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After the attack by Russian troops on Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday (24 February 2022), there is also a sense of dismay at Leipzig University. The German and State Rectors’ Conferences have also expressed their solidarity with Ukraine’s students and higher education institutions. The situation on the ground will affect student exchanges involving Leipzig University students in the region, as well as those with incoming students from the affected countries – Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, said Dr Svend Poller, Head of the International Centre at Leipzig University. In cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Leipzig University is endeavouring to offer all Ukrainians currently studying at the University the option of extending their stay at Leipzig. In light of current events, the Leipzig University church service will be a prayer service for peace.

A few days ago, as a precaution Leipzig University already requested that its students currently in Kyiv return to Germany. At the same time, Leipzig University students planning to stay in the affected countries have been urged to cancel their trips.

“Basically, we are awaiting the specific recommendations for how to proceed from the DAAD and the Federal Foreign Office before we can provide practical assistance. Counselling is of course already available now. It is important to us that students from all countries affected by these acts of war continue to feel safe and welcome at Leipzig University,” Poller emphasised.

Currently, 95 Ukrainian, 225 Russian and 41 Belarusian students are enrolled at Leipzig University. Leipzig University has a decades-old partnership with Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv. The main focus of the exchange of students and researchers is in the field of philology. The International Centre is continuing to liaise with its partners in Kyiv during these difficult days.

The President of the DAAD, Professor Joybrato Mukherjee, is “appalled” by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. A DAAD press release. issued on Thursday (24 February 2022) read: “As the DAAD, we stand for peaceful and free exchange in the sciences and for a cross-border community of teachers, researchers, and students all over the world. [...] The DAAD will closely monitor the situation and developments on the ground and, in close consultation with the Federal Government and in exchange with the German Rectors’ Conference and the German universities, will assess in the coming days and weeks how academic cooperation with Ukraine can be shaped.” The DAAD noted that some 46 DAAD projects and 62 Erasmus+ projects are currently being funded in Ukraine. Due to the pandemic, most of this cooperation is taking place online. As the situation has deteriorated, DAAD funding recipients from Germany have already left Ukraine in the past few days.

HRK and LRK condemn attack on Ukraine

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) condemned the attack on Ukraine. HRK President Professor Peter-André Alt expressed the HRK’s solidarity with the students and partner universities in Ukraine. "This is a deeply distressing day,” he said in a press release. “Our solidarity goes out to the people of Ukraine and especially to our academic partners. 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.” The Saxon State Rectors’ Conference (LRK), of which Leipzig University is a member, also condemned the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops and sees long-standing academic relations at great risk. The rectors of the LRK Saxony echoed the clear words of the HRK President.

  • Leipzig University’s experts on the Ukraine war
    The University has compiled an overview of academic experts who are on hand to answer press enquiries about the war in Ukraine.

Translation of the updated German version of: 25 February 2022, 3.20pm