In the student town of Riga Technical University (RTU), the Ukrainian flag has been flying since Tuesday, March 1. It was raised in solidarity with Ukraine and expressed its support in the fight for its land and independence. RTU students from Ukraine are granted scholarships and Ukrainian refugees are offered to stay in university dormitories.
«What is happening in Ukraine is inconceivable: the deaths of children, their parents, their peaceful citizens, who work and live in this independent country, are fighting against great force. RTU is an international university, we are tolerant to all nationalities, but in no way against an aggressor government that allows genocide against an independent nation. We are with the Ukrainian people fighting for their independence. Let Ukraine live long and through the ages,» RTU rector Leonid Ribickis said at the flag-raising ceremonial event.
There are 20 students studying in RTU from Ukraine, and from March onwards, RTU grants them scholarships so that students can live and study in Latvia when there is a war at home. In addition, individual interviews with students will identify each individual's personal needs in order to be able to help accordingly.
«Thirty years ago, the Baltic nations had important demonstrations in Stockholm, Copenhagen and elsewhere in support of our desire to live in a free and democratic country. Russia's aggressive policies have not changed in thirty years, and now it is our turn to support Ukraine, which is fighting to prevent the established democratic state from being crushed by a brutal military force. In order to be able to help, we must immediately understand what is needed at the moment. The war affects every family individually, so we want to listen to every Ukrainian student to be able to help as much as we can as a university,» says Igor Tipan, Deputy Rector of the RTU in international cooperation and foreign student studies.
Currently, the RTU has prepared 50 seats in dormitories for refugees from Ukraine. On 24 February, immediately following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the RTU sent letters to its 13 partner high schools and to the Ukrainian embassy in Latvia, offering the possibility for partners to continue their research activities due to war.
«A week ago, we didn't believe that right next to us, children would be born in bunkers and students who should enjoy training and study time would be forced to put down books in order to take up guns in their hands and fight for their land. I call on you to put all the discord aside and to be united on what our position against aggression and against the aggressors is to be united in the fight for justice, conscience, accountability and humanity.» On behalf of all the students of the RTU, I say no to war, said Aneta Tarasova, president of the RTU Students' Parliament, during the formal lifting of the Ukrainian flag.
The raising of the flag was accompanied by RTU men's choir Gaudeamus and the mixed choir Vivere, as well as by RTU students, faculty, scientists, administration, stating that the RTU condemns Russian aggression in Ukraine and supports peace and security in Europe.