Dmytro Leontyev is the head of the Department of Botany at the H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He is currently a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Greifswald. In his recent interview (4.03.2022) to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation he spoke about the current situation, further options for international cooperation and the West’s naivety.
“Our family and friends are in terrible danger in Kharkiv: my parents, my brother and his wife – who had cancer surgery just two days before the war started and was then directly released from hospital – and our daughter. She is 21 years old and is suffering greatly on a psychological level from all the fear. She has fallen into a deep depression. I can hardly talk with her. It is horrible. We are trying to maintain contact. Fortunately, that has been possible to date thanks to the joint efforts being made to maintain the infrastructure under great risk and with a lot of work. That is very reassuring to us. Most parts of the city still have electricity, internet and water.”
“Will the EU sanctions help end the war? – Germany has fortunately woken up. But too late! Europe should have acted sooner. That would have kept things from going so far. I keep hearing from people – especially here in eastern Germany – that they understand Putin. That is like a stab in the heart. I then tell them that we understand him better because we speak Russian! We try to convey to them Putin’s extremist ideology of hate towards neighbouring states.”