One year has passed since the first attack on Ukraine, which occurred on February 24, 2022. In order to raise awareness of this unfortunate anniversary among young people from the region and give them a virtual space to discuss all the effects this aggression is having on the international community, we organized a regional PYN webinar on February 28th that highlighted the consequences and impact of this aggression on stability and relations among post-Yugoslav states.
Senada Šelo Šabić, a Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Development and International Relations and a subject-matter expert, was invited to deliver the guest lecture, share her knowledge, and respond to all questions about the subject that came up during the discussion that followed her introductory lecture.
The webinar was held via Zoom platform and lasted almost two hours. Young participants from five countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo and Montenegro) participated in the event and some of them actively engaged by asking questions and sharing their thoughts about the impact the aggression has on Western Balkans.
One of the participants shared with us his gratitude for the opportunity to hear more about this topic and said what he learned by taking part in the webinar: ‘With Ms Šelo Šabić and colleagues who are interested in political processes and events that occurred in the previous year since the beginning of invasion of Russian Federation on Ukraine, I had an opportunity to discuss about the current events regarding the ongoing war between two countries, as well as its subsequent effect on the post-Yugoslav states. The ongoing informational war and the paradigms set by political actors and media by the West (NATO/EU member states/countries influenced stronger by USA) on one side and in Russia + non-NATO/non-EU member states/countries influenced stronger by Russia on the other side, as well as the current situation at the Ukrainian battlefields forced us to pessimistically conclude that the international world order is changing in a shallowed, bloody way contrary to all non-armament or peace agreements signed in the post-WWII world. Europe is also perceived as a vulnerable continent, which is being reflected in political uncertainties among the post-Yugoslav states as well.’
Participants did expressed concerns about the security and stability of European nations, particularly those in the Western Balkans, but the webinar came to the conclusion that these topics should continue to be discussed and that both politicians and citizens should do more to ensure international cooperation among states. Local governments and media must engage with citizens to establish and uphold peace and cooperation, and national governments must do the same.