In the course of our work, and in the occasional Daily Paradox, we mention the importance of stature. Difficult to define, we are often asked for examples of people with great stature. There are many to quote – leaders, politicians, sports people, prophets, persuaders, influencers (in the wider meaning of the word than just social media) and millions whose claim to fame is that they make none. Inevitably, many people of stature are older, from earlier generations. Some have already died. Stature often grows – for a time – after someone has checked out of this life.

It is rare today to see a relative newcomer to the world scene who has exceptional stature.

That is why I am delighted to highlight Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, 42 years old. He was invited to Hardtalk with the BBC’s toughest and most direct interviewer, Stephen Sackur, on 24Jan23. It is something anyone interested in the meaning of stature should see. This relatively young politician, now in the limelight of world affairs and at a moment of international key decisions about the future of Ukraine, didn’t ‘present’ himself. He didn’t need to. He held us in his gaze without ever staring. He answered with a truth that was greater than diplomatic but still cooperative. There were a couple of times when he would have been forgiven if he had shown irritation or anger – but he didn’t. And yet at no point did he appear prevaricating or weak. He was as strong as we have come to expect the Ukraine government to be.

The words I use will not do justice to the interview with this man. I hope they will whet your appetite to find the interview (just under 30 minutes) on YOUTUBE. 

Dmytro Kuleba will not win or lose the Ukraine-Russia war. If he is an example of the ministers and aides that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has around him, Ukraine will win. I congratulate the team and in particular the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 Would that there were more like him to help us through our rough world storm.

John Bittleston 

If you do get to see the episode of Hardtalk that I refer to and would like to comment, I shall be delighted to have your views – whatever they are.

24 January 2023