President of the European Commission von der Leyen dedicated part of her speech to the memory of Victoria Amelina


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During her annual State of the Union speech, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen mentioned the Ukrainian writer Viktoria Amelina, who was killed by a russian missile attack.

The President of the European Commission said that Amelina documented russia’s war crimes and later became its victim herself.


“Her name was Victoria Amelina. She was one of the great young writers of her generation and a tireless fighter for justice,” said Ursula von der Leyen.


She told the story of how, after the full-scale invasion began, Amelina traveled to Prague to take her son to a safe place. She burst into tears when the Czech border guard stamped her passport. When her son asked her why she was crying, Amelina replied: “Because we are home.” To her son’s objection that her home was in Ukraine, Amelina said: “This is Europe.”


“That day, the Ukrainian mother felt that Europe was her home. Because ‘home is where we trust each other’. And the people of Ukraine could trust their Europeans,” the President of the European Commission added.


She also said that on the day of the murder, Amelina was accompanying three guests from Colombia, including her fellow writer Héctor Abad. They were part of the Aguanta, Ucrania (Resist, Ukraine) campaign, created to educate Latin Americans about the russian-Ukrainian war. Colombian writer Héctor Abad Faciolince, who was with Amelina during the shelling, showed her photo to the audience at the meeting.


“Héctor could never have imagined that he himself would be a target. Afterwards, he said he didn’t know why he was living, and she died. But now he tells the world about Victoria. To preserve her memory and end this war. And I am honored that Hector is with us today. And I want you to know that we will keep the memory of Victoria and all the other victims alive. Aguanta, Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine!” von der Leyen summarized.


At the same time, Sofia Cheliak, the program director of LvivBookForum and Amelina’s close friend, says:


“When everything happened, the Colombians did not look for Amelina in the hospital, but rushed to make a release that got distributed at a time when her son, for example, did not know the extent of the problem. They simply did not respond to our request to wait, or at least to coordinate with the family, and made another release.”


Victoria Amelina was a writer and a member of PEN Ukraine. In 2014, Victoria Amelina made her literary debut with the novel “The November Syndrom, or Homo Compatiens”, published by Discursus. In 2017, she published her novel “Dom’s Dream Kingdom”, which was shortlisted for the LitAccent of the Year and the UNESCO City of Literature Award, as well as the European Union Prize for Literature.


Victoria Amelina died on July 1 due to serious injuries sustained during the russian missile strike on Kramatorsk.


Related: Victoria Amelina: No words are needed after a tragedy, all words slide into a whirlpool


Main photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman