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Opening words by Jouke de Vries - Event about War in Ukraine

21 March 2022

The Human Mobility and Migration Lab of the UG organized an event about the war in Ukraine last Tuesday, 15 March 2022. The aim was to look at the situation from a humanitarian point of view. During this event, students and colleagues reflected on the possible humanitarian consequences of the war, looked at the situation from a refugee-perspective and discussed how to provide humanitarian support to the population of Ukraine. The opening speech was given by Prof. Jouke de Vries, President of the Board of the University.

Opening words






It sounds like a poem.

The reality in these cities, however, is nothing like a poem; the reality consists of bombing, missile attacks and gunfire! People are killed for no reason. The initiatives of the faculties of the University of Groningen are heartwarming. Our students and lecturers can discuss the consequences of the war in Ukraine. We can show our solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The Board of the University condemns the war that was started by Mr Putin. It is the war of a dictator supported by a small political regime. It is important that students in Groningen stick together.

President Zelenskiy remains firm. He asked the NATO to impose a ‘no-fly zone’ and he wants Ukraine to be a member of the European Union. NATO members and the European Union have implemented severe economic sanctions, but they don’t want to implement a no-fly zone, and Ukraine can’t be a member of the European Union at this moment.

Ultimately, we are afraid of a nuclear war. Mr Putin is threatening that it might come to that. The essence of politics is to bring hope and prosperity. We fail at that!

We don’t want the total destruction of Ukraine. We don’t want a nuclear war. We need to use all our capabilities to bring both parties to the taste to negotiate.

Last modified:22 March 2022 09.30 a.m.
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