Appeal of Olena Sapozhnikova, the lawyer of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

 A week ago, on March 31, the meeting was held between representatives of the Ukrainian civil society organizations and officials of the Office of the Secretary of the United States of America in Warsaw.

The meeting was attended by Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Todd D. Robinson, INL Director Sarah Langenkamp, Olena Galushka, Sofiia Kornieieva, Olga Aivazovska and Olena Sapozhnikova. In particular, Robinson highlighted INL’s contribution for millions dollars in protective and life-saving equipment for law enforcement agencies, including the State Border Guard Service.

I addressed the participants of the meeting and to all stakeholders who can help Ukraine the following words:

«Peace to all!

On behalf of all Ukrainians, I would like to thank the American People for opening doors to Ukrainian refugees. Civilians in 21 century should not spend their life in bunkers; and in order not just to win the war but leave peacefully afterwards, we need to have protection of Ukrainian sky from Russian rockets.

I am from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, which now defends itself with all its might against the insidious armed attacks of the Russian Federation. For eight years, I had hoped that everything would be settled in the east of Ukraine and in the Crimea. For eight years, I did not understand why the world does not see what war is. One day on February 24th, I turned out from a metropolitan lawyer into a refugee with three children. When rockets fly from the sky, you can’t stop them with your hands and I wouldn’t protect children with legal speeches under those conditions, so I was forced to travel abroad, and my husband stayed there, like millions of men. My children do not understand where their father is, and why they were forced to leave without anything in an unknown direction and unknowingly. Moreover, I don’t know what to say to them… The only thing I know is that Ukraine will win, because we are defending our homeland from the invader in the face of the Russian Federation. We can defend our land and we will do it, but when rockets fly from the sky, it is not like a battle, but cunning destructions, which in the Russian propaganda machine calls liberation and wants the whole world believe in this lie.

The Ukrainians ask the civilized world to help close the sky over Ukraine! Help save millions of lives and stop the evil that may come to neighboring lands!

In addition, I want to draw your attention to other four main topics:

  • Russia’s Attacks on Hospitals in Ukraine are War Crimes. For example, on 9 March 2022, aircraft of the Russian Federation bombed Ukrainian town Mariupol. The Mariupol Territorial Medical Association for Children’s and Women’s Health, which includes a maternity hospital, was targeted. 17 civilians, including mothers, their babies, and doctors were injured. One infant was killed. Later a pregnant woman injured during the bombing also died.
  • The military of the Russian Federation is conducting brutal persecution of local government officials, journalists, religious leaders, volunteers and civil society activists on the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation following its invasion in February 2022.
  • Russian Federation continues using Crimea as a military base in its full-scale offensive on mainland Ukraine. Therefore, the Russian Federation is forcibly forcing Ukrainians to fight in Ukraine against Crimea, handing them summonses and threatening repression if they refuse. In addition, political persecution continues against those who speak out against the all-out Russian aggression against Ukraine or so much as claim that the war is a war. For example, Olena Gukova, the activist from Yalta in the Crimean Peninsula, was fined by the Russian court for 30,000 rubles.
  • We have problems in the situation with refugees, humanitarian corridors, prisoners of war, the persecution of the population in the occupied territories, and so on.

Ukrainians need the help of the civilized world in these and other questions we are open to discussion!»


This meeting was also attended by my 4-year-old daughter Solomiyka, who also wanted to contribute to ensuring peace in Ukraine, because everyone is now doing everything in his or her power. In particular, she helped to prepare handouts for this meeting and distributed them to the participants on the day of the meeting.

Moreover, during the meeting she drew what she heard in flowers.

Author of the article: Olena Sapozhnikova, the lawyer of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union


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