Baltic cooperation in support of Ukraine’s freedom

On9 December, 2023, Lithuanian Ambassador to Canada Darius Skusevičius held a workshop to bring together the Baltic Canadian community in support of Ukraineam. Balts understand better than any other people in the world the terrible consequences of Russia’s aggression. Supporting Ukraine is now the most important task of the Baltic community in Canada.

About 40representatives from Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Ukrainian organizations attended the event. Among the participants were Petro Schturyn, President of the Toronto Chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Marijka Stadnyk, Foreign Affairs Liaison, and Stella Ankrava, Counsellor at the Latvian Embassy in Canada. We also met Anastasia Ringi, a Ukrainian journalist from Crimea who is also a correspondent for Ir magazine.

Participants were divided into working groups according to their interests – politics and government relations, media and disinformation, events, and community mobilization. Each group was asked to come up with three concrete activities that Baltic organizations could take forward in the coming year.

One recurring theme throughout the event was the importance of cooperation between Baltic organizations. Several groups suggested that a Ukraine Support Group should be set up, where several times a year, Baltic organizations could coordinate their Ukraine support activities. This includes the importance of speaking with one voice to the Canadian government – talking points could be drawn up so that all Baltic organizations make the same pleas for Ukraine in their meetings with Canadian government representatives. The Policy Group also stressed the need for more engagement with young people, especially when meeting with Government of Canada representatives. Ministers and MPs are more likely to agree to meet young people or take part in youth events.

The need for centralised Baltic information channels was also voiced – so that Baltics could participate in each other’s Ukraine support events, and so that there would be no overlap.

Most importantly: everyone agreed that Canada’s broad support for Ukraine has lessened over time, and that the Baltics cannot allow or accept this. Two years into the war, it is time that Baltic organizations work together strategically to energise and galvanize their communities for Ukraine.

Līva Zemīte