German Universities Stand in Solidarity With Ukrainian Universities, Condemn Russian Attack

Germany Ukraine Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 01, 2022

Germany’s flag

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), the association of public and government-recognized universities in Germany, has issued a statement, saying that they stand in solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainian universities, strongly condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine.

In its statement, HRK said that they are concerned about the lives and the well-being of academics and students in Ukraine, adding that universities in Germany will assist the latter “within the scope of their capabilities.”

“We are very concerned about the lives and the well-being of Ukrainian academics and students. The German universities will assist them within the scope of their capabilities. It is also foreseeable that these developments will cause serious damage to German-Russian academic relations. We will have to examine the relevant consequences in detail,” HRK noted.

According to the statement, HRK will explore the possibilities to continue university and academic relations with Ukraine and Russia in cooperation with academic organizations in Germany, especially with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and in consultation with the Federal Government.

HRK indicated that the current war in Ukraine is affecting Germany and Ukraine relations in higher education, as Ukraine is an important source of international students in Germany.

During the summer semester of 2021, more than 8,200 Ukrainian students were enrolled at German universities, according to data by the Federal Statistical Office.

“The universities of both countries are also linked institutionally in many ways: there are currently 257 partnerships with Ukraine involving 113 German and 89 Ukrainian higher education institutions,” the statement reads.

Due to the conflict, Ukrainian universities have announced that education will continue online while advising their students and employees to stay home until further notice.

Universities worldwide have offered support to Ukraine – the European University Association (EUA) said that it is in touch with 26 universities in Ukraine, prepared to offer the utmost support in this difficult situation.

Hundreds of people have been killed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United Nations has reported at least 406 civilian casualties as of Sunday night, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said that the real figures might be higher.

“Most of these civilians were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and air strikes. The real figures are, I fear, considerably higher,” Bachelet said.

On February 24, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops entered Ukraine from the north, east, and south, targeting key cities, including Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

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