40 young people talk with the Dutch ahead of the E.U.-Ukraine referendum in the Netherlands
Ukraine now has 5000 more friends in Holland. This is according to 40 Ukrainians students who have just returned from Amsterdam. They were campaigning in the Netherlands ahead of the referendum on the E.U.-Ukraine association. The students met with several thousands of Dutch citizens.
Ilya Karelin, Ukrainian student: "Half of these people didn't know about the referendum, some of them were against referendum, and of course we tried to persuade any person. We came here to persuade people to say 'yes' for Ukraine, because it's our future, it's very important for us."
The campaign for Ukraine went on for five days. Students organized various events to attract the locals. They spoke to people on trains and in the streets, participated in round tables, exhibitions and mass meetings.
Alisa Ruban, Ukrainian student: "These are leaflets which we spread in the Netherlands, they say in Dutch 'Stemvoor' it means say yes in the referendum, and Ukraine freedom which was the main hashtag and main message of our trip. We wanted to send this message to Dutch people, that we share the same values they do which are freedom, which are dignity, we stood for them on Maidan, and now we want to share them with Dutch people."
The students also held meetings with Dutch officials and politicians. They talked to members of the parties that support Ukraine, as well as those against it. Ukrainians say, campaign against the agreement is misleading and built on rumours.
Roman Tychkivskyi, Project coordinator: "The opposition in the Netherlands is very manipulating, and they use populistic messages to influence the society. The person who initiated the referendum, he left after we started demanding to tell us the exact statements in the agreement that says this or this that he is always talking to people about, he got very aggressive."
Dutch referendum on the E.U.-Ukraine association is set to take place on April 6. If the majority votes 'no', the Dutch government may apply for the denouncement of the agreement. Western states say Europe will benefit from trading with Ukraine. Negative result could also worsen the stability in the region.