Irish PEN protested at Russian Embassy in Dublin following murder of Victoria Amelina


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Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann, Fighting Words and Ukrainian Action Ireland have issued a joint statement condemning the recent murder of Ukrainian author and war crimes researcher Victoria Amelina, who died from injuries sustained during a Russian missile attack on a popular restaurant in Kramatorsk 27th June, 2023.

On the day of Victoria’s funerary rites (4th July, 2023) Irish PEN members attempted to present their statement to the Russian Ambassador at the Consulate on Orwell Road in Dublin. 


At first visitors were refused entry, but eventually the Chair of Irish PEN, Catherine Dunne, was admitted. She told the unidentified member of staff who received her that they wish to protest the missile strike in Kramatorsk, in which 13 people were killed, including their friend and PEN colleague, Victoria Amelina. 


The official refused to accept either the spoken or the written statement, repeating loudly that this was “fake news” while Ms. Dunne attempted to speak. “Our friend is dead”, Ms. Dunne replied. “That is NOT fake news”. Within minutes, she was escorted from the premises.


“This experience has strengthened our determination to maintain a campaign designed to keep Victoria’s voice alive and to hold Russia to account for this and all other war crimes against civilians in Ukraine”, Irish PEN said.


“Victoria was a dear friend and much loved colleague. She has visited Dublin several times. Everyone who has met her, read her work or heard her speak here, has been moved and affected by her words and by her presence”, the Statement from Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann, Fighting Words and Ukrainian Action Ireland says.


In October, 2022 Victoria visited Dublin. At an Irish PEN event in Smock Alley during the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival, they said, she spoke powerfully and movingly about the Russian invasion of her native country, and of Russia’s intention to obliterate all traces of Ukrainian culture. She also described her own work in progress: War and Justice Diary: Looking at Women Looking at War, and her ongoing humanitarian work as a war crimes investigator with Truth Hounds.


Victoria was due to come to Dublin in November, 2023 to moderate an Irish PEN/ Dublin Book Festival event exploring the role of culture in times of war and the absolute necessity to preserve it, describing writers as ‘caretakers of cultural memory’.


“The world is a darker place today. Victoria Amelina, award-winning writer and war crimes investigator, has become the most recent victim in a long list of brutal war crimes perpetrated by Russia against the civilian population of Ukraine. Our sincere condolences go to her family, her many friends, and to her colleagues in PEN Ukraine and Truth Hounds. We call for an immediate end to such atrocities”, says Irish PEN.


It is known that Victoria Amelina died as a result of an injury received during the Russian shelling of Kramatorsk.


Read also: No words are needed after a tragedy, all words slide into a whirlpool


Main photo was taken by Simon Robinson outside the Russian Embassy, 4th July: Sean Love (Fighting Words) and Irish PEN board members, June Considine, Liz McManus, Catherine Dunne (chair of Irish PEN), and Lia Mills