Opening Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. William Taylor at a Public Talk with U.S. Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper

October 11, 2019

Dobriy vechir!  [Good evening!]  I’m very pleased to be here.  I understand that for those who want it, there is interpretation.  Is that right, everybody can understand what I’m saying?  Everybody’s good, okay.  Welcome to America House.  I am so pleased to be here, with Captain Stefanyshyn-Piper, who was last here – no, I last saw her here 12 years ago.  I saw her at the airport, at Boryspil, when she arrived, it was a great honor for me.  It’s a great honor for me tonight to be able to welcome her back.  She’s been here since then, but I haven’t, so it’s great.

She’s been in the country since Monday, in Kharkiv, she’s been in Kharkiv all week, and over the weekend will go to Lviv, where her family was originally from.

Everybody knows her exploits. Everybody knows all the things that she’s done. She’s a Navy captain – a retired Navy captain now – and spent 28 days in space, which she will probably say something about here this evening.

I just mentioned to Captain Piper that I was over in one of the ministries, I was in the Ministry of Economy just earlier this afternoon, and on the wall are all these heroes of Ukraine. And you’ll be happy to know, you are there, you absolutely are there.  Along with a lot of other heroes, but there you were, in your helmet.  So this is great.

So, Heidi, we are so pleased to have you here. I know this crowd is very eager to both hear you and maybe even ask you some questions, so it’s my great honor to introduce Captain Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper.