During the participation in a special session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko emphasized that Ukraine would be a member of the EU and NATO.
The Head of State believes the victory in the war depends on our resolve, as well as on the unity and determination of our international coalition created in support of Ukraine. He noted the role of President of the European Council Donald Tusk in this issue. “Remember his words from this rostrum – there can be no safe and democratic Europe without Ukraine. These are the words of the leader of the European Union to the skeptics, some of whom are sitting in this hall, while some are saying on TV that Ukraine will never be admitted to the EU, will never be a member of NATO. My friends, I emphasize – it will be admitted,” the Head of State emphasized.
The President noted that nobody had paid such a high price for the European and Euro-Atlantic choice as Ukraine did. “Nobody has ever paid such great sacrifices for this choice. And we must always remember the irredeemable debt to our heroes. And this debt prompts us to do everything for their struggle not to be useless, so that nobody and nothing can bring us back to the chains of Moscow,” he stressed.
“The phrase is very popular now that the rubicon has been crossed – I emphasize that it will never be crossed. We must always fight for our civilized choice, for the return of Ukraine to the family of European nations. Just as Ukrainians have been struggling to remove the Moscow yoke from the Ukrainian church for 300 years, we must be ready for 300 years to prevent the return of the status of Ukraine as a colony of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. We will never allow it,” the Head of State added.
“The days of the anniversary of the shooting on Maidan, everyone understands that, are psychologically very difficult for each of us. For me personally these are days of bitter memories and painful experiences. These are the days of in-depth self-criticism and thorough analysis of the work done and not done. These are days of a meaningful work on mistakes and thorough contemplation of further steps. Of course, there are a lot of complaints that I accept. And I admit that too much mistakes were done. But the fact is after five difficult years, our government has not stepped back from the European and Euro-Atlantic strategy. We were consistent and nobody could turn us away from the chosen path,” the President emphasized. According to him, the elements of the strategy are the Association Agreement with the EU, including the free trade area, the visa-free regime, the transformation of the European Union into the most powerful trade partner of Ukraine, the gradual switch of the whole defense and security block to NATO standards.
“Before joining the EU and the North Atlantic Alliance, we still have – and we all clearly understand that – to cover a long path: overcome poverty, meet membership criteria, make our difficult homework. But I emphasize that today we have achieved an unprecedented rapprochement with Europe in our history. The President of the European Council has never delivered a speech in Ukrainian. Donald, Ukrainian language with European optimism lacked by some of our deputies,” the Head of State said.
In turn, President of the European Council Donald Tusk thanked Ukrainians for their resilience. “You have withstood at the heaviest moment of your history. You will remain proud and unbroken in spite of geopolitics, in spite of the evil intentions of the aggressive neighbor and in spite of the indifference and hypocrisy of many influential players in the world political scene. You have withstood, although your partners do not always help you as they should. I know this well. I know this, probably, as few others,” Donald Tusk emphasized. He added that from personal experience and experience of the Polish people, he knows well that the feeling of loneliness at times of danger can be worse than the onset of an enemy.
The President of the European Council noted that today, in the walls of the Ukrainian Parliament, he could repeat not only on his own behalf, but also on behalf of the whole EU: “We stand with you and we want to help you further”. He reminded the first words of the Association Agreement that the European Union recognizes the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomes its European choice. “I want to repeat that Europe will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and will not abolish sanctions until Russia fulfills its obligations. Also, the EU will not tolerate any act of violence in the Sea of Azov. I will do everything to ensure that the EU remains united on this issue,” Donald Tusk said.
The President of the European Council thanked for the courage of Ukrainians – the men from the Heavenly Hundred have entered the pantheon of not only Ukrainian, but also European heroes. “The lesson of courage you gave to the whole world in February 5 years ago has changed us all. Ukraine has shown that it’s worth being courageous and full of dignity. That good can overcome evil. That heroism can be something more than just a moral appeal. This can be the key to victory,” he said.
The President of the European Council also thanked Ukrainians for Europeanism. “Only the one who stands in solidarity with Ukraine has the right to be called a European. The one who is ready to sell Ukraine – sells the future of Europe. It is not a coincidence that often those politicians who question the European integration doubt the integrity of Ukraine. Tell me what you think about Ukraine and I will know what you think about Europe,” he said.
Donald Tusk reminded that when the Polish people began their journey to Europe, then Pope John Paul II told the world that “there is no fair Europe without independent Poland”. “Here and now I want to say that there is no fair Europe without independent Ukraine. There is no safe Europe without safe Ukraine. To put it simple, there is no Europe without Ukraine,” he stressed.
“Long live the memory of the heroes of your history. Long live solidary and united Europe. Long live independent and united Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine,” Donald Tusk said.
Photo by Mykola Lazarenko
— UA24 | NEWS (@UA24en) February 19, 2019