Latin American journalists discovered Ukraine

The Ukraine Crisis Media Center continues to invite journalists from different countries so that they can form their own idea about how Ukraine is living in wartime conditions. This time we have managed to organize a press tour for representatives of the Latin American media.

In the Lviv region, the journalists met with the head of the Lviv Regional Military Administration Maksym Kozytsky. He described the situation that developed in the Lviv region after the start of the full-scale invasion: the number of internally displaced persons and how it affected the infrastructure and demography of the region; the economic situation in the region after the invasion and the scale of displaced businesses.

The journalists also visited Mariapolis modular town for IDPs in Sykhiv District of Lviv. The journalists got acquainted with its infrastructure, and talked to the residents of the town who had moved to Lviv from the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. 

The press tour participants had the opportunity to see the Superhumans rehabilitation center, and to meet and interview two Colombians who had come to Ukraine, joined the ranks of the International Legion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but, unfortunately, lost their limbs in the war and are undergoing rehabilitation at the center.

Upon their return to Kyiv, the press tour participants visited the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, where meetings were held with Acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy Rostyslav Karandieiev and Chairman of the UCMC Board, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine Valeriy Chaly, who answered the journalists’ questions about the upcoming NATO summit in Washington, a peace summit in Switzerland, as well as outlined his own vision of victory and its significance for the entire international community.

In the Kyiv region, journalists visited the towns and villages that had suffered during the Russian offensive on Kyiv in February-March 2022. A representative of the Hostomel village military administration led the group through the streets of the village, which more than two years later, still bear traces of Russian shelling. The journalists also took a tour of the community at the beginning of the invasion in virtual reality.

Later, they met with the mayor of Irpin near the restored residential complex “Irpinski Lypky”. Together they saw the “cemetery” of shot cars and the Romanivsky bridge. In Bucha, they visited the memorial in honor of the fallen civilians and the Church of Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. In Borodianka, the journalists saw the multi-story residential buildings destroyed by aerial bombs and Banksy’s graffiti painted on the wall of one of these buildings. In the village of Andriivka, the journalists visited a school, in the basement of which the Russian military had organized a headquarters and held civilian hostages during the occupation.

An eventful program of the press tour with official meetings at UCMC continued the next day. In the morning, the journalists had the opportunity to talk to members of the Verkhovna Rada – Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Oleksandr Merezhko and Inna Sovsun. They spoke about the historical background of Russian aggression against Ukraine, how the country’s official institutions work during the war and the importance of unity of all parties in the parliament now.

Then, the journalists had a meeting with the Presidential Advisor Oleksandr Bevz at the Presidential Office, where they discussed the return of children deported by Russia to Ukraine, the upcoming peace summit in Switzerland, the formula for peace in Ukraine and international support in this matter. The journalists also had a meeting with Deputy Minister Iryna Borovets at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The press tour also included a panel discussion on Russian narratives in Latin America, on the geopolitical significance of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and its impact on the economic and political situation in the region. The panel discussion was attended by experts from various analytical organizations that study the Latin American region.

The journalists also met with the Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Valeria Ionan and learned more about the digitization of public services in Ukraine, and how the ministry is now helping the country raise international funds for reconstruction. In the evening, there was a working dinner for journalists attended by the Director of the Ukrainian Institute Volodymyr Sheiko, Ukrainian poetess Kateryna Kalytko, and representatives of the International Renaissance Foundation.

At the end of the press tour, the Latin American journalists visited the Chernihiv region. Head of the Chernihiv Regional Military Administration Vyacheslav Chaus informed them about the current situation in the bordering areas of the Chernihiv region, described the extent of the destruction of civil infrastructure, schools and hospitals, and showed how all this is now being rebuilt and restored.

In Chernihiv, the press tour participants met with Iryna Simonova, director of the Chernihiv Youth Center, which was destroyed by the Russians in 2022. The journalists visited the village of Yahidne in the Chernihiv region, where they had the opportunity to talk with Ivan Pulguy, a resident of the village and a witness to the barbaric Russian occupation in March 2022. The journalists went down to the basement of the village school, where they could feel the full horror of what the Russian army had committed against peaceful Ukrainian civilians.

The press tour was held as part of the Unfold Ukraine to Global South project, implemented by Ukraine Crisis Media Center in cooperation and coordination with the Open Society Foundation and funded by the International Renaissance Foundation.