Following a nearly five-year posting in Estonia that drew to a close this summer, Ukrainian diplomat Mariana Betsa announced Sunday that she will be taking up the role of ambassador-at-large for the Ukrainian diaspora.
"Some personal news: having served as ambassador to Estonia for five years, I'm joining Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as ambassador-at-large for the global Ukrainian community," Betsa tweeted on Sunday night.
"In the face of Russia's aggression, we need to reconnect Ukrainians worldwide and help Ukraine win," she added. "Stay tuned."
Some personal news. Having served as Ambassador to Estonia for 5 years, I'm joining @MFA_Ukraine as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Ukrainian Community. In the face of russia's aggression we need to reconnect Ukrainians worldwide& help Ukraine win.Stay tuned #StandWithUkraine— Mariana Betsa (@Mariana_Betsa) November 12, 2023
This March, ahead of the end of her term, it was announced that Betsa would be succeeded as ambassador to Estonia by Maksym Kononenko.
Prior to her departure, she was bestowed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Cross of Merit, Third Class and the Ministry of the Interior's Silver Badge of Merit in recognition of her efforts and contributions in her role as Ukrainian ambassador.
Betsa had served as ambassador to Estonia since December 2018, when she presented her letters of credentials to President Kersti Kaljulaid. Prior to that she had served as spokesperson for the Ukrainian MFA.
Leaving Estonia today after almost 5 years as Ambassador of Ukraine to Estonia. So grateful to this beautiful country & beautiful people for their tremendous support of Ukraine. Estonia has truly become my second home Aitäh! Slava Ukraini! Elagu Eesti #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/BIOvMMvuxT— Mariana Betsa (@Mariana_Betsa) June 30, 2023
Estonia, Ukraine linked by diaspora ties
Even before Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year, Estonia was home to a sizable Ukrainian population of more than 25,000, comprising one of the country's largest ethnic groups.
Despite not sharing a border, this existing diaspora presence was one of the factors impacting the relatively high number of refugees to flee to the northernmost Baltic country since last February, including the more than 40,000 refugees from Ukraine who have applied for temporary protection in Estonia.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Estonia notes that representatives of the country's Ukrainian diaspora are currently united by two independent umbrella organizations – the Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia, which includes more than ten organizations, and the Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia, which brings together 28 Ukrainian national and cultural societies.
Diaspora Estonians have also continued to support Ukraine, including via the latter's own diaspora organizations, such as in Canada and the U.S.
Editor: Aili Vahtla