Karen Donfried, visiting Italy, met, together with the Ukrainian ambassador Yaroslav Melnyk, a group of Ukrainian refugees in the Ukrainian-Byzantine rite church in Rome
“I thank all the Italians who are helping Ukrainian refugees, I thank the Italian government, I thank the non-profit organizations such as Caritas: we must stay the course, continue to support Ukraine, it is an existential issue for Ukrainians and crucial for European security “. This was stated by the US undersecretary of state Karen Donfried, on a visit to Italy, after the meeting – which was attended by the Ukrainian ambassador Yaroslav Melnyk and the bishop of the Apostolic Exarchate, Dionysus Paolo Lachovicz – which he had today in the church of Ukrainian-Byzantine rite Saints Sergius and Bacchus of the Ukrainians in Rome, with a group of Ukrainians who were welcomed in Italy after the start of the war.
The American diplomat, responsible for European affairs, defined the meeting “in this church, this community that has opened its doors” to Ukrainian refugees as “very significant”, in particular she spoke of the children who showed her their drawings which contain “the fear and hope of the last year”.
“Hearing these children talk about this last year was so moving and it reaffirms for us Americans and Italians what we are fighting for, our shared values and the right of civilians to live in peace”, concluded Donfried who again thanked the Italy for having welcomed over 170,000 Ukrainians in recent months.
“Being united means being safer: we want to continue this unity to bring peace to Ukraine as soon as possible, we count very much on all our partners, Italy and the United States, to support our struggle for freedom “, said Ambassador Melnyk after meeting with Ukrainian refugees “who have found a second home here in Italy”, expressing his thanks “to the Italian partners and the American people for their support” to Ukraine.
“We want to come back, we thank the Italians because we are very well, they have given us everything we need, but I would like the war to end as soon as possible, the hope is that the whole world will help to end this war as soon as possible”. It is what Anna claims that together with her 13-year-old daughter Victoria, she attended the meeting. “Everyone wants to go back to Ukraine, everyone lives with the idea that this door opens and they can go back”, adds a Ukrainian volunteer, who has been in Italy for many years, who takes care of the refugees welcomed by the community of the Ukrainian Monastery of Castel Gandolfo, explaining that Anna and her daughter fled from Lugansk to the topics of the first war in Donbass in 2014 to take refuge in Nikolaj from where, eight years later, they had to flee again, arriving in Italy last March.
The undersecretary of state, in Rome with a packed agenda of meetings, including one with the minister for European affairs, Raffaele Fitto, with the diplomatic adviser to Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, Francesco Talò and with the general secretary of the Farnesina Ettore Sequi , underlined “the incredible cooperation with the allies” in the face of “the unprovoked and brutal Russian invasion”.
Donfreid also had an interview at the Vatican with the secretary for relations with states, Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher. And he will continue his mission to Naples for a visit to the headquarters of the Sixth Fleet.