1. Mr. Ambassador, what is the situation in Ukraine after the recent elections? Is the conflict with Russian Speaking people escalating on the Easter part of the country? Are there any hopes yet for a diplomatic solution?
The successful presidential elections were held in Ukraine on the 25th of May. It’s a truly historic moment. After elections Ukraine’s democratic rule is fully restored.
Around 60% voters from all around the country, Crimea included, as well as from abroad cast their votes. 90% of voting districts were operational, the remaining 10% of them were not operational due to occupation of Crimea and crisis situation in the east of Ukraine. The President Petro Poroshenko has received a strong support of the Ukrainian people – almost 55% of votes.
Hence, we consider the presidential elections in Ukraine as a crucial element in the stabilization of the situation in the country.
The international community has recognized the elections as free and democratic, as well confirmed readiness to cooperate with the President Petro Poroshenko and to provide Ukraine with necessary assistance.
Ukraine is committed to finding a diplomatic and peaceful solution to this crisis that would provide for full respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of my country. We call on the Russian Federation to restore full implementation of its international and bilateral obligations.
I would also like to note that Ukraine has sufficient legal framework and instruments to discuss and decide on devolving more power to the Ukrainian regions. Moreover, it is one of the priorities of the new Government of Ukraine.
In the inaugural speech on June 7, 2014, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stressed that he was assuming the office in order to preserve the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of Ukraine, to ensure the sustainable peace and to guarantee security for all citizens.
President Poroshenko’s plan of peaceful settlement of situation in the Eastern regions of Ukraine lies on three pillars:
release from criminal responsibility for those, who surrendered weapons, did not commit grave crimes against Ukrainian military and civilians and was not involved in illegal activities of financing terrorism;
establishment of the controlled corridor for retreat of Russian mercenaries;
launch of inclusive dialogue with peaceful citizens.
2. Taking into account that there is a close cooperation both in economic and political level with Ukraine what is the perspective of Ukrainians about Cyprus?
Deepening contacts with Cyprus remains an important task of Ukraine’s foreign policy in the Mediterranean region. We are confident that the both countries have a great potential for further strengthening of the bilateral relations in all levels.
In particular, despite of the economic crisis, we are interested in further developing trade and investment cooperation with Cyprus in spheres of mutual interest.
The Ukrainian Side is satisfied by results of the 1st Session of the Ukrainian-Cypriot Intergovernmental Commission on economic, scientific, technical and industrial cooperation that will promote further development of our trade and investment cooperation (Nicosia, 26-27 June 2013). It was important that during the Session delegations of Ukraine and Cyprus have discussed a state and prospects of the bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in such spheres of the mutual interest as banking sector, tourism, energy sector, civil aviation, merchant shipping, agriculture, public health, education and culture. We are looking forward to the next session of the Commission in Kyiv.
The Republic of Cyprus has become the first member country of the EU to provide our citizens with an opportunity to obtain electronic visas, the registration of which is completely free. Ukraine welcomes this friendly step of Cyprus. The Ukrainian Side considers this decision as a stage of introducing a fully visa-free entry to the EU Member States for Ukrainian citizens.
3. Given that Cyprus has good economic and political relationships with both Ukraine and Russia, how do you believe that this can assist in diffusing the tensions in the Ukrainian Crisis?
A numerous efforts have been undertaken on the top political level of world leaders to deescalate the crisis and seek its peaceful resolution with full respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We have witnessed broad international condemnation of the actions of the Russian Federation that violate imperative norms of international law, the Helsinki Final Act, bilateral and multilateral agreements signed between Ukraine and the Russian Federation; actions that undermine the very foundation of European and global peace and security.
The international community has expressed support for initiative of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko regarding peaceful settlement of the situation in the east of Ukraine.
As a member of the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus contributes to this end in line with the EU’s common decisions and policy.
The Ukrainian Side highly appreciates weighted and balanced position of the Republic of Cyprus, which stands firmly for the respect of principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and the protection of human rights.
In particular, the Republic of Cyprus was among those countries who voted in favor of the resolution on "Territorial Integrity of Ukraine", which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 27 March 2014.
We are interested in further developing mutually beneficial comprehensive cooperation between our countries based on trust and understanding between friendly Ukrainian and Cypriot peoples.
We hope for support of constructive efforts of the President of Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine to stabilize the situation in our country, including: constitutional reform and local government reform; social-economic reforms; establishing an inclusive social dialogue involving eastern and southern regions.
We are also grateful to the Cypriot Side for the traditional support of Ukraine’s European integration aspirations. In this context it should be mentioned that the European integration has no alternative for Ukraine. The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union is to be signed soon.
Dialogue with Russia is also important. But this dialogue will never be possible at the expense of Ukrainian independence, territory, borders, sovereign internal and foreign policy, as well as the occupied Crimea.
4-5. Do you think the E.U. should be more decisive in taking measures against Russia? Is the Russian natural gas dependence of Europe an important factor holding Back E.U. from taking more radical measures? Energy sector has become a critical point for the EU. What do you believe are the problems or advantages that Cypriot NG has compared to Russian NG?
I think that EU should undertake all proper measures to stop Russian aggressive policy towards Ukraine.
Certainly, the issue of gas supply is a key for economy of each European state. Moreover, the European community together with Ukraine should exert every possible effort in order to correct the situation on the European gas market in view of the Russian gas domination.
Practice shows that it is the tool of pressure that the Kremlin is trying to use in order to reach its political goals, violating the international law, and it is not a “fair play”.
With regard to Cyprus, due to a huge hydrocarbon reserves Cyprus can play a positive role in the near future to improve situation not only in the Mediterranean region but also on the European continent as a whole.
6. Turkey invaded in Cyprus in 1974 and since then is occupying the north part of Cyprus. In the same way Russia invaded in Crimea were a Russian Speaking population lives. Do you see any similarities?
The Cypriot people has survived a similar tragedy and suffering until now from the consequences of the Turkish occupation of the north part of Cyprus, therefore, in my opinion, the current situation in Ukraine is more understandable for the Cypriot Side than for any other country in the world.
In this context I would like to express once again our high appreciation of the constructive position of the Republic of Cyprus that supports Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, principles on which the Republic continues to fight its own struggle for a political settlement, which would reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
From our Side, we respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus and hopes for the soonest and just settlement of the Cyprus issue by political means in accordance with international law, key UN Security Council resolutions and EU principles. We believe that both sides will reach a joint decision to the final settlement, based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship. The Republic of Cyprus can count on Ukraine’s support in this matter.