TORONTO – Serhiy Kuzan , the leader of the Free People network in Ukraine and a national activist in the civil society movement, will be touring Canada and speaking about “Ukraine’s citizen response to Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine.”
The 11-city national tour in March and April includes: Toronto, March 22; Vancouver, March 23; Calgary, March 24; Edmonton, March 26; Winnipeg, March 28; Ottawa, March 31; St. Catharine’s, April 2; Etobicoke, April 4; Oshawa, April 6; London, April 7; and Hamilton, April 8.
During his visit to Ottawa, Mr. Kuzan will be hosted in Parliament by the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group and will meet with government officials.
Mr. Kuzan will discuss Ukraine’s citizen response to Russian aggression and civic support for Ukraine’s military, including his first-hand experiences in eastern Ukraine’s war zone. He will also share with the Canadian public the deep appreciation for the humanitarian support provided to Ukraine’s military personnel and injured soldiers.
The tour is organized by the League of Ukrainian Canadians, under the auspices of the International Council in Support of Ukraine (ICSU). The principal sponsor of the tour is the BCU Foundation. The ICSU’s member organizations are founders of two important humanitarian projects. The League of Ukrainian Canadians oversees the Friends of Ukraine Defense Forces Fund, providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s defense personnel and their families. The League of Ukrainian Canadian Women operates the Guardian Angels Ukraine Project, focusing on rehabilitation medicine to treat injured Ukrainian soldiers and victims of the Euro-Maidan attacks.
Based in Kharkiv, Mr. Kuzan is a leader in the national volunteer network Free People which provides direct support to Ukrainian defense forces fighting the Russian army and its surrogates in the Donbas region of Ukraine. He and his fellow volunteers deliver supplies directly to soldiers on the frontlines in the war zone.
When the Yanukovych regime’s special forces began launching attacks on the Euro-Maidan protesters, Free People established one of the first self-defense units of Euro-Maidan: the 14th Company, Euromaidan Self-Defense.
After Russia occupied Crimea by force and then attacked the Donbas region of Ukraine, many members of Euro-Maidan Self-Defense set out to defend Ukraine against Russian invaders and their surrogates by forming and joining volunteer battalions, National Guard units or the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. With the state coffers looted by the former regime, and a new Ukrainian government in the process of formation, Ukrainian citizens took it upon themselves to provide their defense forces with the material support to carry on the fight to rid Ukraine of the Russian military occupation.
Free People is a network that brings together volunteer groups throughout Ukraine to coordinate and pool resources in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the troops on the front lines and in the forward bases. Free People is registered with the government of Ukraine and works in cooperation with the national government and local units of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Security Service of Ukraine.
Mr. Kuzan, 30, is an attorney by training. He graduated with high honors from the Institute for Prosecutors at the prestigious National Law University of Yaroslav the Wise in Kharkiv and worked as an assistant prosecutor. As a law student he was active in the Kharkiv chapter of the Nationalist Youth Congress, a civically focused, democratic, patriotic student organization. He continues to chair the organization, which in 2011 was listed as one of the top 20 civic organizations in the country. He was among the founders of the Kharkiv affiliate of Our Ukraine, the lead political party of the Orange Revolution, and in 2005-2006 he served as its legal counsel. In 2013 he was awarded a certificate of recognition by the Parliament of Ukraine for his civic endeavors. In 2014 he was appointed as an adviser to the Secretary of the National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine.
For information about Mr. Kuzan’s tour, readers may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.