President expresses ‘unbreakable support’ for Ukraine one year on

  • Lusa
  • 24 February 2023

The head of state stands by Ukraine "on the path of European integration" and highlights Portugal's firmness "in the unity of decisions in the European Union and NATO".

The president of Portugal expressed the country’s “unwavering support” to Ukraine on Friday and reiterated the conviction that freedom and peace would triumph over “this intolerable act” committed by Russia.

“One year after the start of the war in Ukraine, we maintain our unwavering support for its legitimate defence, its refugees, its reconstruction, its European vocation,” Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa wrote in a note posted on the Presidency of the Republic website “On the Return of War to Europe”.

The head of state stands by Ukraine “on the path of European integration” and highlights Portugal’s firmness “in the unity of decisions in the European Union and NATO”.

“We believe, without hesitation, that democracy, freedom and peace will prevail in Europe. Long live the Ukrainian people”, the Portuguese President underlines, one year after Russia “illegally and illegitimately invaded Ukraine, starting a war in Europe, in violation of the basic principles of international law, the United Nations Charter and the agreements signed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union”.

Marcelo recalled that “Portugal has from the outset condemned this intolerable act, unequivocally supporting Ukraine’s legitimate defence, which it is entitled to under international law, and corresponding to the European and transatlantic assistance it promptly requested.”

“Portugal’s position has not changed an inch this year and will remain so until Ukraine guarantees the security conditions it considers necessary to begin a political road map towards a lasting peace,” he stressed.

The president also drew on the teachings of Aristides Sousa Mendes, former Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, who granted thousands of visas to refugees of various nationalities fleeing the Nazi occupation, to praise the humanism shown by the Portuguese people towards their Ukrainian peers

“The Portuguese authorities and the Portuguese people have been tireless in demonstrating the humanitarian spirit that characterises us, welcoming all Ukrainians fleeing the war who asked us for help, in coordination with NGOs and European partners of which we are proud. We are a people with a big heart, humanists, attached to the European values of peace and generosity, as Aristides de Sousa Mendes taught us so well”, stressed Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The military offensive launched on 24 February 2022 by Russia in Ukraine has so far caused the flight of over 14 million people – 6.5 million internally displaced and over 8 million to European countries – according to the latest figures from the UN, which classifies this refugee crisis as the worst in Europe since the Second World War (1939-1945).

At the moment, at least 17.7 million Ukrainians need humanitarian aid and 9.3 million need food and shelter.

The Russian invasion – justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin with the need to “denazify” and demilitarise Ukraine for Russia’s security – has been condemned by the international community in general, which has responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has listed 7,199 civilian deaths and 11,756 injured since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are far from the real ones.