24 February 2023 marked the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and to pay tribute to the victims of this unprovoked aggression that has shaken the world, the City of Luxembourg hosted a ceremony attended by Luxembourg Prime Minister and Minister of State Xavier Bettel, the Chargée d'Affaires at the Embassy of Ukraine in Luxembourg, Nataliia Anoysha, Luxembourg City Mayor Lydie Polfer, and the members of the City of Luxembourg's College of Aldermen and Municipal Council. Also in attendance were the ambassadors of Poland, Romania, Portugal, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, Austria and Switzerland, representatives from the Embassies of Hungary, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, the honorary consul of Ukraine, Claude Radoux (me), and representatives from the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the ceremony, the City saluted the tremendous bravery of the Ukrainian people in response to the unprovoked invasion. Following a rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem by a singer from the Kyiv Opera, the guests were reminded of the horrors of the war through video recordings of the affected regions, along with 21 large-format photographs showing the extent of the devastation, bombed-out cities and, most movingly, the dazed expressions of individuals who had lost everything. Further explanations on the photographs and recordings were given by Nataliia Anoshyna and a witness from Mariupol who had experienced the fighting and bombings firsthand.
I was deeply moved by the photos, the film and the very personal statements of Xavier Bettel, Lydie Polfer and Natalia Anoshyna.