23.05.2017
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20.04.2017


Someone once told me that dogs would never be allowed into a hospital in Ukraine. “People are too hostile to the idea of dogs there,” I was warned, “they are considered an item and a nuisance, often only used to protect properties. It’s not like Canada there.” Indeed, Ukraine can be differentiated from Canada in many ways. But an ability to evolve and respond to changing needs and demands is not one of them. This, evidenced by the fact that nearly two years after its conception, Hero’s Companion continues to grow and expand its activities in Ukraine’s capital region. Hero’s Companion, an innovative, Canadian-Ukrainian project now under the auspices of the...

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14.03.2017


Mr. President, distinguished Members of this honorable Court. It is a great honor and exceptional privilege to appear before the principal judicial body of the United Nations on behalf of Ukraine. Ukraine has come before this Court to defend the basic human rights of its people, faced with the Russian Federation’s violations of international law. Today, I ask the Court to indicate provisional measures to prevent those rights from being irreparably harmed while this case is pending. Thousands of innocent...

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14.03.2017


Dear Mr. President of Ukraine, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, comrades generals, admirals, and officers! For the third year in a row, an undeclared war against Ukraine continues. Our society, volunteers and the state, especially the Armed Forces and other military formations were able to stop the enemy, but at a high price- at the expense of lives of Ukraine’s best children. Battles for the complete liberation of Ukraine continue. However, the struggle is being waged not only in Ukraine. The world order is collapsing before our eyes. The unity of the West based on the principles of freedom and democracy is experiencing unprecedented challenges. The...

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25.10.2016


Kyiv is a tale of two cities. Its grand roads, bourgeoning hipster scene, and numerous buildings under (seemingly constant) renovation give off an air of a bustling European city. But scratch a little deeper and one uncovers a metropolis currently experiencing much hardship, and hiding a not-so-distant,tragic,past unknown to most of its inhabitants. Perhaps most symbolic of this Kyivan dichotomy is BabynYar. Today it is the site ofa park not far from the city centre, but 75 years ago it bore witness to one of the biggest instances of mass murder in human history. Most Kyivansare unaware of the...

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13.10.2016


It is not easy being disabled in Kyiv. It is especially difficult being a disabled child in Kyiv. But, with the help of family and charitable organizations, children with disabilities can experience a full life in a country that is usually seen as unwelcoming of special needs children. This attitude generally stems from the Soviet Union’s lack of compassion for people with disabilities. In 1980 one Soviet representative even went so far as to state in that “There are no invalids in the USSR!” With this state view, it was little surprise that children who were born different were usually placed in orphanages or stayed hidden in the shadows. Soviet infrastructure did not need to build special ramps for wheelchairs since people who needed...

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15.08.2016


In early August Hero’s Companion therapy dogs and volunteers took part in a charitable camp for children affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine (displaced children and children of soldiers). The camp, entitled “We – are Ukraine,” was organized by the Ukrainian Youth Association and brought together 160 children from across the country. This was the first time Hero’s Companion had participated in such a camp, and the results were very positive. According to Nelya Lavrynenko, who headed the camp, “The therapy dogs are [did] incredible work. They sensed who needed their help, and while giving everyone attention, worked more...

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30.06.2016


 

In September 2015 Ukrainian Echo published an exclusive piece about Hero’s Companion, a new Ukrainian-Canadian project which helps to address the growing need for psychological rehabilitation in Ukrainian veterans using the power of man’s best friend – dogs. In this follow-up piece, Hero’s Companion Director Kalyna Kardash gives us an update on the project’s progress and plans for the future. “I’m going to kill him, does he know how easy it is for me to get a gun these days?! I’ll show him..!” It’s 9:40 a.m. on a rainy Sunday morning in Kyiv. We’ve been waiting for half an hour for this last veteran to arrive so that the group can begin its Tomatis therapy session. “Ok Oleh[*], first we need to calm down, take a few...

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14.05.2016


What is the difference between how Moscow celebrates Victory in Europe Day and how Kyiv celebrates? If this were a few years ago, there wouldn’t have been much of a difference. Post-Euromaidan however, that has changed. Kyiv now commemorates in a less militaristic style - there isn’t any grand military parade down the main streets of Kyiv and the glorifying of the Red Army. No, here the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory began a project in 2015 to commemorate all Ukrainians who fell during the Second World War: civilians, Red Army veterans, veterans of the Ukrainian liberation movement (OUN and UPA) and also Ukrainians who fought in foreign armies on all fronts. The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, under the...

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27.03.2016


Today, three members of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s Medical Mission team were awarded with Orders of Merit from Peter Poroshenko, President of Ukraine. Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, Mission Lead and Plastic Surgeon from Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, was awarded the Order of Merit (Орден «За заслуги»), and Dr. Carolyn Levis, Plastic Surgeon from Hamilton, ON, and Krystina Waler, Director of Humanitarian Initiatives from Toronto, were awarded the Order of Princess Olga (Орден Kнягині Ольги). The Order of Merit, bestowed to men, and the Order of Princess Olga, bestowed to women, are both awarded for...

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23.11.2015


A month and a half ago, while traveling along the frontlines of eastern Ukraine, I predicted that the Minsk II ceasefire agreements would not be respected by the Kremlin and its puppet Peoples' Republics. It was clear to me—in spite of a tentative ceasefire put in place on October 2—that the situation in the Donbas would continue to deteriorate. Unfortunately, my projections were right. Fighting has flared up again. Over the last three weeks, Ukrainian field commanders, humanitarian volunteers, and local journalists told me that the Russia-backed fighters have been engaging in provocative shootings from mortars, heavy machine guns, automatic weapons, and snipers, and that these have become a regular occurrence along the entire...

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