This documentary, produced by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is an opportunity to see the concrete contributions of France’s diplomats to supporting local people. You will also see how collaborations are organized with various political and economic institutions. As observers, promoters, mediators and representatives, diplomats have to apprehend the realities of a country to understand it and forge strong ties.
Ukraine has been suffering from a conflict in the Donbass region since 2014. This documentary sheds light on the country and on both its treasures and its wounds, through the eyes of two successive Ambassadors of France to Ukraine.
Isabelle Dumont, Ambassador from 2014 to 2019, closely followed all developments in the country during this crucial phase in its history. Before leaving Kyiv and handing over to Étienne de Poncins, she embarks on a final tour to meet Ukrainians in several regions.
She successively meets with villagers from the Donbass, living on the contact line, the Mayor of Mariupol on the Azov Sea, where a French company is working to improve the drinking water network, and staff from a helicopter maintenance base established by Airbus for the Ministry of the Interior. The documentary also follows the Ambassador when the Ukrainian President inaugurates the New Safe Confinement structure for the Chernobyl nuclear plant, built by a French company, and as she welcomes her guests at the unmissable Bastille Day celebrations at the Ambassador’s Residence. Wherever she goes, the Ambassador works to rebuild Ukraine and defend France’s values and interests.
In 2019, her successor, Étienne de Poncins, takes up the torch. The new Ambassador takes us behind the scenes at the negotiations in Paris between Ukraine and Russia, under the auspices of France and Germany. He explains the issues at stake in the so-called “Normandy Format” meeting, between Volodymyr Zelensky, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, which helped restore dialogue between Ukraine and Russia.