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Lately Ukraine became known in the world because of the war in its Eastern regions resulted by Russian aggression against my country. Not many people are aware that the history of Ukraine had known much hard time. Natural disasters, wars, social-political controversies and other troubles resulted in various crisis phenomena, among which - one of the most awful tragedies in its history – Holodomor (Great Famine) of 1932-33. Ukraine, which had always provided the bread to the whole world, had experienced mass artificial famine planned by the Bolsheviks in order to accelerate the forceful collectivization. It took lives of more than 10 million of Ukrainians and representatives of other nations that lived on Ukrainian territory.
The marking in November 2015 of the 82nd Anniversary of the Great Famine in Ukraine is not the only reason I draw the attention to this tragedy. It’s also because it’s another evidence of an attempt to exterminate Ukrainian nation. It was for the first time that Ukraine experienced artificial famine, mass cynical, purposeful and cruel murder of millions of her citizens. It took decades for the truth about this genocide deliberately perpetrated by Stalin’s regime on fertile Ukrainian land to make its way to the public. The Holodomor has been already recognized as crime and condemned by many countries and international organizations, regional governments and parliaments, municipal councils all over the world.
The date also coincides with the beginning of the Revolution of Dignity of November 2013 - February 2014, when the people of Ukraine, its best representatives, often by the cost of their lives, showed that Ukrainian nation, is a nation that want to live in a normal civil society, to build a real rule-of-law state, to be economically prosperous, safe and socially protected. It should be noted that despite all past tragedies and present difficulties in general we remain very optimistic about the future of our country. Overall dynamics of development of Ukrainian society and Ukrainian statehood demonstrate that we are on the right course and almost entire world understands and supports us. The most important confirmation of European support for us – Ukrainians – here in Cyprus was the ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU. By this act Cyprus not for the first time approved the right choice of Ukraine’s people that will benefit both EU and Ukraine in future.
It is clear for the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians, that’s why despite the existing problems we continue the course of reforms undertaken by the government in domestic and foreign policy aimed at European integration.
With regard to the recent local elections in Ukraine I would like to single out one of the most systemic and sincere reforms in Ukraine called decentralization. It aims at creating proper conditions for sustainable development of the country, implementing its European choice and developing the middle class. Local communities, elected on October 25, 2015 gain powers to decide what is more important for their development and the financial resources as they will keep major part of taxes at their disposal. Primary rationale behind Russian aggression against Ukraine consists in preventing Ukraine from undertaking reforms and building its European future rather than protecting interests of the people in Donbas. As a basis for other systemic reforms, decentralization of power is Moscow’s primary target in terms of disruption. Failure of decentralization reform may not be allowed. This scenario will automatically mean victory of Russia’s strategy and further stagnation of Ukraine’s development. We are committed to resume all economic ties with the temporarily occupied regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, to lift all restrictions and internal barriers on the way of persons and goods, but only under one condition – if international borders of Ukraine will be restored, as stipulated in the Minsk agreements. The same is valid for the Ukrainian Crimea that is now under Russian occupation. The issue of return of Crimea to Ukraine will be the high priority for Ukrainian Government until we reach the unity of our state.
However, to invest in infrastructure renewal is possible only when it is actually guaranteed that everything that will be restored today will not be destroyed by full-scale Russian invasion tomorrow.
We are the full-fledged state and like any other country, we will not allow any separatism, especially if it is feeding from outside and leading to the loss of territorial integrity. In a year, our country that have already get used to the reckless policy of absurd pacifism has created modern Armed Forces that have liberated the bigger part of Donbas from occupants. Volunteer battalions, volunteers, workers of the military-industrial complex, millions of patriotic Ukrainians and our heroic Armed Forces have ensured a true miracle. On the East of our country we have stopped the strongest army of the continent.