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Ukrainian ambassador Brodovich: ‘Slovenia is not a small country, Slovenia has a big heart’. President Pahor: ‘We have received you with our hearts wide open’

Ljubljana, 22. 4. 2022 | press release

Today, at a special event in the Grand Hall of the presidential palace, Slovenian president Borut Pahor received a group of Ukrainians who had fled the war and found refuge in Slovenia. The president had met them on 12 April 2022 when visiting Slovene Philanthropy’s ‘Day for Change’ project and invited them to the presidential palace.

Ukrainian ambassador Brodovich: ‘Slovenia is not a small country, Slovenia has a big heart’. President Pahor: ‘We have received you with our hearts wide open
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The reception began with the Ukrainian national anthem played by musicians from the Slovenian Police Orchestra. The gathered company joined in spontaneously, singing with great emotion and hands on hearts. The Ukrainian anthem was followed by the Slovenian and by an address by Ukraine’s ambassador to Slovenia, Mihajlo Brodovich. On behalf of his country and people, he thanked the Slovenian president for this reception of ‘forcibly removed people’, as he called the Ukrainian exiles, who had had to flee from war and the Russian Federation’s aggression against his country. He thanked Slovenia and everyone in the country for their enormous hospitality, and for the warm and friendly relations that Slovenia had nurtured with Ukraine. ‘Slovenia is not a small country, Slovenia has a big heart,’ he said.

President Pahor responded by saying: ‘Your homeland has been attacked by the Russian aggressor. Without reason or justification. Brave Ukrainian soldiers and innocent victims are dying in this pitiless war. We would ask you to stand and observe a minute’s silence in honour and remembrance.’ He asked Ambassador Brodovich to pass on to his friend and fellow president Zelenskiy his enormous admiration for the resistance and the courage of Ukraine and its people, with heartfelt wishes for peace and the swift renewal of that wonderful country.

‘Slovenia will do everything in its power to remain by your side. We have received you with our hearts wide open. Let me take this opportunity to thank all the good people from all across Slovenia who are offering help,’ said Mr Pahor. ‘We will stand with you until victory is achieved. I say to you the words that we Slovenes are fond of saying: Make yourself at home.’

Ukrainian ambassador Brodovich: ‘Slovenia is not a small country, Slovenia has a big heart’. President Pahor: ‘We have received you with our hearts wide open
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Children and young people from the Logatec and Debeli Rtič accommodation centres prepared a programme of music for the occasion, and a special concert experience was provided by musicians from the Ukrainian Youth Symphony Orchestra, who together with their Slovenian counterparts are preparing a major charity performance under the ‘Music for the Future’ banner. President Pahor is the honorary patron of the concert, which will take place at Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana on 11 May.

After the reception, Mr Pahor invited the guests into his private office. A guided tour of the presidential palace was also provided by the official protocol service.

Ukrainian ambassador Brodovich: ‘Slovenia is not a small country, Slovenia has a big heart’. President Pahor: ‘We have received you with our hearts wide open
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Before the event, Mr Pahor held a meeting with Katarina Štrukelj, director of the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants, Tereza Novak, executive director of Slovene Philanthropy, Dr Evgeny Goreshnik, representative of the Ukrainian diaspora in Slovenia, and Natalia Korolova, voluntary work coordinator.