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Paul Grod and Yulia Laputina sign a Plan of Cooperation between the Veterans Ministry and the Ukrainian World Congress

#UWC news
June 3,2022 515
Paul Grod and Yulia Laputina sign a Plan of Cooperation between the Veterans Ministry and the Ukrainian World Congress

On Thursday, June 2, a team of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine met with representatives of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). During the meeting, Minister of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine Yulia Laputina and UWC President Paul Grod signed a Plan of Cooperation between the Ministry and UWC.

The Plan provides for the initiation and further deepening of joint activities to protect the rights and interests of war veterans, ensure their social protection and reintegration in connection with Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, and after the war, restore infrastructure and upbuild peace in Ukraine.

In particular, the document mentions conducting information campaigns to ensure international support of Ukraine and spread truthful information about our country around the world, and facilitating the exchange of best practices and experiences related to social protection and reintegration of veterans. Moreover, the Plan envisages material and technical backing of the Ministry in the implementation of programs and projects to support veterans as well as international technical and expert assistance.

UWC First Vice President Stefan Romaniw, UWC President Paul Grod

Yulia Laputina expressed her gratitude for the strong and coordinated support the world’s Ukrainian community provides to resist the full-scale Russian aggression. She highlighted the main priorities of the state veterans policy in the conditions of war. First of all, it is to provide social protection to the Defenders’ families and the families of fallen Warriors, restore the health of veterans and rehabilitate them psychologically, develop and support veterans’ entrepreneurship, and digitalize services for veterans.

“Today’s opposition of the Ukrainian people to the armed Russian aggression is a real window of opportunities for uniting Ukrainians all over the world and delivering to the governments of their countries truthful information about the developments in Ukraine and the help we need. After all, Ukraine is currently the only country in entire Europe that not only is fighting for the right to be a free democracy, but also is protecting the democratic world against tyranny. We are sincerely grateful to you for the strong and coordinated support of our country,” Yulia Laputina said.

UWC President Paul Grod on behalf of the 20-million Ukrainian diaspora expressed his full support for the Ukrainian Government and people in their struggle against Russian aggression. He emphasized that with the start of the full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine, the UWC set a goal to significantly impact the situation with the supply of equipment for Defenders of Ukraine.

To this end, the UWC has launched a global fundraising campaign #UniteWithUkraine to purchase military and protective equipment for Ukrainian Warriors at the frontline and has strongly mobilized the global diaspora through advocacy among politicians and communities in Europe and the United States.

“Equipment worth $23 million has already been purchased and given to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Territorial Defense. Moreover, our communities have many skilled specialists in psychological rehabilitation to provide assistance to the military. This war has united many Ukrainians around the world, and we are ready to help you. The Ukrainian World Congress will continue to endeavor to facilitate our victory and have Ukraine recognized as a full-fledged member of the European family,” Paul Grod said.

The UWC First Vice President, currently the Executive Director of the Organization of Linguistic Minorities of Australia, Stefan Romaniw, also expressed his support for Ukraine on behalf of the Australian diaspora. He said he is ready to develop and give the Veterans Ministry a database of veterans rehabilitation programs and practices, which can be implemented in the conditions of Ukraine.

In turn, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alexandra Chyczij said her country is willing to help train psychologists to provide quality rehabilitation to veterans and their families and also engage skilled Canadian health professionals, including those of Ukrainian descent, in restoring the health of wounded Defenders.

General Rick J. Hillier, Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff from 2004 to 2008, pointed to the colossal responsibility of the Veterans Ministry for the implementation of the state veterans policy regarding Defenders of Ukraine, who are now heroically defending our country and will return to peaceful life after the victory.

He said he has been actively involved in the Invictus Games since 2015, met with members of the Ukrainian team at the 2017 Games in Toronto, and was impressed by the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian Defenders. “I hope that the Ukrainian team will take an active part in the 2025 Games in Canadian Vancouver and that UWC and the Ukrainian diaspora in North America will actively support the team members,” said the General.

Gen. Hillier also noted that Canada has extensive experience in implementing state veterans policies. He suggested asking the Government of Canada to appoint a responsible representative from its Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure the transfer of Canada’s positive experience to the Veterans Ministry and help avoid certain policy implementation mistakes and shortcomings that took place in Canada when it was setting up a system for the transition from a military career to civilian life. Gen. Hillier stressed that, given Canada’s experience, in particular, it is important to involve private business and educational institutions in this process, while the Veterans Ministry should coordinate these activities.

“We are ready to attract all the world’s best experiences and practices to support our Defenders and their families, reintegrate them into active social life, maintain and restore their physical and mental health, and support their entrepreneurial activities and employment. All specialists of the Veterans Ministry are open and ready for fruitful cooperation,” Yulia Laputina said.

For reference:
Participants in the meeting with Yulia Laputina and the Ministry’s team include UWC President Paul Grod; UWC First Vice President Stefan Romaniw; President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, UWC Third Vice President Andriy Futey; Director of the UWC Representative Office in Ukraine Serhiy Kasyanchuk; President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alexandra Chyczij; UWC Executive Director Sonya Soutus; Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff in 2004-2008 Gen. Rick J. Hillier; Civis Law LLP co-owner Atty. Jeffrey R. Crocker; and Canadian Armed Forces retired officer Ihor Kozak.