Background and personal motivation of the team members
Dirck Smits van Oyen, I was sent to Ukraine in 1999 by my then employer, the beer brewer ABInBev to be their marketing director. In 2003, they asked me to return to their head office but after 4 years in Ukraine I saw lots of opportunities in this emerging market and I decided to become self-employed. First in brewing (with friends we bought a small brewery in Lisichansk, I heard it was recently destroyed), then as a business consultant helping foreign investors develop their businesses in Ukraine and now as a farmer, a dream I had since childhood. I met my wife when she was marketing director of Coca Cola and her boss had the nice idea to invite me to his office to discuss cooperation between our 2 companies. Together, we have participated in most historical events that have rocked Ukraine over the past 20 years and seen the changes for the better they have brought. "We will do everything we can to prevent the Beast from the East to return Ukraine as a colony of Russia, a position which impoverished it for centuries. Contrary to Moscow, Ukraine’s history mostly has been in Europe, and that is where its future is."
Jaap Scholten, I am a Dutch author living since 2003 in Hungary, a neighbor of Ukraine. I have traveled Eastern Europe extensively and wrote a few years ago a book (Comrade Baron) about the fate of the Hungarian elite under communism. It made me understand better the people in the former satellite states of the Soviet Union and see the total contempt for human life of the Soviet powers. Too much of this Stalinist attitude I recognize in Vladimir Putin. I am convinced that we have to fight it with everything in us, if we - this is Moldavia, Poland or one of the Baltic States - do not want to be the next victim to his bloody ambitions. "The war in Ukraine is for me a struggle between good and evil. The Ukrainians have the courage and stamina to fight fearlessly. We have to make sure they win this war - to stop tyranny. When Putin wins this war it will be an endorsement for dictators and aspiring dictators in the world."
Pieter Wesselman, I strongly believe in European values, as democracy (personal) freedom and rule of law. The Russian invasion in Ukraine, and the following brutality in which these values are being violated triggered me to join Dirck, Jaap and Godfried in their mission with Protect Ukraine. On top of that I feel obliged to contribute and stop the Russian aggressor to move further than Ukraine and support the Ukraine in driving back the invader before it can cause harm to other nations in the region as well. "I strongly believe in European values, as democracy and rule of law. The Russian invasion in Ukraine, and the following brutality in which these values are being violated triggered me to contribute. Moreover, I feel obliged to support the Ukraine in driving back the Russian aggressor."
Godfried van Lanschot, having worked and lived in the Netherlands most of my life, the invasion of Ukraine made me realize we are in a very privileged position. All the freedoms and the security we have are not to be taken for granted. More and more totalitarian regimes are trying to take this away. I feel it is our duty to support the Ukrainians in their fight against this brutal invader. Moreover, if we do not support them and the Russians succeed in conquering even a part of Ukraine, they will continue and threaten other states in Europe in the near future. That’s why I joined Dirck, Jaap and Pieter to help the Ukrainians. 'I feel it is our duty to support the Ukrainians in their fight against this brutal invader. Moreover, if we do not support them and the Russians succeed in conquering even a part of Ukraine, they will continue and threaten other states in Europe in the near future.'