03.03.2022

ϳ Hein Heidbruchel

Dear Colleague,

Allow me to send you a personal message. I managed to get your email address today.

I am thinking daily about all my Ukrainian colleagues, and I am stupified about what is happening.
As EHRA President 2018-2020 I have been working strongly to integrate Eastern Europe and Russia into a wide space of scientific exchange and clinical advance. It is gruelling to see how Russia unilaterally destroys that future we all had before us.
Just last week, I saw updates on clinical trials with great Ukrainian contribution, and today I realise that all your lives are being ruined.

I feel powerless, but I hope that at least my compassion brings some comfort to you.

Since the beginning of this week I am corresponding with Russian colleagues, and although you may feel differently, I think that we have to keep these communication lines open with them. I cannot believe that the population of Russia, and certainly not scientists and clinicians, can be supportive of such widescale attack on all major cities and society in Ukraine. We need to mobilise them as in internal force of opposition within their own country; there is no other way to solve this in the long term. I use it also as a way to explain to them what is actually happening since most of them are not very well informed.

I will defend within EHRA and the ESC that we put all official collaboration with Russia (and its potential allies) on hold as a clear sign. But while keeping the communication open with them, I hope that the mutual respect as scientists and the common values as clinicians, will serve as the foundation to re-build the future. Because it will take years and decades for people of good will to heal what is being destroyed in such a short time now. Society will need us all.

My wife is part of the city council of our town, which is presided by the former Belgian Secretary of Immigration (whom my wife replaced as mayor of our town for a few years). They are exploring what measures we can take to provide housing for refugees. I know that the same is going on in all towns and cities. You all should feel welcome in Europe! I still hope that it is not needed, but in case, it is a minor thing that we can do. I will let you know if I have more information.

I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones remain safe!
Please provide my same wishes to all Ukrainian arrhythmologists, whom I consider as my big family.

Please keep contact and let me know if you think that there is any personal action that I could help you with.

With best regards,

Hein Heidbuchel
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