Due to the efforts of Ukrainian militaries and diplomats as well as of international community, Ukraine had managed to achieve cessation of hostilities. Starting from October, 3 the withdrawal of weaponry is launched. The withdrawal is carried out according to the agreed schedule, in stages and under OSCE Special Monitoring Mission control. But the war is not over yet and the victory is still far away.
Unfortunately, not by its own free will today Ukraine is one of the areas of fight against terrorist threat. We strongly condemn terrorism and believe that the only possible way to address it is to unite in common and non-compromised fight against this evil. Ukraine’s fight against terrorism on its own soil already costed it more than 8.000 lives of Ukrainians of whom about 6.000 civilians died at the hands of the Russian backed terrorists and occupiers in Donbas. More than 1.5 million residents of Donbas were forced to flee their homes and became internally displaced persons moving to other safer regions in Ukraine.
Despite the events in Syria, Ukraine remains a key topic on the international agenda. These two issues should not be mixed. Violence could erupt again in the East of Ukraine. We do not believe, as many say, that Russia’s military presence in the Middle East will bring the end to the aggression against Ukraine, moreover – it will not bring anything good. Now, the Kremlin started a new game in Syria and of course this requires a lot of resources. We have evidence that some of the Russian military units seen in Syria were present in Ukraine before. This shows that Russians not only supported the separatists with money and weapons, but they were and still are present with regular troops in eastern Ukraine.
Russia's actions in Syria are a demonstration of the inability to act together with the international community. This unwillingness to cooperate regards to both Ukraine and Syria.
During these days when we celebrate the Day of Defender of Ukraine I must stress that truce has been achieved due to the Ukrainian army, which has become one of the most powerful and patriotic armies of the continent. But we do know that the enemy didn’t finish the war. Hybrid war is in full swing. It is somewhat a new reality, but we should stay on guard. We must not only return the Donbas, but also defend the entire Ukraine and when it will be safe it will become modern prosperous country.
It is clear that an independent democratic Ukraine anchored into the system of European values is a cornerstone to security and stability in Europe. As my President recently said – Ukraine is changing Europe, since Russian aggression against Ukraine has become a test for the Europeans – a test for solidarity, a test for unity, a test for freedom and democracy, adherence to common values and principles.
The most important massage of the European Union’s support and solidarity for Ukraine is the signing and ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Ukraine is doing its utmost to achieve European living standards and its decent place in common European family. For this purpose the President of Ukraine recently signed new program of reforms "Strategy – 2020" that contains more than 60 reforms. Among them the top priorities are the renewal of government, anti-corruption reform, judicial reform, decentralization and state governance reform, deregulation and development of entrepreneurship, reform of the law enforcement system, reform of the national security and defense system, health-care reform and tax reform. Also, two most urgent state programs were defined: energy independence and promotion of Ukraine in the world.
I would like to pay attention to the most necessary to my opinion reforms, the realization of which are the prerequisite to prosperous future of my nation. These are anti-corruption strategy and decentralization of power.
We are studying the best anti-corruption practices of international organizations and European countries and elaboration of recommendations for their implementation in Ukraine. We cannot count on being in the EU in case we fail to eliminate corruption. We intend to persistently struggle to purify Ukraine from this terrible disease.
The decentralization has become the most known and visible recent reform in Ukraine. The principle of transfer of power from the capital to the local authorities is one of the features of the European democracies. It is my firm belief that current challenges, decentralization is a way to prevent the spiral of separatism in Ukraine and will bring peace to Donbas by giving more freedom to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. It will also open doors to the recovery of the region. In order to do this we expect actions from the Russian Federation aimed at solving most of humanitarian issues, in particular ensuring activities and access of humanitarian organizations (i.e., International Committee of the Red Cross) to occupied territories of Donbas, visits to captives and conducting search of missing persons; releasing Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia, Ukrainian and international experts participating in projects of restoring infrastructure in Donbas must be granted free and unhindered access and work.
Only under those conditions and after local elections in Ukraine on October 25, if Ukraine will continue its path of economic reforms, the country could become a prosperous country, a country where local governments are competing to provide the best conditions for the people, businesses, investments, education and culture development, a country where graduates can find a well-paid job, a country where small and medium businesses have the ability to be created and grow, where deeper and broader tax system will enable the construction of new hospitals, roads and schools.
In this regard, we highly appreciate significant support of our European and other international partners, the assistance of IMF and other financial institutions. With the strong support of our foreign partners and having the truth on our side we will stay united and are condemned to win.