The event was jointly opened by Ukraine's Ambassador to Hungary, Liubov Nepop, the Netherlands' Ambassador René van Hell, and a co-author of the project, Eugene Marusik, who fought for Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists in its eastern region of Donbass.

Marusik, who owns an advertising agency, was in the fighting for eight months until he was injured and had to receive medical treatment in Hungary in 2016 and 2017. He told the gathering that "every day, every hour our country lives near a violent neighbour". He said the main aim of the exhibition is to destroy negative feelings about stereotypes. For instance, as a soldier he got scary looks from people, but he was not scary, he was working for his country.

He noted that the main goal of the project was to show to society that the members of the military, who, after returning from the war in Donbass, were able to succeed in civilian life. He stressed that only by uniting our efforts will we be able to win and prevent the so-called "Russian world" from moving forward to Europe.

The exhibition was staged within the framework of "Focus on Ukraine" events, which have been held jointly this year by the Embassies of Ukraine, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States in Hungary.

Ambassador van Hell said it was very, very important to draw attention to the incredibly sad situation in Ukraine in the past five years, in which more than 30,000 people had died and 1.6 million had been displaced. Ukraine is a neighbour of NATO and the European Union, he said.

The ambassador said that from the beginning the Netherlands regarded the sovereignty of Ukraine as sacrosanct, and his country is a staunch defender of taking the right political measures.

He said the ongoing war is right on Europe's doorstep and the exhibition shows its effect on people. The photos would make people think and be more aware. Ukraine needed to be shown compassion and solidarity, and it is a country that wants to be part of the European family and trans-Atlantic alliance. This had been confirmed additionally by the recent democratic, fair and free election of the new President of Ukraine.

Ambassador Nepop said the exhibition combined war and peace, the past and the future through the images of Ukraine's defenders in both military and peaceful life. People would compose a connecting link in this, of those who defend their country and build it.

The ambassador stressed that the purpose of the photo exhibition and other recent events in the "Focus on Ukraine" framework is to show that the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is still happening, and Ukraine needs further support in the prolongation of sanctions and pressure on Russia so as to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity and peace.

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She said: "It depends on us whether there will be a point or a comma after Ukraine in the list of victims of aggression. It is symbolic that this event takes place at the Embassy of the Netherlands, as the assassination by Russian-terrorist troops of the MH-17 flight in July 2016 and the death of 298 people, most of whom were Dutch, is evidence that Russian aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem."

"We did not start this war but we have to win it and we can only do it together, putting an end to the list of victims of Russia."


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