The CIOR Summer Congress Symposium “Russian War Against Ukraine” was attended by hundreds of congress participants from over 30 nations in Athens today. The Minister of National Defence of Greece Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos was among the keynote speakers.
By Capt. Christina Judd, U.S. Air Force Reserve/CIOR Public Affairs
The minister thanked the reserve forces for their participation in the annual meeting and for visiting Greece after the long hiatus.
The Minister spoke about the incredible need of reserve forces and emphasized that the Ukrainian reserves are currently fighting for their lives and their country. He said all reservists are uniquely motivated.
“You are called from deep inside and you are driven forward by sense of duty and love as a genuine volunteer force that galvanises us all in order to meet very challenging security issues,” Panagiotopoulos said.
The Ambassador of Ukraine to the Hellenic Republic, Sergil Shutenko, addressed the congress providing an intimate assessment of the current fight going on in Ukraine, noting they are in the 161st day of war. Shutenko credited the west’s swift military and humanitarian aid as a key factor in the fight against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
“No one wanted this war, other than Russia,” said Shutenko. “No country in the world craves peace more than Ukraine.”
The Deputy Minister of Education of Greece, Angelos Syrigoa, drove home the international and security issues the current war is causing for the world. Syrigoa, a religious affairs professor of international law and foreign policy, discussed the problem of authoritarian leaders in the 21st century and the trickle-down effects their actions cause.
Tobias Gehrke from Egmont Institute said Europe and the west must protect and promote four geoeconomics elements during a time of war. He challenged members of CIOR to deter economic coercion, protect critical capabilities, shape global connectivity and boost emerging capabilities to safeguard sovereignty of nations and maintain rules-based order.
Paula Redondo from NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division gave a case study on analyzing the Russian invasion and its effect on the food and energy crises. Redondo said CIOR is a direct support to NATO, the strongest military alliance in the world.
The symposium was concluded with a case study presented by Major Dawn LeBlanc from CIOMR, the confederation for medical reservists. She and a team of 150 Canadian active and reserve forces provided medical support to Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Poland accepted over three million refugees in less than 60 days after Feb. 24. LeBlanc emphasised the need for roaming care and mental health workers to care for those who had experienced the atrocities of war.
More information about the 2022 Summer Congress in Athens can be found on our social media pages.
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Photos by Susanna Takamaa, 1st Lieutenant (R), Finnish Reserve Officers Association/ CIOR Public Affairs and Brig. gen. Erich Cibulka (R), Swiss Armed Forces.