Annely Kolk: I wouldn't say Kyiv is among the toughest ambassador postings

Annely Kolk speaking to 'Ringvaade'.
Annely Kolk speaking to 'Ringvaade'. Source: ERR

Annely Kolk, Estonia's new ambassador to Ukraine, says that given all the hard work in aid of that country which has been carried out by diplomats from all over the world, a Kyiv posting cannot be called one of the toughest around.

At the same time, speaking via live-link to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade suvel" on Wednesday, Kolk, who replaces Kaimo Kuusk, recounted how on arriving in the Ukrainian capital, she was greeted by the din of air-raid sirens.

Working in a war zone is not something she had encountered in her career so far.

"I went to the site of the earthquake in Turkey in February, and witnessed the destruction and tragedy that had happened," she said.

Kolk's previous posting had been as Estonia's ambassador to Ankara.

"But that was the power of nature; there is certainly a war going on here in Ukraine, and I have never before experienced a war zone," she added.

Kolk, whose husband is accompanying her in Kyiv, went on to say that work is work. "We are not directly at war. We are diplomats, we're doing our job, and we're in Kyiv. In other words, we are taking things one day at a time, and we will see what happens. Today happened to be very pleasant. I hope tomorrow will be nice too, and I hope that's the case for the four years. But in the beginning, let's take it one day at a time."

According to Kolk, working in Ukraine is not one of the most difficult postings.

"In the sense there is a war going on in this country, then, in fact, it is hard. But in and of itself, Russia's brutal war on Ukraine has affected the whole of Estonia, and state officials, diplomats – all our diplomats – have been working to help Ukraine for a year and a half," Kolk said.

"It is the same for our colleagues at the other embassies. It has been hard for everyone. We are here on site and our task is to provide as much information from here as we can, that which may not be possible from the media, and also to show the Ukrainians here that we are here, we are your friends, supporters and we will remain so until ultimately Ukraine wins – and we will also be with them at the victory celebrations too," the ambassador went on.

She added that in all likelihood many other diplomats would have liked to have gone to work in Ukraine, but many are not of a mind to go with their families to a country which is at war, so this restricts many of them from doing so.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Ringvaade suvel', interviewer Anna Pihl.

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