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Commentary | 31 May 2024

The Women Leaders Podcast: Defenders of Ukraine

The third year of war often suggests two harsh realities: that the war is, by definition, long and that it is not yet over. Think 1917 in World War I or 1942 in World War II. Ukraine is in year three of defending itself against the full-scale Russian invasion that started in February 2022. It fended off the Russian forces at the start, but since then the war has been quite static with each side achieving small victories at huge expense.

For Russia, this is a war of choice; for Ukraine it is a war of survival. And while soldiers are fighting on the front line, the rest of society is passionately fighting in every other way for a free, democratic and independent Ukraine — as host Ilana Bet-El found on a visit to Kyiv in May 2024. Every conversation is about the war, and the fight to join the democratic world. To get a sense of this spirit she is joined in this episode by Inna Pidluska, Deputy Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine, and Anna Kovalenko, former member of the Ukrainian Parliament and a prominent civic activist.

To find out what Ukraine means to Ukrainians, what the West means to them, and what Russia means to them — hint: they are fed up of sharing their history with Russia — listen to this lively and passionate conversation to hear the full discussion.

This episode was recorded on May 26 2024.

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The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or all of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security policy challenges of our time.

Image credit: Florence Ferrando