Two years have passed since the Russian Federation initiated its illegal invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. This act shattered the peace that had prevailed on the European continent for seven decades, despite the resolute vows of “Never again” that followed the Second World War. But as the German philosopher Georg Hegel once said: “The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, it became our global community’s duty to respond and demonstrate strong support for Ukraine. The Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs’ Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, back in 2022 recognized this responsibility and launched the EDDE Collaborative Messaging mechanism through the European Digital Diplomacy Exchange (EDDE) project. This mechanism aimed at coordinating a whole-of-government approach to address the crisis through a multi-pronged digital messaging campaign by emphasising support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; promoting regional stability and security; and countering related Russian disinformation. Our Slack platform served as a vital information-sharing channel during the initial stages of the invasion, facilitating communication between the Ukrainian government and foreign counterparts.

The EDDE Network, initially comprising of 17 countries, expanded to 21 through this mechanism, with additional participation from member states such as Canada, Norway, Poland, and the UK, as well as two international organizations, EEAS and NATO. Previously meeting only a few times a year, we began convening weekly, having hosted 76 meetings thus far. Ukraine shared its digital communication needs with us, while other countries shared their digital communication plans. We established coordinated country-to-country reporting, enabling member states to collaborate effectively, coordinate reporting, amplify messages, and utilize multimedia materials produced by other countries. Through the strength of our collective voices, we stood in solidarity with Ukraine, defending its territorial integrity and sovereignty, promoting regional stability and security, and countering Russian disinformation from the outset of the conflict.

We have sustained these cooperative efforts to this day – two years too long. And we will continue to do so until peace prevails!