On the eve of the anniversary of the onset of last year’s February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine along with worries about a new offensive, a conversation with Iuliia Mendel, award winning international journalist and former press secretary for Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy.
Mendel speculates about the spring offensive. She also describes the early days when Zelenskyy was gaining sea legs in democracy, and her impressions of the 2019 Paris talks between Zelenskyy, Russian President Putin, French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel. She also speaks about Russian weaponization of language and the struggle for self-determination experienced by post-soviet countries.
Throughout her interview, Mendel positions Ukraine as the vanguard of resistance and self-determination in the region in the struggle between old and new ways, and gives voice to Ukrainians’ strong will, together with sadness and dread felt in her country over the violence and death they continue to experience and anticipate.
Iuliia Mendel was press secretary in the administration of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy from 2019 until 2021. She worked as a journalist for ICTV, Espreso TV, 112 Ukraine and Inter TV channels. Mendel became the first Ukrainian journalist to win the World Press Institute program.
She had previously worked as a Communications Consultant at the World Bank and had contributed journalistic reporting for The New York Times. Mendel had worked as a journalist for several other media outlets including Politico Europe, the Atlantic Council, Vice, Spiegel Online and Forbes. In April 2016, she was the producer of the first documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder, Shell-Shocked: Ukraine's Trauma. In October 2019, she was included in the rating of the 100 most influential women in Ukraine by Focus magazine.