I believe that you as Ukrainians have to be outspoken, you have to talk to people. And not only to people like me, who share your stance. Rather, you have to talk to those who are difficult to convince. These are certain countries, which I am not going to name – you know them pretty well. These are countries that are hesitant to give Ukraine the candidate status, financial and military support. You just have to keep talking to them, invite their delegations to Ukraine and bring them to the places most affected by the war.
When I went to Ukraine with the European Parliament delegation, we had participants from all political parties, with the exception of ID and the Left, but all the other political parties were there. We went to Kyiv, where we met our counterpart, but we also went to Bucha and Irpin. And you have to take people there too so that they see firsthand what is happening on the ground and talk to the survivors.
I think that talking to the people in Irpin and Bucha can change those who are hesitant because they can see for themselves that it is a real hell, that women are dying and being raped, that kids are being killed, more than 300 kids. It is one thing if you read, it is one thing if you see it on TV, and it is another thing if you talk to a mother or a teacher. So, take as many delegations as you can to the most affected places, not only Kyiv. Irpin had 100,000 inhabitants. Right now the majority of the city is to be rebuilt from scratch. Mines are found in houses, refrigerators, even in toys. You just have to show people what is happening there. I think that if my hesitant colleagues go there and see it, it may change their thinking.
And here you have people who have been elected by the citizens as their representatives. And if they come back home and tell their citizens what they saw, it will also have an impact on their people. Not only TV, not only interviews, but taking them there would help.
Every month, I do broadcast discussions for Estonians. I do them in the Estonian language. Since February, I have devoted them to Ukraine. A week ago, I decided to do that in the Russian language to address the Russian speaking population in Estonia. And when I put it up that I am going to have it on my Facebook, 250 comments appeared immediately, and I had to delete 210. That had never happened before. There was so much hatred. Russians living in Estonia, Ukrainians living there. They were saying things. They did not hate me – they hated each other. Far-right parties were telling that Ukrainians are coming to take their jobs and their social benefits. Sometimes I feel that even Estonians who were sympathetic do not understand that the refugees will not leave in November. They will live in Estonia for 3–4 years or more, before there is a place for them to come back. And the kids will go to schools. To some extent, I understand Estonian mothers, who tell me that in the kindergarten Ukrainian kids are telling their 4–5 year-old children about the war, how bad Russians are, how people are being killed, and 4–5 years old Estonian kids don't understand. Then their mothers become crazy because of what those Ukrainian kids share with our kids. I understand that. But here we need teachers, we need psychologists, so that it will not be a problem between Ukrainians and Estonians. One wrong word, one wrong sentence and it can explode. It will be a very difficult autumn. Of course, it is nothing compared to war, but it will be difficult to explain even in our friendly country what it really means.
During that latest conversation, we talked about the fact that the police officers, doctors and social workers in Ukraine are tired. They need some rest; they need psychological support. We had a discussion on that topic. Afterwards, I did not receive so many bad comments, but what had happened before was insane. So, I will continue with the discussion in the Russian language.