At the invitation of AAFSW, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova delivered an inspiring speech on September 12 to over 100 people in the State Department’s Burns Auditorium.
Sheila Switzer, AAFSW Program Chair, welcomed H.E. Oksana Markarova, and guests, and introduced Anne Coleman-Hoon Deputy Director, Office of Eastern European Affairs, who made the welcome remarks. She also congratulated AAFSW for the wonderful work helping Foreign Service families, the evacuees, awarding scholarships to the FS children, and for the excellent AAFSW programs such as the Ambassador Speaker Series, and numerous cultural programs.
The audience included several Ambassadors, Chiefs of Mission, and other, diplomats from over 23 embassies as well as State Department officials, AAFSW members, and guests. Ambassador Markarova had just returned from Kyiv where she had participated in meetings of Secretary State Tony Blinken with Ukraine’s leaders. She spoke eloquently of the horrors and hardships the Ukrainian people have endured since Russia’s full-scale invasion began, including Russia’s abduction and deportation of tens of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia as part of Putin’s effort to erase Ukrainian national identity.
She also described the devastation she had seen in her own hometown of Bucha and the determination of residents there to rebuild. Ambassador Markarova thanked the United States for its vital military and humanitarian assistance, assured the audience that her country would prevail in this conflict, and expressed confidence that Ukraine would recover strongly and take its place as an integrated part of Europe and NATO.