In a surprise appearance on Web Summit on Tuesday, Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska delivered an impassioned speech calling on the tech community to help her country fight Russian aggression.
“Your chosen profession – your field – is now a battlefield in Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Zelenska told attendees at the opening ceremony of Europe’s largest engineering event in Lisbon.
“The dystopias we read about in sci-fi novels and all threats to destroy life are much closer than you think. We felt it in Ukraine because of Russian terror – because Russia puts technology in the service of terror.”
The first lady discussed the role of technology in the conflict and shared accounts of victims killed or killed in drone and missile strikes since the country began its invasion in February.
The technology, she said, was largely used for “terrorist hits on Russia” rather than helping the people of Ukraine.
“I believe technology should be used to create, save and help people, not destroy them. I believe such technology is the future. If not, then there is no further future in sight.” told.
“You are the force that drives the world. You have capabilities and technologies that can help, but not destroy. I am sure that by helping Ukraine you can lead the world in the right direction. So I invite you to do the same.” , let’s do it together”.
Zelenska: ‘Our big victories are small’
Russia has continued to target critical Ukrainian infrastructure with a barrage of missiles, as well as civilian buildings such as apartment blocks and hospitals.
“she [Russia] Our power stations are under attack, there are blackouts all over the country… Now we have no power, no communication and no internet for hours every day,” the First Lady said.
While discussing the work of her new foundation, which was established in September and aims to raise money for medical, educational and humanitarian purposes in Ukraine, Zelenska also spoke about the growing mental health crisis in the country.
Zelenska said: “I believe that our big victory consists of small victories. Small victories from each individual. Victory over cold, hunger and despair.”
Her presence at the Web Summit is another opportunity to engage with the international community about the ongoing conflict, as her husband, Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, has also done so at events, summits and conferences since the beginning of the war.
In May, Zelenska addressed a gathering at the Ukraine House at a meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Ukraine has become a hot topic at the Web Summit, which began Tuesday and will see up to 100,000 attendees this week in the Portuguese capital.
A freedom of speech controversy erupted after representatives of Ukraine complained to organizers that Grayson, a controversial far-left website that published pro-Russian articles deemed propaganda, had been invited to the event. Done. The invitation was later withdrawn by Web Summit.
“We do our best to listen to our attendees or speaker partners. But in this case, there was a lot of feedback for participants who had been on the website for several months, and people didn’t notice them or some people didn’t notice them. did,” Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and co-founder of the event, told Euronews Next,
“Our job, I think, is to push the boundaries of debate and discourse,” he said.
About 60 start-ups from Ukraine are taking part in this year’s Web Summit.
In addition to Zelenska’s presence, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov will address attendees on Thursday.