The Portuguese President of the Republic visited Ukraine this week to show Portugal’s support, and to be part of Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations. Once there, he spoke Ukrainian and was the first Head of State to step foot on an actual trench.
According to what the President said in his speech during the celebrations, which was made entirely in the host nation’s language, without Ukraine´s legitimate protection, there will not be peace and security in Europe. Portugal’s position and support mirror that belief.
During the visit, the President visited a region on the outskirts of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. The region was completely devastated by the war. And even though it was reconquered by Ukrainian forces, it is yet to recover from all the devastation.
There is a recovery plan. However, the trench is set to remain as a reminder of the fight against Russian occupation, and the sorrow that came with it. When he was there, the Portuguese President did what no other foreign Head of State, or Minister, did. He went inside the trench.
According to Lesya Arkadievna, Deputy Governor for the Kyiv Region, the Portuguese President was the first visitor to step foot on the soil where the military and the civil population were actually fighting the occupants months before.
The visit had multiple objectives, but the main reason was to solidify the continuity of Portugal’s support. Speaking the national language and being inside the trench were unusual gestures that contributed to that purpose.