Hrv reports on a conference that was held in Zagreb, titled “Croatia 1991 – Ukraine 2022: The Road to Freedom”, citing Vukovar’s hero war reporter Siniša Glavašević who said, “You have to rebuild. First, your past, your present, and then, if you have any strength left, invest it in the future”.
As the title suggests, the topic of the conference was the similarities between the ongoing war in Ukraine with the war that Croatia fought in 1991 to gain its independence and freedom. Damir Luka Saftić, representative of the “Za Vukovar” association commented that the pearl of the Danube bled 31 years ago like the Azov Sea’s Mariupol is today, saying that “the resemblance is appalling”.
The participants of the conference included Vasilj Kirilič, Ambassador of Ukraine to Croatia, Željka Antunović, former Minister of Defense, Yevhen Stepanenko, Ukrainian journalist, Tomislav Marević of the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate, Robert Barić, military analyst, Jakov Sedlar, film director, and Vukovar veterans Damir Poljaković and Tomislav Orešković.
“Croatia has defended its independence and the message for Ukraine is that it can do so too because we are strong in spirit and I believe that we will defend our country. The city of Mariupol is a symbol of defense, as is the Croatian city of Vukovar”, said Ambassador Kirilić.
“When you know that your whole family, wife, child, and parents are in the basement, your whole city is in that basement, everyone from your street, friends, your football club, factory, then your strength appears from somewhere and it was either us or them, there was nothing else,” said Damir Poljaković, a Vukovar hero who defended the city in 1991 at Trpinjska cesta.
Following the conference, and with Orthodox Easter approaching, the city of Vukovar in partnership with the local Red Cross organised a humanitarian donation action for the Ukrainian refugees in the city.
A total of 40 refugees from Ukraine are accommodated in Vukovar, writes hrv, which includes 16 families with 18 children. To provide assistance in difficult times, but also to celebrate the upcoming Easter holidays, the City of Vukovar and the Vukovar Red Cross Society provided special food packages for refugees from Ukraine in the Vukovar area, as well as candy packages for the youngest.
The packages were handed over to the Ukrainian people by the Deputy Mayor of Vukovar, Filip Sušac, who emphasized that the City of Vukovar, in cooperation with the Red Cross, is trying to make life easier for refugees. “The city of Vukovar has decided to help Ukrainians who are in the area of our city through a series of measures. In cooperation with the City Museum, the City Library, and sports clubs, we have ensured that all Ukrainian refugees can use their services completely free of charge. The City of Vukovar has called on all fellow citizens to help the refugees as much as they can, and we appeal to the Government of the Republic of Croatia to make Hostel Zagreb available – explained Sušac.
Marija Semenjuk Simeunović, Secretary of the Ukrainian Community of the Republic of Croatia, emphasized that all persons who came from war-torn Ukraine feel welcome in Croatia and thanked everyone for their support.
“Displaced persons who came from Ukraine to our city, county, but also the Republic of Croatia, in general, feel welcome. We have all shown compassion and solidarity in some way, especially since we went through the horrors of war 30 years ago. Through their programs, our Ukrainian associations from the entire Republic of Croatia want to include and integrate the Ukrainian people into our society”, said Semenjuk Simeunović.
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