On February 15, 2023, “OPORA in Poland” Foundation had the honor of welcoming David Cameron, the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, at the Center for Assistance in War Crimes Documentation. “OPORA in Poland” Foundation was established in Warsaw following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine to collect data on war crimes committed by Russia. The British government is consistent in their support for justice and Russia’s accountability for war crimes commited in Ukraine, as well as condemning the crime of aggression.

Collaboration with civil society organizations is crucial in collecting war crime data. OPORA has conducted over 1,600 interviews and transferred the data to the Office of the Polish Prosecutor based on the MOU and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. We strive to provide unparalleled access to firsthand accounts, crucial evidence, and comprehensive insights that are essential for the accurate documentation of war crimes.

We are glad to have such a powerful partner as the United Kingdom. Last year, the UK Government announced funding to support the documentation, investigation, and prosecution of war crimes in Ukraine. The package includes funding for training Ukrainian prosecutors to use intelligence from open sources to identify potential crimes, as well as the expansion of OPORA's Center for Assistance in War Crimes Documentation.

The year 2024 must become a year of advocacy to achieve the goal of justice, accountability, and strengthening that defense capabiliities. Public support for justice demonstrates that no matter how difficult the geopolitical situation is, the right to truth and condemnation of the aggressor will become visible.

The UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: "You have to document, so that those people responsible are brought to justice. Because you can have all the will in the world for court cases and prosecution but unless you have the evidence from where it happens, [it would not be possible]. That's why what you are doing is so vital. Thank you so much for welcoming me here today and for telling me about what you are doing.”

OPORA’s Chairperson Olga Aivazovska emphasized: "There is a critical need for timely and effective accountability measures for all international crimes committed in Ukraine, including crimes against humanity, aggression and genocide. In the witness testimonies provided by OPORA, we see signs of all these crimes. It is important the UK continues and further increases its support for international legal mechanisms and engages both bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure timely investigation and prosecution of war crimes. It is also important for us to consider the transformation of witnesses as survivor-leaders. They deserve support and a new paradigm of cooperation, psychological help, and inclusion in the process of achieving the goals of justice is essential."

The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Cameron also spoke with Oleg Afanasyev, the main character of the "Distant Barking of Dogs" documentary. A 17-year-old boy from Mariupol, who spoke about the horrors of life under the occupation and spending two months without food and water, called to help Ukrainian children. Touched by Oleg’s story, the Foreign Security David Cameron shared that in 2022 his own family also hosted a family from Ukraine.

Olga Aivazovska and Oleg gave the guests a guided tour of a thematic exhibition of paintings and presented the Foreign Security with the book "The War Through the Voices of Children". It was published by the "Voices of Children" Charitable Foundation on the anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. It contains about 100 emotional quotes that demonstrate children's paradoxical view of war. Quotes are illustrated by designers, artists, photographers, and celebrities from different parts of the world.

The awareness raising and coalition building is not limited to such meetings. Early next week OPORA, "International Centre for Ukrainian Victory", and "Voices of Children" delegation will hold a series of events at the UK Parliament to commemorate the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The visit will start with a Parliamentary event at the Churchill Room on Monday, February 19, followed by an expert discussion the next day. The main purpose of the events jointly referred to as “Echoes of Tragedy: Testimonies on Russia’s War in Ukraine'' is to highlight the devastating impact of the war, focusing on civilian experiences and the war’s genocidal nature.

OPORA will also welcome the public at the Ukrainian Institute in London on February 21. This event will feature a screening of the short documentary “What Have We Lost” followed by a panel discussion. We will be joined by experts and survivors from Ukraine to discuss the experience of children, Russia’s oppression of Ukrainian culture and identity in the occupied territories of Ukraine, and what we can do to work towards holding Russia accountable for these crimes.