The Embassy of Ukraine and the City of Athens have come together to showcase an original photo exhibition, bringing attention to the ongoing plight of Ukrainians grappling with the tragic consequences of Russian aggression over the last three months. The exhibition, in the heart of Athens, is an opportunity for visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the situation and show support for those affected.
As of today, Sunday, May 15, Vassilissis Olgas Avenue is hosting an outdoor exhibition with 57 photos, mainly works of photojournalists from around the world who found themselves in the “maelstrom” of conflicts to carry through their lens the shocking images of the war zones in Ukraine. Among them is the award-winning photojournalist Aris Messinis, head of the French AFP News Agency in Greece.
The exhibition titled “A War That Should Not Have Happened” showcases 57 snapshots depicting war’s horrors, the suffering of civilians whose lives were disrupted, and their brave and relentless efforts to resist the disaster, sending a powerful anti-war message.
The exhibition was inaugurated today at noon by the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, and the Ambassador of Ukraine, Sergii Shutenko.
The Mayor of Athens in his address noted:
“This exhibition and this war should not have happened. We, the Athenians, want to send a strong message against this illegal, unjust and barbaric invasion, a strong message for peace and democracy. We stand with the heroic fighters of Ukraine fighting for their national independence, rights, and sovereignty. But they are also fighting for the principles and values of us all. I would like to express my gratitude to the Ambassador and the Embassy of Ukraine for their excellent cooperation right from the beginning. The symbolic initiatives are one thing, but we are also working closely to assist displaced Ukrainians to settle in Athens, hoping that the war will end soon and they will be able to return to their homes. Ultimately, we hope that democracy and peace will triumph.”
For his part, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Athens, Sergii Shutenko, stated:
It is a great honour to be here today. I would like to express my gratitude to my friend Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and the entire City of Athens for their assistance in organizing this exhibition. The Mayor was right when he stated that this exhibition should never have happened, just like this war that has already lasted for over 80 days.
While the initial claim of the Russian Federation was that this was a special operation targeting military facilities, what we have in practice so far is a large part of the population displaced, which is demonstrated by this exhibition.
The violence in the ongoing war has been horrifying; not only have military targets been attacked, but innocent civilians, including women, children, homes, hospitals, and kindergartens, have also been affected. Life, in general, has been impacted. Our cities now bear little resemblance to what they were before the war. Ukrainian photographers have documented the atrocities and war crimes committed, and their photographs serve as evidence of these terrible acts. Additionally, these photographs highlight Russia’s actions during the war and bring Ukraine and Greece closer together.
By looking at these photos, we can make comparisons. We can compare Athens now with the living cities in Ukraine before the war. Thus, we have the opportunity to make the Greeks and tourists who will visit this exhibition realize that the war is an atrocity and all of us should be united and clearly seek a quick cease of fire and its quick end.
Once again, let me express my deep appreciation to my friend, the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, but also my warm thanks to the City of Athens for all the help they provided to us. In particular, let me dwell on what the City of Athens has already done for us by temporarily helping many of my compatriots, Ukrainians, in Greece and specifically here in Athens.
Finally, I would like to say that I am delighted that yesterday Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest.
We hope and wish that this war will end soon, that we will rebuild Ukraine and that next year, Eurovision will be able to take place in Mariupol, in a peaceful Ukraine.”
The opening of the exhibition was attended by the Ambassador of Poland, Artur Lompart; the Ambassador of Montenegro, Ana Vucadinovic; the Ambassador of North Macedonia, Lidija Boshkovska; the Ambassador of Portugal, Helena Paiva and the Romanian Chargé d ‘affaires Adriana Ciamba.
The exhibition will run until June13.