KYIV. Ukrainian World Congress President, Paul Grod, met with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, during a UWC delegation visit to Ukraine from November 23-27, 2023. Accompanying the UWC President were Andrew Potichnyj, Director of UWC’s Unite with Ukraine initiative, and Andriy Shevchenko, Head of the UWC Mission to Ukraine.
During the meeting, Grod and Zaluzhnyi discussed previously completed successful projects between UWC’s Unite with Ukraine initiative and the command structure of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, further cooperation between UWC and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, analysis of new strategic directions of projects, and new initiatives to be realized between UWC and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Both sides agreed upon main strategic directions of focus.
“Supporting Ukraine’s Armed Forces through Unite with Ukraine is the most important initiative for the UWC. As an organization and for me personally, supporting the country’s defenders is the top priority. Over the past 19 months, the UWC and the diaspora in over 70 countries have completed many significant projects in the military sector, but we must continue to do more. We cannot afford to slow down now,” emphasized Paul Grod, UWC President.
According to Grod, UWC’s partnership with General Zaluzhnyi and his staff is critical in understanding how to allocate Unite With Ukraine’s resources best and direct efforts to ensure cooperation with Ukraine’s military is as effective as possible.
General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, thanked the UWC for their contribution as one of the largest non-governmental suppliers of armored and tracked vehicles to Ukraine, and expressed his gratitude to the the diaspora for their invaluable support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces during the first 19 months of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Zaluzhnyi urged the UWC to continue this important work through its Unite with Ukraine platform, and encouraged the diaspora to continue to strengthen Ukraine’s defenders with every possible resource.
During their meeting, the Commander-in-Chief provided the delegation with an update regarding the current situation on the front lines and the status of military aid and weapons supply deliveries from Ukraine’s Western allies. The participants engaged in an in-depth discussion on enhancing the UWC’s advocacy efforts to secure more effective support for Ukraine among Western and NATO partners.
“As individuals of Ukrainian ancestry, members of the global diaspora, and simply as human beings, we must support Ukraine’s military using all resources available to us. As Ukrainians continue to fight for their right to exist, we, as the diaspora, are obligated to do everything we can to bring victory one step closer,” said Andrew Potichnyj, Director of the UWC’s Unite with Ukraine initiative.
UWC President Paul Grod presented Gen. Zaluzhnyi with a one of a kind souvenir shield crafted from the boards of a box used to store artillery shells provided by Western allies to Ukrainian defenders. The front of the shield is crowned with the trident of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, surrounded by tridents representing different eras of the formation of the Ukrainian state. Among these tridents are those that belonged to princes: Svyatoslav the Brave, Yaroslav the Wise, and Volodymyr the Great, the trident of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, and the modern coat of arms of independent Ukraine. The shield’s metal crown is forged from brass artillery shell casings of 122 and 152 mm calibers used in the fight to free Ukrainian territories. Veterans of the Russian-Ukrainian war, members of the 215th battalion of the 125th Separate Territorial Defense Brigade, crafted this shield.