Ladies and Gentlemen, Participants of the Round Table!
(Address to the organizers, diplomatic corps, guests and participants of the round table)
First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Delegation of the European Commission to the Republic of Cyprus and personally to the Head of the Delegation, Mr Papadopoulos, for the support of the idea and the excellent work done on organizing this event, the leadership of the University of Nicosia for the hospitality and kindly consent to take part in the event and moderate the panel discussions of the round table.
I also want to thank the participants and guests for your interest in the round table devoted to the discussion of the issues in the context of the further development of the European Union's Eastern Partnership Initiative.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Achieving Euro-Atlantic and European standards is the main content of our domestic and foreign policy. EU Association Agreement is the key strategic outline for reforms, detailed by the Government Action Plan, Coalition Agreement, and Strategy for Sustainable Development “Ukraine-2020”.
Unfortunately as you all know now Ukraine is facing threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are experiencing brutal military intervention into our home affairs from Russia. For five years already Ukraine is being battleground of relatively new kind of war, the Hybrid war.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that these December days we mark the 5-th anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv. Protests originally erupted in November 2013 after Yanukovych refused to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union.
The process of European integration for many Ukrainians outlined not only the geo-strategic vector of its development but also the hope for a change in the “rules of game,” which would bring about the modernization of economic and political life.
After the Revolution of Dignity, caused by refusal of then pro-Russian corrupted leadership of Ukraine to follow European course of our country, Russia launched full-scale subversive war against Ukraine to destabilize the situation and divide Ukraine. This war became important part of geopolitical attack on Ukraine, which included illegal annexation of Crimea, fights in Eastern Ukraine as well as information and cyber war with use of strong Russian propaganda. Today, Russia continues the armed aggression against Ukraine by supplying weaponry, military personnel and ammunition to support Russian terrorist forces operating in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
Ukraine is committed to finding a diplomatic and peaceful solution to the crisis in its Eastern regions that would provide for full respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of my country. Ukrainian side demands full and immediate ceasefire and implementation of Minsk agreements by all signatories. We also call on the Russian Federation to restore full implementation of its international and bilateral obligations.
Ukraine will continue implementation of the Minsk agreements. We will do it despite the fact that the other side keeps violating its obligations. We should prevent yet another Russia-made protracted conflict and bring peace back to Donbas.
Our formula of peaceful settlement is simple: withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory, holding local elections in Donbas in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and OSCE standards, and reinstatement of Ukraine’s full control over the border with Russia.
In this context, I would like to emphasize the crucial importance of international support, especially the EU, which provides practical assistance to us in defending our national interests in the framework of respect for Ukrainian and international law. The Brussels's policy towards Ukraine is constructive, pragmatic and conducive to our reforms, and, therefore, to strengthen our sovereignty. An important element of this policy is the Eastern Partnership, which is dedicated today to this round table.
The main speaker on this issue will be my colleague from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Mr. Saienko, so I will not go into details. He will reveal this topic better. I just want to point out that the priorities of Ukraine within the framework of the Eastern Partnership are genuine differentiation;
- more active engagement of the EU in the settlement of conflicts and crises in the Eastern Partnership region;
- cooperation in the field of security, in particular in the field of combating hybrid threats, cyber-security, prevention of environmental disasters;
- reduction of tariffs for international roaming;
- the expansion of opportunities for youth in obtaining education at European level.
I would like to emphasize the importance of keeping the issue of Ukraine on the agenda of the EU despite the forthcoming elections in the European Union.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that during the last meeting on the Eastern Partnership held in Kyiv in November this year, representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the EU Member States, recognized Ukraine's leading role in the Eastern Partnership, noted Ukraine's progress in implementing reforms and effective introduction of visa-free regime. It is very important for today's realities that the meeting in Kyiv confirmed that the contacts between people, including through education, youth, cultural and scientific exchanges and mobility, bring together societies, arguing common European values.