainian Center in Vilnius.
According to the plan, the Ukrainian Center will become a place of education, career guidance, psychological assistance, recreation for children, youth and adults. Here you can leave your child for extracurricular activities, attend lectures, educational courses or spend time on hobbies.
The center will also be a platform for cultural diplomacy between countries, present Ukraine, its culture and identity in Lithuania, participate in academic activities, hold creative meetings, concerts and other events.
"Together with our partners, we promised to actively cooperate and do everything possible to ensure that Ukrainians feel safe in Lithuania, receive medical and social assistance, educational services and, most importantly, cherish their culture and preserve the nation's vitality," Diana Nausėdienė said.