Ukraine fights a brave battle for many other countries too

On the occasion of the one year of the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s brutal aggression against this country, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) uses the opportunity to express respect for the people of Ukraine and its leadership for their brave, defiant and persistent strugle against the aggressors,  in defence of their identity, homeland and life of million people affected by war events.

Under extremely difficult circumstances, the people of Ukraine have courageously defended their dignity, but also fundamental democratic freedoms and values, which should serve as an example to everyone. That is why on this very day we must pay a deep tribute to all direct and indirect victims of this war and their families, who suffered many horrors and adversities that such violence and terror bring along.

CCE reminds that the Government of Montenegro, although with a certain delay, has introduced sanctions against Russia, thereby harmonizing its foreign policy with the EU policy concerning condemning Russian aggression and endangering the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. In this context, we welcome the Government of Montenegro’s approach to this issue, and the solidarity of its officials with the Ukrainian people and state officials by paying several visits to Ukraine, sending the military and humanitarian aid, accepting the largest number of Ukrainian refugees compared to other countries in the region, and by extending the temporary protection programme for Ukrainian citizens residing in our country. According to available data, Montenegro received as many as 32,000 refugees from Ukraine.

CGO assesses that there is still room for more quality and more systematic integration of Ukrainian citizens and their children, especially into the educational system of Montenegro, so that they are not deprived of their basic rights. The CCE has been previously urging the Government and educational institutions to adopt guidelines, recommendations and action plans for primary and secondary schools to help teachers and professional associates to facilitate the process of including the vulnerable groups of refugee students in schools and their parents in local communities, and also to prevent the peer violence.

An important part of the approach towards this issue is also reflected in the media space, which is in Montenegro still contaminated with pro-Putin propaganda and misinformation. A small number of portals, also financed from the the public funds, persistently and with impunity spread this harmful influence, among which are some electronic media outlets not registered in line with the domestic media legislation. The CCE points out that some aspects of the RTCG’s reporting on the Russian aggression against Ukraine were also worrisome.

Finally, taking into account the serious repercussions the war in Ukraine has had not only on the entire region, but also on Montenegro at several levels, the CCE calls on the incumbent authorities, as well as those who might come to power after the elections, to be consistent, both formally and substantively, in relation to the aggressor, not to deviate from the European path, and to cherish European and democratic values.

Milica Zindović, Programme associate