Friday, April 30, 2010

President makes instructions on improving legislation in accordance with PACE requirenments

In order to adapt the electoral legislation of Ukraine to European standards and with regard to conclusions of the Venice Commission, Government officials must prepare and submit to the President of Ukraine their proposals on making the necessary amendments to relevant laws of Ukraine and reasonability of their codification.

The President also instructed to apply the conclusions of the Venice Commission in the process of elaboration of judicial reform.

Besides, it is needed to finalized and submit to the Parliament draft law of Ukraine "On Reforming State and Municipal Media”, “On Protection of the Professional Activities of Journalists" and amendments to the law "On Information".

Another bill to be prepared in accordance with the Venice Commission's conclusions and recommendations of the PACE is a new version of the law "On Attorney’s Office".

The President also instructed to complete and submit to the Parliament the draft of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, and to develop and submit to the Verkhovna Rada the draft law "On Amendments to the Criminal-Executive Legislation of Ukraine” in order to make state penitentiary service a part of the judiciary system, establish the probation mechanism, and protect the rights of convicts and persons taken into custody in accordance with the European penitentiary rules.

He requested to elaborate and submit to him the draft laws “On Compensations to Victims of Violent Crimes”, "On Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Fighting Human Trafficking”, etc.

Among other instructions of the President were development and approval of a plan to reform public administration, preparation and submission to the Verkhovna Rada of amendments to the law "On Public Television and Radio”, refining and submitting to the Verkhovna Rada the draft law "On Ministries and Other Central Executive Authorities" and "Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences and Customs Code of Ukraine; assistance of the working group at the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Policy in drafting the law "On the Legal Profession" (new edition), providing elaboration and approval of the laws "On Amendments to Laws of Ukraine on Ensuring Transparency of Ownership of Media, "On the Security Service of Ukraine", "On free legal assistance", "Amendments to the law “On prevention of Illegal Incoms Laundering”, " On Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Illegal Incomes and Financing of Terrorism"

It is also necessary to finalize and submit to the Parliament the draft law "On the National Committee of Ukraine on Prevention of Torture”, “On Interception of Telecommunications", "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" and “On Returning Cult Purpose Property to Religious Organizations”.

Based on the recommendations of the PACE should be finalized and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada the draft law "On Access to Information”.

The draft law "On the Concept of the Ethnic Policy of Ukraine”, the new version of the law "On National Minorities in Ukraine” must also be prepared and submitted to the Parliament based on the conclusions of the Venice Commission and pursuant to the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities.

On each of his assignments the President has appointed deadlines and those responsible for their implementation.

President: Ukrainian-Belarusian relations are based on mutual trust and respect

"Resources of relations between Ukraine and Belarus are far from being exhausted and we build these relations on the principles of mutual trust, respect and beneficial partnership," said President Yanukovych. According to him, sides have reached the agreement on assistance from Belarus to Ukraine in overcoming the financial and economic recession.

Among the important issues discussed, President Yanukovych also named the cooperation between border regions of our countries. "We need to liberalize customs regulations, improve local border trade," he said. In addition, Viktor Yanukovych expressed hopes that Belarus will be a reliable partner of Ukraine in transit of goods to the Baltic countries. Ukraine, in turn, will facilitate access of Belarus to the Black Sea.

The most important question of humanitarian cooperation the President named celebration of the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. "With Belarus and Russia we have agreed to hold joint events, greet veterans, improve social security for them, because veterans are our heroes, who gifted victory to our land," said Viktor Yanukovych.

The President said he highly appreciates the results of his visit to Belarus. "We will be able to find mutually beneficial terms to complement the economies of our countries," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Alexander Lukashenko in turn said that today's talks demonstrated that the sides are able to resolve any issues successfully. "Today we identified strategic areas of cooperation, which will bring the relations between Ukraine and Belarus to a new level," he said. According to President Lukashenko, sides have great potential for energy, transport and transit, industrial, regional and border cooperation, as well as in protection of cultural heritage. "A broad agenda was prepared and I am sure that implementation of the agreements will contribute substantially into strengthening the sovereignty and independence of our countries," said Alexander Lukashenko.

Viktor Yanukovych, Alexander Lukashenko chair Ukrainian-Belarusian extended talks

During the bilateral meeting the President of Ukraine noted that he and his Belarusian colleague agreed not to waste time and quickly resolve issues concerning our relations. According to Viktor Yanukovych, this will open a new page in relations between Ukraine and Belarus.

The President also described the political situation in Ukraine, pointing out that now the government's actions are aimed at improvements in all spheres of life in the country. "Our plans are to overcome the crisis consequences most efficiently. And the program of development in Ukraine is mainly aimed at this," he said.

Viktor Yanukovych also noted that he had arrived in Belarus with the hope of further promotion of our relations in many directions. "We need and should solve a lot together," he believes. Among these issues the Head of State named the elaboration of cooperation roadmap between the two countries, deepening cooperation in mechanical engineering and resources processing.

Ukraine will also assist Belarus in the framework of its crude oil processing project.

From his part President Alexander Lukashenko noted that both countries now have an opportunity to significantly strengthen their positions in the region. "I hope that the period of inertia and stagnation in our relations has already gone," he said. President of Belarus hopes that today's meeting will be the basis for further good-neighborly relations. "In Belarus you will always have a reliable partner – people and state that will support you any time," he said.

Ukraine, Belarus sign bilateral documents

The documents were:

  • Joint Statement of President Viktor Yanukovych and President Alexander Lukashenko;
  • Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Belarus on cooperation in cultural heritage protection;
  • Programme of Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus for 2010-2013.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Olena Lukash: President's actions do and always will meet the Constitution

President: Ukrainian-Belarusian relations will always be friendly

"Our policy will be good neighborly, we will always conduct a transparent policy,” he said.

Among the common problems of the two states President Yanukovych named joint fighting consequences of the Chernobyl tragedy. He said he had visited the NPP recently and saw that there are still gaps to be filled in the program of making the Chernobyl NPP safe.

"There are many unresolved issues, such as lack of funding," said Viktor Yanukovych. He informed his Belarusian colleague on the initiative to hold a summit in 2011 dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and invited Alexander Lukashenko to take part in it.

"These are pressing issues and we must jointly initiate their consideration and resolve them," he said.

At the meeting Viktor Yanukovych also brought up the question of finalizing delimitation of Belarusian-Ukrainian border. He thanked Alexander Lukashenko for the Belarusian Parliament ratifying the demarcation agreement.

"We should discuss the issue of border interregional cooperation. The development of our interregional cooperation will surely boost trade. It also will help attract investment," said the President of Ukraine.

Besides, President Yanukovych praised efforts made by Belarus to harmonize its legislation with the European and country’s steps aimed at joining the Council of Europe. "I know that you're making consecutive steps to join the Council of Europe. Ukraine in this respect has advanced further, so I think our experience could be of interest for Belarus," he said.

In this regard he reminded that Ukraine next year will take presidency over the Council of Europe and "new opportunities may open in this context”.

The President also stressed that Ukraine is already adapting national legislation to European standards.

Another goal, important for both states, President Yanukovych named accessing the European markets.

From his part President Alexander Lukashenko said he was glad to welcome the President of Ukraine in Viktor Yanukovych’s ancestors homeland. He noted that back when he had visited Kyiv, sides agreed to hold a meeting to approve the agenda of bilateral relations between Ukraine and Belarus.

"The development of Ukrainian-Belarusian relations roadmap is the question that concerns the interests of our states and our peoples," said Alexander Lukashenko. He noted that the relations between the two states should aim at providing their peoples with worthy life conditions.

"So that we, as European states, did not differ from those European countries, which we are bordered by," said the President of Belarus.

Speaking about the issue of delimitation of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, Alexander Lukashenko said: "We have ratified the border agreement, so I think that now we should take the appropriate measures. The measures, which would show real intentions of Ukraine and Belarus.” He also expressed hope that the two Presidents would meet again soon, including at the border of the two countries.

Presidents of Ukraine and Belarus meet tete-a-tete

After the official welcoming ceremony the two Presidents began a tete-a-tete meeting that will be followed by Ukrainian-Belarusian expanded negotiations.

President's address to the Ukrainian people

I address you at a very special moment, when in order to start crucial reforms we as a nation must feel huge responsibility for the fate of the state.

I know my voters support the steps I made during the first 50 days in office of the President. In fulfilling my promises, I did everything to consolidate all branches of power.

For the first time in many years the Head of State and the Prime Minister don’t confront each other anymore.

A strong parliamentary coalition was created. The budget was adopted. Chaos ended, the country finally got a long-awaited stability.

In foreign policy I confirmed the course of European integration.

The talks held in Brussels affirmed that the European Union praised our determination to create join free trade area and introduce visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens.

The United Europe perceives our internal policy as the course aimed at fighting poverty, corruption, and providing high living standards for the Ukrainians.

After visiting Brussels, I went to Moscow to resolve the problem we inherited from our predecessors, to normalize relations with Russia and to renegotiate the crushing gas contracts that put the state on the brink of social and economic collapse.

After five years of making Russia an enemy, it wasn’t easy to restore Russian leadership’s confidence in Ukraine.

But I have managed to do it and today I am ready to report to my voters that now and on the dialogue with our large neighbor will be built on the principles of equality, good neighborliness and healthy pragmatism, without confrontation and anti-Russian rhetoric.

Did we pay too much for that? No, because the agreements, reached with Moscow, are mutually beneficial.

Documents, signed in Kharkiv, will provide a significant reduction of gas prices.

This means the increase of social security for every Ukrainian and the beginning of our economy coming out from deep crisis.

It also guarantees strengthening energy security of the whole European continent.

The whole civilized world praised results of my talks with President Medvedev.

In Washington, Brussels and all European capitals they are considered to be an undoubted success of Ukraine.

Only our opposition remained dissatisfied.

Why does it call you to barricades again, why does it undermine stability achieved for the first time in many years of endless wars between the country’s leadership?

The answer is – because it seeks to dissolve the parliament again in the name of the so-called political expediency, because it understands that stability, strong power, order and normalization of relations with Russia is its political end. Once again it hungers power at any price.

They need war. Recent developments in the walls of the Verkhovna Rada showed that the political opportunists are ready to throw smoke bombs not only in the parliament hall, but the whole Ukraine.

We need stability and development, ability to work normally, reforms and friendly relations with our neighbors. And we will achieve this, just as we could stand up to the opponents of changes for the better.

Soon you will see that we follow the right direction. I bear personal responsibility for it.

I promise you - Ukraine will be strong and prosperous.

We’ve already started moving toward this goal.

President inks 2010 Budget Bill

President goes with a working visit to Belarus

In Minsk President Yanukovych is scheduled to meet President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko tete-a-tete and conduct Ukrainian-Belarusian expanded talks.

The schedule also includes a working lunch on behalf of the President of Belarus in honor of the President of Ukraine.

Members of the Ukrainian delegation are: Chief of Presidential Staff Serhiy Lyovochkin, First Vice Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev, Vice Prime Minister Viktor Slauta, Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Environment Viktor Boyko, Economy Minister Vasyl Tsushko, Transport and Communication Minister Kostyantin Yefimenko, Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, Minister of Finance Fedir Yaroshenko, Minister of Culture Mykhaylo Kulynyak Chairman of State Border Guard Service Mykola Lytvyn.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

President: Ukraine and Russia should reach consensus on aircraft construction cooperation

"We conduct negotiations now. This is a process that should culminate in consensus," said the President during his visit to Antonov ASTC.

According to Viktor Yanukovych, it is very important to protect the interests of both Ukrainian and Russian sides during negotiations, and for the parties to demonstrate respect to each other. "Then we get synergy and shared benefit, and that’s what all need," concluded Viktor Yanukovych.

President visits Antonov ASTC

The President and those present were shown the experimental model of AN-158 and watched the two planes take off.

He thanked all those who contributed to developing and manufacturing of the new AN-158 and AN-148 and expressed confidence that these models will surely be popular with airways of different states of the world.

Viktor Yanukovych noted that in the development of the new aircrafts, 37 Ukrainian, 130 Russian and almost 30 other countries’ enterprises were involved. "Certainly, this program is economically beneficial, and it is the evidence that Ukraine is a highly developed country which has strong science, technology and capabilities," he said.

The President also informed that his talks with our partners, especially Russia, give great hope that Ukraine will step forward in aircraft building. "We must use our potential," he said.

The President expressed hope that testing of the new aircraft will be successful, adding that AN-158 has better specifications than its predecessor AN-148. "Today we already have a lot of orders for this aircraft, as well as for AN-148," said the President.

Viktor Yanukovych also said that he instructed the Cabinet together with Antonov ASTC to study the possibility of ordering the new aircraft by "Ukraine" Air Company, which provides flights of the President of Ukraine.

Viktor Yanukovych: We offer the country a new course based on political dialogue, social peace, new humanitarian policy, economic reforms and non-aligned policy

"My colleagues in the coalition and Government and I needed one month and a half after the presidential elections to fully consider the situation in the country and make first systematic decisions.

Today I am ready to provide a clear assessment of the situation in the country and report on the first qualitative results of our work.

After the presidential election we inherited a country in a terrible condition.

To quickly rescue it from the crisis, we must double our efforts.

These are not just good words, but the dynamics we need at all levels - from the President and Government to entrepreneurs and ordinary workers.

So, what kind of a country have we got? Political crisis lasted more than two years. Parliamentary coalition existed neither actually nor legally.

Government was subordinated neither to the Head of State nor to Parliament. Cabinet of Ministers served political ambitions of one faction and its leader. Not only Ukrainian citizens, but the world was tired of constant conflicts between Ukrainian authorities, of squabbling between the president and prime minister and of their uncoordinated actions.

Meanwhile, political pressure on economy was growing. Structural reforms have virtually stopped without having properly begun. All this has greatly deepened the crisis.

In 2009 the GDP dropped by 15% in Ukraine. This is significantly worse than in other former Soviet countries, including Russia and Belarus. Not to mention the neighbor - Poland, where there was no decline at all.

Industrial production fell by 22%. Construction has virtually stopped; its volumes have halved. Living standards have greatly fallen. Purchasing power almost halved comparing with living wage. The average Ukrainian wage fell to 240 dollars a month and is three times lower than in Russia. The construction of Euro 2012 objects was threatened by disruption. 50% of economy went into shadow.

Public finances have been driven to the disastrous state. The budget deficit reached hundreds of billions UAH. Budget base is destroyed; the tax burden has increased to the most in the last 10 years.

Public debt has tripled. This hasn’t happened in the history of Ukraine before. Government treasury account was almost empty.

Gold and foreign currency reserves of the country, estimated without the received IMF loans, decreased three times. Hryvnya has devaluated one and a half times during the year.

The government wasted billions from the Stabilization Fund and didn’t begin even a single infrastructure project. It is unclear where the funds Ukraine received under the Kyoto Protocol went.

The situation in finance and payment is a total decay. NJSC "Naftogaz of Ukraine" became a donor to the whole economy. As a result, the main energy company in Ukraine, main Ukrainian partner of "Gazprom" and operator responsible for the gas transport system of Ukraine, in fact, was brought into bankruptcy. How can we speak of any serious international gas agreements or protection of national interests in that situation?

Budget funds have been plundered under cynical slogans of social protection. Any given executive body revealed terrible theft and abuse. According to the Main Control and Revision Office of Ukraine, the losses reached tens of billions UAH.

The previous government promised to reduce Ukraine's dependence on imported energy resources. As the saying goes, everyone wanted the better, but it turned out the way they always get: Tymoshenko has clinched the worst possible gas deal with Russia. As a result Ukraine got the most expensive gas. And it actually killed our economy.

I want to tell the whole country that the gas price is the price our citizens pay for utilities services, it is an issue of survival for our industry, filling the budget, timely payment of pensions, jobs and wages. Finally, it is the issue of country’s survival.

Having the most expensive gas in Europe because of Tymoshenko’s government, Ukrainian goods had no chance at global markets. Thus, plants aren’t working, unemployment is rising, the budget is not being filled, pensions and wages are not rising. Instead, the prices for everything you need for life are constantly increasing.

That is why in order to rescue the country from the crisis we needed to reduce the gas price. The logic is quite simple: if the price for energy resources is reduced, competitiveness of Ukrainian goods at global markets will increase, industry will begin to work at full power, new jobs will be created, businesses will start paying taxes to the budget, and we will be able to finally begin fulfilling our social projects, raising pensions and wages.

The negotiations were very difficult. Gas price calculation, negotiated by previous government, satisfied only Russia, but not us. The Russians defended their own national interests. And I can understand their position. But I cannot understand what interests Tymoshenko defended when she concluded such an agreement.

We could not give away our gas transportation system. It was necessary to seek other ways. And we found the formula. We agreed to prolong the lease of our base in Crimea to Russia's Black Sea fleet in exchange for lower gas prices.

Thus, in next ten years Ukraine will get $40 billion. The money will start coming from this April. And during the ten-year period we will have $4 billion yearly. I emphasize once again that Ukraine saved $4 billion yearly that now will be an investment in our economy. It will provide conditions to revitalize our chemical, metallurgical and machine-building industry. It will also allow to keep the utility services tariffs as they are, which is especially important for me.

Today I look confidently to the future. Ukraine will be strong, independent and prosperous. In economics we have laid solid foundation for fighting the crisis and providing sustainable growth. In politics we have already overcome the crisis and created an effective, capable power. President, parliamentary coalition and Government work as a single mechanism without any conflicts or disputes.

Executive branch has almost been formed. We restored the trust and partnership with both Western and Eastern countries. Ukraine returned to the policy of peace, good neighborliness and national pragmatism.

To ensure effective implementation of the new course I established the Committee on Economic Reforms that is now completing elaboration of appropriate reforms program. The Working Group on judicial reform has almost prepared basic documents. The National Anti-Corruption Committee has begun its work, the results of which every citizen, entrepreneur and investor will feel soon. The newly established Public Humanitarian Council will be introduced next week.

We offer the country a new course, based on political dialogue, social peace, new humanitarian policy, economic reforms and neutrality.

I am deeply convinced that people will support this way because it’s aimed at solving the main task, which is to improve living standards for all Ukrainians. In our society there are high expectations for positive changes. I understand it very well. We will introduce these changes without shocks and losses.

I’m ready to answer any particular questions related to the situation in the country and our plans for the future."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

President Yanukovych's address to participanst PACE session

Dear Mr. Secretary General!

Dear Members of the Assembly!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have a really great honor to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the second time. Three years have passed since I first visited Strasbourg.

Over the years a lot has changed in Ukraine, Europe and the world. However, European values, which the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly - the political conscience of Europe - profess and defend, remain unchanged. As you know, communicating with consciences is not always easy and pleasant, but always very necessary and useful.

It would not be exaggeration to say that it is impossible to fully feel the modern spirit high humanistic traditions of Europe without visiting the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Soon we will celebrate 65 years since the end of World War II. The Council of Europe from the beginning its existence has been the institution aimed at overcoming the consequences of - without exaggeration - the worst crisis of civilization in human history. The development of modern system of international human rights protection was the reaction to the unprecedented violence of that war. Democracy and rule of law, human rights and suppression of hostility between peoples and nations have become reliable foundation for building a new Europe largely due to efforts of the Council of Europe.

Achieving greater unity among countries of the continent and counteraction to the emergence of new dividing lines remain relevant tasks today. Common goals, common values and generally accepted standards are the main prerequisite for ensuring stability on the continent. In this context it is difficult to overestimate the role of the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly in shaping common European humanitarian space and creating coherent set of standards in protection of human rights.

Thus, the first 60 years of your institutions are the indisputable history of success. Will we be able to maintain and develop this success in the future? To defend the unique European identity in the globalized world?

I am convinced that preventing violation of human rights has become one of the key strategic priorities of the XXI century at national, regional and global level.

These and other issues were covered in detail in the interesting and informative report on the future of the Council of Europe, prepared by the Political Committee connection with the 60th anniversary of the organization. I like to briefly focus your attention on the 63rd paragraph of the report, which warns against attempts to use the high authority of the Assembly in attempts to achieve narrow party or national political purposes, pressure on a state, government, parliament or political party.

In general, it is very important that high and justified ambitions regarding the role and place of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly in the future architecture of Europe were properly backed up by political will of the member states and appropriate financial resources.

Let us be honest – it is far easier to participate in the general discussion of problems. Yet, it is much harder to stand up for high European ideals and fulfill obligations on the daily basis.

As for Ukraine, I would like to emphasize from this high rostrum that we will finally fulfill our obligations before the Council of Europe before the beginning of our presidency over the organization in May 2011. The new political team will be personally taking part in the activities of the Council of Europe and bear personal responsibility for the implementation of scheduled activities.

In general, there is a consensus between Ukrainian political parties regarding the need for fruitful interaction with the Council of Europe - something extremely rare and therefore very valuable.

It is a significant result of our collaboration that presidential election of 2010 was recognized democratic and fair by the international community.

The main question, I am sure all are interested in learning the answer to – has Ukraine entered a new phase or will the political deja-vu, we are all tired of, continue.

When much was said about strengthening the rights, but responsibility was forgotten.

When significant progress in strengthening freedoms was made, but nobody thought of the liabilities.

As the result we could see a unique Ukrainian political phenomenon: the authorities were in opposition to themselves.

Similar processes were going on in the Verkhovna Rada, where the vast majority of effective voting was possible only with participation of the real opposition, i.e. the Party of Regions.

I am telling you this not to criticize my predecessors, but for you to have the opportunity to better understand the point where we have started.

How to correct this situation and what has been done? First, we must further strengthen the democracy. This will be my absolute priority.

There is no doubt that pluralistic democracy has already established in Ukraine. This, in particular, is evidenced by the fact that in the last three election campaigns the opposition won. I would like to add with pleasure that it was the political force led by me.

Whoever wins in the following elections, either the government or the opposition, it is important that the victory was won in a fair and open competition, based on the power of ideas and cogency of the results, rather than on the administrative pressure or questionable machinations.

 I very much hope for the media assistance. It is free, independent media, who must ensure unimpeded access of the society to information, promote genuine discussion on the development of the country and carefully supervise actions of the government.

Unfortunately, obstruction of journalists, attempts of their intimidation and physical pressure on them still happen in our country. This is absolutely unacceptable. As President, I will guarantee freedom of the media and appropriate investigation of any facts of their oppression. More specifically, I have already given appropriate strict instructions to law enforcement officers regarding the investigation of each of the unfortunate situations that had occurred.

Strict observance of fundamental rights and freedoms will remains constantly under my personal supervision, in order to ensure equal opportunities for all. Regardless of gender, nationality or religion. There can be no compromise. We must self-critically acknowledge that we yet have things to work on. We cannot stay satisfied, in particular, with the representation of women on leading positions in the state.

Personally, I am surprised with this situation. In key areas of activity of my administration we have slightly corrected this situation and women are working on these responsible positions. They are competent professionals, experienced managers and real personalities. I am confident that this positive tendency will soon spread. I will be promoting this.

I hope for fruitful cooperation and your support in these and other issues. Specifically, in the issue of Ukrainian citizens’ free travel in Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Implementation of major reforms and further strengthening of democracy in Ukraine is impossible without political stability. Finally, after all the years of independence we have managed for a short time to build a responsible and controllable chain of executive power. I can confidently say that current government team in Ukraine - the President, the Government and the Parliamentary Coalition – work consistently and effectively. Thus, we have created basic preconditions necessary for conducting domestic reforms aimed at reaching European standards in all areas of life.

First of all, it is guaranteeing the rule of law. That is not possible without eradicating corruption or implementing a comprehensive judicial reform.

The situation sometimes reaches absurd. I recently cited a flashy example, when one of the judges has held her birthday party with expensive fireworks and inviting foreign rock stars, easily spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for that.

Therefore, our ambitious goal is to elevate the justice system in Ukraine to the norms and standards of the Council of Europe. Both in terms of form and content. Important beacons here are the conclusions of the Venice Commission, in particular, on strengthening the judicial self-government.

We will positively eliminate the practice of pressure upon judicial institutions and interference into their work by all branches of government. To this end, I soon will use my right for legislative initiative and submit to the Parliament as urgent, the corresponding package of bills.

Another important step is to intensify the fight against corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Committee under my chairmanship has worked out a package of anticorruption bills that will be made active immediately upon receiving the conclusions of the Venice Commission and GRECO experts.

Establishment of the rule of law in Ukraine will undoubtedly be reinforced by improvement of the electoral legislation, which we will be doing not in the middle of an election campaign, but already now, when the election is over.

Finally, we are now at the final stage of developing program documents on reforming public administration and increasing the role of local governments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is possible that some in this hall and probably in Ukraine are not sure whether I am really committed to major reforms, or just saying "the right" things to win people.

I would like to say the following. I was elected President to act, not to dream. So I certainly will act. I carefully think through everything that I promise, and if promise something, I always do it.

And another fundamentally important thing. I have already spoken on this subject and would like to repeat: I resist double standards. There is no position for export, and another for domestic consumption. There is only one truth, just like there is only one language that we speak in capitals of the world – the language of Ukrainian national interests.

How I see these national interests in foreign policy?

First of all, it is pragmatic understanding of the existing realities; abandoning the ideological and reality-irrelevant schemes and unnecessary confrontation; focusing to the maximum on practical results.

Finally, restoring the reputation of Ukraine as a reliable and predictable partner.

Therefore, while maintaining the value orientations, we will make certain adjustments to our foreign policy.

At the same time, in the area of security, we proceed from the notion that the non-aligned policy meets both our national interests and strengthens international confidence the best.

As to relations with Russia. I am often asked this question.

Are the distrust and suspicion that occasionally arise within the country and abroad about n Russian-Ukrainian relations justified? In particular, the heat of emotions about the signing of Kharkiv agreements on April 21?

You know that today the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has ratified this agreement and there are no tensions about this in Ukraine; there have never been any in the society. They are warmed up by some political forces. These are implications of the five-year political war in Ukraine. But I am sure that pragmatism will win. And it won today. Meanwhile, the budget was adopted and Ukraine.

So I would like to emphasize: the relations with Russia we see as new opportunities, rather than old risks. They have value for us in themselves, but cannot determine the nature and depth of our relationship with others.

My principled stance is well known. I stand for comprehensive strategic development of mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia in all areas. The cooperation, from which will benefit the peoples of Ukraine and Russia, but also both Europe and the world. And this cooperation by definition cannot be directed against others.

This is the idea we were guided by when looking for complicated compromises on the most pressing issues for both sides.

I will not make extensive comments on the gas situation. I would just like to say one thing: the price, which had been negotiated by the Tymoshenko’s Cabinet to be active for next 10 years, was unacceptable for Ukraine. It meant death to Ukrainian companies, and they were becoming uncompetitive. This price was the highest in Europe. So we just wanted to renegotiate fair, I would say, correct prices for Ukraine. And we found this opportunity in our joint decision with Russia.

We are now at the final stage of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and hope that in May, the new 2-2,5-year agreement will be signed. This will of course be no easy period for us, because Ukraine inherited the ruined economy from the past government. The GDP has fallen 15%, the industrial production decreased 22%. And the budget deficit in Ukraine is no less than that in Greece.

So we certainly must look for different solutions, and I well understand that these decisions should be looked for, above all, inside Ukraine itself. But our search for partners and their support is always transparent and so it will be in the future.

If our relations with strategic partners continue to follow the scenario that we have identified during our first talks in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington, I believe we will achieve that balance of relations Ukraine is searching for in this triangle.

At the end of my speech I would like to repeat that my firm intention is to ensure the continued, strong partnership with the European Union, Russia and the United States. We will broaden the scope of democracy in Ukraine in all areas of cooperation in various fields.

By reforming the economy, judicial system and the Constitution we will prove our commitment to European values, favor investment and establishment of mutually beneficial cooperation with European partners. We will be doing this simultaneously with restoring our relations with other countries.

These objectives do not contradict each other. Strong Ukraine is beneficial for all: Europe, Russia, and the world. Democratic Ukraine means good for the world. And most importantly, it will serve the welfare of the people of Ukraine.

 Dear Mr. President, all present!

I hope that trying to talk out, I did not run out of your patience. I thank you and am ready to answer your questions. 

Meeting of Public Humanitarian Council (accreditation info)

For accreditation please call: 255-78-44, 255-74-02.

The accreditation will end at 17.30, April 27.

Viktor Yanukovych: Nothing unexpected happened today in Verkhovna Rada

President meets PACE President

"We appreciate the opportunity to have our vote in the Parliamentary Assembly. Ukraine undertook commitments to the organization and will try to fulfill them before the beginning of our presidency over the organization in May 2011”, he said.

According to him, Europe’s support of Ukraine’s aspirations to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, establish free trade area and introduce visa free travel is extremely important for us in the process of European integration.

"Ukraine is the integral part of united Europe. We would like to take a rightful place among the democratic European countries. I see great prospects in deepening cooperation between Ukraine and the Council of Europe," said Viktor Yanukovych. He also emphasized that appreciates the opportunity to participate in the session.

From his part President Çavuşoğlu congratulated President Yanukovych on his election. He said that as the PACE President he strongly supports implementation of system reforms, the Ukrainian leader has started in the country.

"I hope that Ukraine will fulfill its commitments to the Council of Europe. We are ready to assist Ukraine in reaching European standards," he said.

President arrives in Strasbourg

At the international airport of Strasbourg President Yanukovych was officially welcomed by representatives of the Council of Europe and Ukrainian diplomatic mission in France.

Upon arrival Viktor Yanukovych left for the Palace of Europe, where he met with PACE President Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Council of Europe Paul Widmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland and other Council of Europe members.

Ukrainian President and PACE President started their meeting after Viktor Yanukovych signed the Honorary Guest Book of the Council of Europe.

President goes to Strasbourg

President Yanukovych meets Prime Minister Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Azarov of Ukraine

Monday, April 26, 2010

President conducts NSDC meeting

"The situation, the Armed Forces are currently in, is extremely difficult," said Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the President, the most noticeable impact of the global economic crisis was on the Ukrainian military. "There are many problems with equipment and functioning of the Armed Forces. They have actually become critical and put the military on the verge of collapse," said President Yanukovych.

"I believe that putting the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the path of sustainable development is our common task and it requires first of all a consolidated solution, and then, long and hard work. National Security Council should take supervision over planning of the process and its implementation," he said.

"It is necessary to determine the immediate measures to stop further deterioration of the capabilities of the Ukrainian army, to preserve its human resources, to ensure proper execution of national defense tasks and Ukraine’s compliance with international obligations," added Viktor Yanukovych.

Another block of questions discussed at the meeting was dedicated to further development of the Armed Forces and providing this development’s planning.

Besides, participants of the meeting have discussed issues of social protection of servicemen and their families.

President sure all conflict issues should be resolved democratically

"I spoke with Zaporizhzhya Mayor and deputies of the City Council. We have reached a common view that public referendum is needed on the issue. Let the inhabitants of Zaporizhzhya themselves decide in a democratic way whether there is a place for a bust of Stalin on their land,” he said.

President meets EBRD President

President: financing of social protection to Chernobyl disaster victims should be fully restored

President acquaints with decommissioning of Chernobyl NPP

The President visited the liquid and solid radioactive waste processing complex and toured the construction of liquid radioactive waste processing plant.

Also Viktor Yanukovych took part in the commissioning of solid radioactive waste processing plant.

President honors Chernobyl Disaster Liquidators

th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster President Viktor Yanukovych laid flowers to the Memorial to Liquidators of Chernobyl Disaster near the north gate of the Chernobyl NPP.

Other participants of the event were Minister for Emergencies Nestor Shufrych, Chairman of Kyiv Regional State Administration Anatoliy Prisyazhnyuk and Managing Director of SSE "Chernobyl NPP" Ihor Gramotkin.

President Yanukovych also briefly talked to the station staff. He emphasized that the primary objective of the government now is to ensure successful continuation the Shelter Implementation Plan for similar disasters never to happen in the future.

The President particularly thanked Chernobyl NPP staff for their work.

Viktor Yanukovych, also announced his intention to discuss at his today's meeting with the Director of the EBRD in Ukraine, the issue of funding the Shelter Plan. He said that current gap in financing is around 400 million Euros.

The President also announced that next year, to the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy, he would initiate an international summit on the subject. "At the event we will gather all financial donors, our partners in Shelter Implementation Plan,” said Viktor Yanukovych, reminding that he had announced this initiative during his visit to Washington.

According to the President, preparation for the event has actually started. The situation around construction of the Shelter will be considered in the nearest future, particularly the work of contractors.

President's address on the occasion of Chernobyl Disaster Day

Dear compatriots!

Since then, that has been the day of mourning for victims of the Chernobyl disaster and the day of warning for responsible use of peaceful atom. We all remember and mourn heroes of different nationalities, who sacrificed their lives for the future of civilization.

May their bright memory live forever. They will always remain in our hearts.

Perhaps the fact that Ukraine was the first to feel and realized the dangers of peaceful atom, was one of the motivations for our country to be the first in the world to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons. We have recently also shown the example to the whole world by making the decision to give up leftovers our highly enriched uranium stocks.

Whether we like it or not, Ukraine's energy future is impossible without nuclear power. But we want it to be peaceful and safe, given the lessons of Chernobyl, for which we paid a very high price. There are still more than two million people suffering from harmful effects of radiation exposure, of which 498 thousand are children.

One says that time eases the pain and recently we have been treating the Chernobyl disaster victims very habitually. Their support due to inflation and other processes is becoming more and more symbolic. But we'll change that. Our economy will be gradually recovering and we will find the financial resources to optimize social protection to Chernobyl disaster victims.

As the President of Ukraine, I appeal to all fellow countrymen to unite efforts to overcome the leftover consequences of the disaster. Let the coordinated work, the best human qualities and the character of Ukrainians weathered with the years of overcoming the consequences of Chernobyl disaster, continue to be grounds for quality changes and prosperity of our Homeland.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

President: 2010 draft budget provides raising salaries and pensions

"I promised to raise pensions and salaries, and we foreseen this in the budget. It will happen," he said.

Viktor Yanukovych also said that recently Ukrainian economy has started growing. "The economy has begun to grow, and will be growing further. We will bring order to the economy, and to life, and everything will be fine. We just should wait a little, not all at once will happen," he said.

The President also spoke for leaving more funds to local budgets for development, but noted that implementation of such initiative would take time.

"You know the condition we received the country in. So you understand that before we give, we must earn," said President Yanukovych.

President visits museum 'Battle for Kyiv in 1943'

The President came to the museum together with pupils and tutors of ‘Lyubystok’ orphanage, he had visited earlier today, and with veterans of the Great Patriotic War.

Within the framework of All-Ukrainian Beautification Day, Viktor Yanukovych took part in planting an alley of oaks and lindens.

During the visit to the museum, President Yanukovych also talked with veterans of the Great Patriotic War. They told Viktor Yanukovych  about their times at the front and their present life.

President visits 'Lyubystok' orphanage in Kyiv region

There are 39 orphaned children being raised at the orphanage with the funds coming from regional budget.

The President talked to each of the children personally, asked them about their life and if there is something needed.

Speaking to the children, the President advised them: "In life, you should always keep your head up”.

Then, together with two foster children, Viktor Yanukovych, planted an apple tree. There was also an alley of thujas planted near the orphanage by foster children and their tutors in the framework of All-Ukrainian Beatification Day initiated by the President.

Speaking to the director of ‘Lyubystok’ orphanage, President Yanukovych asked about the construction of the playground for foster children, and gave some recommendations on it adding: "When the construction is over, pleas invite me.”

He promised to visit them again to the foster children too. And having learned from them that they love playing football, Viktor Yanukovych said: "Once the playground is built, I will come and play with you. Just invite me more and I will come." He also wished the children: "Have dreams and achieve your goals”.

The President gave presents to the orphanage: a TV-set, sportswear and footwear.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Viktor Yanukovych invited all willing (and such were almost all pupils of the orphanage) to visit with him the National Museum "Battle for Kyiv in 1943" and talk with veterans of the Great Patriotic War.

Olena Lukash: President observed all regulations when signing the agreement on Black Sea Fleet with Russia

This agreement had been previously processed by the appropriate ministries and, after the appropriate discussion, approved at the meeting of the Government.

Given that under current legislation of Ukraine the above agreement is subject to ratification, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted to the President of Ukraine the appropriate draft law. Having considered the draft law, the President of Ukraine in compliance with the required procedure submitted it to the Parliament with a full package of supplementary documents.

Thus, the President of Ukraine has absolutely clearly met all legislative requirements and procedural rules that must precede the approval of this agreement by the Parliament.

That is why on Tuesday, simultaneously with their Russian counterparts, Ukrainian deputies will ratify the Agreement on the deployment of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine, after which it becomes effective.

Therefore, all legislative procedures required for entry into force of the above agreement were performed in full without exception, in contrast to, for example, the infamous "Letter of the Three" to NATO, which was signed and then filed by the previous government in secret from the Ukrainian people.

Now all the actions are open to the public and fully meet the requirements of the Constitution of Ukraine, Rules of the Verkhovne Rada and Law of Ukraine "On international treaties".

Friday, April 23, 2010

President meets Chairman of Constitutional Court of Russia

"It is always a good thing to share experience and information. We welcome this,” he said.

Viktor Yanukovych also said that the new Ukrainian government is actively working for respect towards the Constitution to become the norm in society.

"Both people and officials must respect the Constitution. This respect should be at the highest level," he said.

From his part, Valery Zorkin said that Russia places hopes in the new Ukrainian government of restoring the traditionally good-neighborly relations with Ukraine.

 "Constitutional Courts of our two countries are also working in this direction," he said.

President meets HRH The Duke of York

"This liaison of the President, Cabinet and parliamentary coalition has already begun working," said President Yanukovych explaining that thus political stability in the state is being restored.

Among the most important tasks for state authorities Viktor Yanukovych named improving the difficult situation in the economy as soon as possible, adding that this would be unachievable without reforms.

The President also said that government has started systematic work on tackling corruption. "We have established the Anti-Corruption Committee. It has already prepared a number of bills to be coordinated with the Venice Commission," he said.

"Today, professionals have come to power. We will begin to improve social situation and by the end of the year lay a solid foundation for continuing the work in 2011. This is our main target," he said.

"Currently we are developing the strategy of Ukraine’s development until 2020, and, most likely, by the end of 2010 it will be prepared and approved," said Viktor Yanukovych, adding that consideration of the concept of reforms is planned for May for it to be implemented staring from the second half of the year.

"In the budget we have foreseen programs that will allow us to do that. We will announce them and implement them", said the President of Ukraine.

From his part, Prince Andrew expressed his confidence that the program of reforms elaborated by the Ukrainian authorities will not only be well thought out, but ready for immediate implementation. "I am so inspired by what you told me about the plans of the country for the future, that I will appeal to British business community to do more for Ukraine,” he said.

Prince Andrew also stressed that he would be delighted to provide personal support to plans of reforms in Ukraine. He also drew attention to the potential of Ukraine in agriculture and aerospace industry.

President meets European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy

President Yanukovych stressed that despite the difficult situation, current government managed to approach final stage of elaboration of the budget.

Viktor Yanukovych has informed Stefan Füle about the agreements signed yesterday in Kharkiv during his meeting with the President of Russia.

"You probably know about the agreement we reached with Dmitry Medvedev. It allows to reduce the budget deficit and balance the budget of Naftogaz Ukraine, which, among other things will allow Naftogaz to start repaying debts to its creditors," said Viktor Yanukovych, adding that improvement of the situation adds optimism.

"In this situation, our Committee for Economic Reforms will be working more confidently and already this year we will make the first steps toward economic reforms in Ukraine," said the President.

He also expressed hope that soon sides will manage to conclude negotiations on a number of issues in relations between Ukraine and the EU.

"Of course, we hope that this year we will agree on establishment of a free trade area with the EU, get a roadmap for visa-free travel between Ukraine and the EU countries. And of course we will work hard to make the Association Agreement with the EU possible already this year,” said Viktor Yanukovych, adding that now our country continues active work on harmonizing Ukrainian legislation with the European.

From his part Stefan Füle noted that deployment of other states’ military bases at the territory of Ukraine belongs to its sovereign competence.

According to Commissioner Füle, making the decision on prolonging deployment of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine is the "right of Ukraine as a sovereign state."

Stefan Füle also said that the Commission plans to provide technical assistance to Ukraine in carrying out reforms being developed by the Committee for Economic Reform, established by the President.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New gas agreements will allow keeping gas price to citizens at previous level - President

"Today, when Ukraine's economy is in such a difficult situation, this decision will enable us to essentially help our economy. And it will give us the opportunity not to raise tariffs for gas and other utilities this year," he said.

According to him, the reached agreements also open the opportunity to Ukraine to significantly stabilize the prices for most consumer goods.

In addition, the Head of State emphasized, the agreements would contribute to "ensuring economic growth and competitiveness of industries with high energy consumption."

Naftogaz must be saved and we will do it - President

President criticized attitude of previous government towards Naftogaz. "Naftogaz Ukraine", which by its nature cannot be unprofitable, was made such. Initially, the company was transformed into a donor for the whole economy and was brought to near bankruptcy", he said. He reminded that last year Naftogaz accumulated 70 billion UAH of debt, which was almost equal to its last year’s income (about 100 billion.)

If the gas price for Ukraine remained at the previous level, Viktor Yanukovych said, the Naftogaz budget deficit would be about 40 billion UAH. In such situation one could not speak about reaching major international gas agreements or protection of national interests.

Now, said the President, Naftogaz Ukraine must be rescued. "This is our national achievement, and if we lose it, it will have consequences. But we will not allow that. We will save Naftogaz Ukraine and by the end of this year it will be 100% balanced," he said.

Ukraine has returned to policy of peace an national pragmatism - President

"We completed formation of executive power branch. Now we are working to restore trust and partnership relations with our neighbors both in the west and the east. Ukraine returned to the policy of peace, good neighborliness and national pragmatism," said the Head of State.

The President reminded that in order to restore and effectively implement this course, he established the Committee on Economic Reforms currently elaborating relevant program, the working group on judicial reform and the National Anti-Corruption Committee. According to Viktor Yanukovych, in the nearest future the newly created humanitarian public council will start its work.

"We offer a new course to the country, which is based on political dialogue, social peace, new humanitarian policy, economic reforms and neutrality," he said.

The President is convicted that society will support this course, "because it is aimed at solving the main problem which is improvement of life standards and building a strong state respected in the world".

President Yanukovych stressed that he realizes that now citizens expect a lot and he will do his best to justify their expectations.

"I will do everything possible to introduce these changes without shocks and losses," he said.

President: Current government would never give up Ukraine's gas transit system

"We were never up to that and would never allow such thing to happen," emphasized Viktor Yanukovych.

He also said it is necessary to modernize Ukraine’s gas transit system in order to increase transit of gas through Ukraine. According to him, this project is separated into three stages.

The second stage includes modernization of the existing transit system: replacement of the old equipment with new, more economical, thus, increasing the transit by 20-25 billion cubic meters.

In the final stage of modernization, new lines will be built in addition to those existing, allowing further increase of transit.

"We offer this as an alternative to construction of the South Stream, for the construction of the North Stream is already going on. So now we are looking for an opportunity to negotiate Ukraine at least keeping the transit amounts, current transit system is capable of," summarized President Yanukovych.

President: Corruption threatens national security and constitutional order

In his speech the President stressed that fighting corruption in Ukraine remains the main nationwide problem. "This is the issue that directly affects the interests of every citizen and has been a "national headache"," he said.

Viktor Yanukovych is convinced that both social-economic and political reforms depend on successful solution of this problem.

"Chronic corruption has already become an ordinary part of our life," he said, reminding that Ukraine has a worldwide reputation of "an extremely corrupt country", reflected in our consistently low ratings in the influential international studies.

The President said the statistics of violations involving corruption are often distorted meaning that real work to expose corruption offenses, including the ones committed by senior officials, is substituted with bringing up cases against only minor officers.

The President named fiscal system among the most corrupt ones in Ukraine. "It’s a well known fact that the most common pattern of plundering budgetary resources is VAT refunding, however, no decisive steps to eliminate it have been taken yet. And everyone pretends that nothing is happening, and no wonder, since it’s convenient," he said.

President Yanukovych also said the State Reserve is being plundered, criticized manipulations with budgetary funds and driving most state monopolies into near bankruptcy. In this context, Viktor Yanukovych reminded the situation with Naftogaz Ukraine. "Its bankruptcy is unnatural altogether. It is a profitable organization. But why do we see losses instead? I am awaiting a response from the Prosecutor General and law enforcement bodies and demand to immediately bring perpetrators to justice according to the law," stressed the President.

Viktor Yanukovych also called bribery an acute problem. He reminded that last year law enforcement officers exposed over two thousand cases of bribery, but the courts convicted only 690 persons. "I expect the Interior Ministry, Security Service and Prosecutor General’s Office to essentially strengthen their work in this regard," he said.

According to the Head of State, the Interior Ministry and Security Service are also to open "phone hotlines" for citizens to report corruption and bribery. "It is crucial to establish a system of immediate and qualified response to such signals," said President Yanukovych.

President Yanukovych dedicated special attention to combating corruption in the courts.

He reminded that the National Anti-Corruption Committee received a package of bills on fighting corruption from the Ministry of Justice. "This package sets the basic principles of combating corruption and defines strategic objectives in this area," he said.

After today's meeting Viktor Yanukovych intends to sign a decree summarizing the meeting’s results and providing public authorities with immediate tasks on combating corruption, he said. The Head of State stressed the importance of establishing a public body to supervise this work.

Viktor Yanukovych also said it is crucial to get regular objective analytic updates on combating corruption in the state. "Based on this information 2010-2012 national strategy of preventing and combating corruption must be prepared," said the President, adding that the existing legislative framework also needs to be improved in order to expand law enforcement bodies’ authority in combating corruption.

"Among the urgent issues currently remain achieving objectivity and transparency of state authorities’ decision-making, efficiency of state and municipal property management, wise use of budgetary funds and so on. Leading role in this process should be given to the public," said the President.

"Fighting corruption is a vital issue for the whole society, as now this phenomenon really threatens national security and constitutional order in Ukraine," summed up President Yanukovych.

From his part, Executive Secretary of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych said: "The fight against corruption in Ukraine should focus on eliminating the causes of corruption phenomena." He believes that all administrative officials should be motivated properly so that entrepreneurs or citizens in general just wouldn’t be pushed to solve their issues through bribing particular official, judge, etc.

"Obviously, we should start with modifying provisions of the Ukrainian legislation," said the minister. According to him, these are, for example the order of hiring citizens to law enforcement bodies, public services, the positions of judges and their further promotion – "to prevent the motivation to get back the money once spent on obtaining the appropriate status and opportunities to decide the fate of others."

"We dedicated attention to those positions which either substantially limited the rights of Ukrainian citizens, or created additional motivation for corruption within law enforcement bodies," said Minister Lavrynovych, referring to the suggestions considered at today's meeting.

In his turn, the head of contact group of Transparency International in Ukraine Oleksiy Khmara supported the idea of enlargement of the national anti-corruption committee by engaging experts from the public – both Ukrainian and foreign, that could assist in this process.

"The question of preventing corruption doesn’t only concern prosecution of corruptionists but also the creation of mechanisms to halt corruption," he said.

President grieves over grave consequences of yesterday's car accident with State Affairs Department ambulance

The President of Ukraine ordered to provide the family of the accident’s victim with all necessary help.

He also instructed the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Oleksandr Medvedko to take investigation of the case under personal supervision and ensure its rapidness and objectivity.

For the duration of the investigation commander of road police regiment Valeriy Komyshnyi was suspended from his duties.

President's statement on Ukrainian-Russian meeting in Kharkiv

The fact once again confirms continuity of our declared pursuit of normalization of relations with the Russian Federation.

Kharkiv meeting, just like the previous ones, was rich and productive.

Today we held important talks with Dmitry Medvedev on a broad range of issues on Ukrainian-Russian agenda. We have talked over political cooperation, the economy and humanitarian issues.

We dedicated special attention to the meeting with governors of border regions of Ukraine and Russia, the interregional cooperation between our countries.

I think that cooperation in this field has great importance for the whole complex of relations between Ukraine and Russia.

Our border regions represent the potential that can significantly strengthen our relationship producing benefits for both sides.

To achieve this goal we are yet to perform a number of tasks. And we are ready to do just that.

Only few days left before we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory.

In this regard, Dmitry Medvedev and I could not avoid dedicating some time to discussing celebration of this date, important for our peoples.

In general, I consider today's meeting to be important event for the development of Ukrainian-Russian bilateral cooperation; the concrete proof of our mutual interest in further strengthening and expanding multifaceted relations between our countries.

During the negotiations we have reached understanding on the question of lowering the gas price.

You know well, what a gas contract we have inherited from our predecessors. That price was unbearable for Ukraine.

As the result of today's agreement, in next 10 years Ukraine will save about $40 billion. And that means about $4 billion yearly.

We have agreed that each year the gas price for Ukraine will be discounted. If the purchase price at the border is more than $333, we will have a $ 100 rebate per thousand cubic meters starting from April. Otherwise, if the price drops below $333, we will anyway have 30% discount, fixed in the agreement.

Thus, Ukraine has secured its interests and made itself independent on fluctuations of prices at global markets. Such conditions give us, figuratively speaking, ten years of respite to prepare the country for the global prices.

Meanwhile, we will modernize our energy system, prepare the grounds for developing alternative energy sources, their diversification, revitalize the economy, conduct structural reforms and build a solid foundation for economic growth.

Today I can confidently say that we have reached agreements that will allow me to implement the program I ran with in the presidential election. The result of these negotiations, simply saying, will have positive effect on the wallet of every citizen of our country, and will allow boosting development of enterprises, housing and so on.

In the complex of issues we have also discussed conditions of deployment of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. Ukraine is undoubtedly interested in Russia investing into development of the city – construction of roads and housing, including for low-income citizens, into modernization of communal infrastructure and other areas, which are now in decay.

Today we have agreed on the possibility to prolong deployment of Russian Navy in Crimea for another 25 years under condition that Russia invests into development of the peninsula. In this time we must make Crimea a popular health resort, which can easily compete with the best resorts in the world in terms of both comfort and price.

Our next meeting with Dmitry Medvedev is scheduled on May 8 in Moscow within the framework of CIS Summit.

And, of course, on May 17, we look forward to welcome Dmitry Medvedev in Ukraine with the official visit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Viktor Yanukovych: We have opened a new page in relations between Ukraine and Russia

"We made, as we had promised, next step in this direction – we opened a new page in relations between Ukraine and Russia. We signed important agreements for our countries, agreements that are important for the economy and our citizens", said Viktor Yanukovych at the press conference held after the signing ceremony.

The President called decision made on the gas issue unprecedented. He also noted that the gas issue solution is undoubtedly very important and urgent. "On the price of gas depend competitiveness of our enterprises and economy as a whole", emphasized Viktor Yanukovych.

The President stressed the importance of the fact that the Russian side in this matter agreed to the suggestions of the Ukrainian side and a relevant decision was shortly made.

"In next ten years Ukraine will get real investment resources of about 40 billion dollars, provided by Russia", stressed the President, adding that these funds will start coming in April.

He also said that a share of received funds will be spent to address social needs of Ukrainian citizens, realization of investment projects, financing and modernization of the Armed Forces. Furthermore, according to the Head of State, the program of energy saving technologies’ implementation should be actively developed and launched during next ten years.

"We struggled to adopt today’s decisions. They are of special nature given difficult economic situation in Ukraine and Russia", said the President, expressing belief that in difficult times good neighbors always come to help each other.

Ukraine speeded up solution of such an important issue for Russia, as deployment of the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine. According to the President, the issue was also considered in the context of providing support to the system of collective European security.

Viktor Yanukovych also said that today an important meeting on preparation of Dmitry Medvedev’s  official visit to Ukraine was held, during which our countries are planning to make a number of important steps towards each other.

During the meeting of governors of Ukrainian and Russian border regions sides have agreed to hold an economic forum this autumn in Krasnodar Krai, and another – in 2011 in Donetsk region.

"This is a new stage in development of our traditionally friendly relations between Ukrainian and Russian peoples", said the President.

Ukraine, Russia sign bilateral documents

Also in the presence of the two Presidents Russia’s Gazprom Board Chairman Alexey Miller and Chairman of Naftogaz of Ukraine Yevhen Bakulin have signed amendments to the contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine on gas trade for 2009-2019 and amendments to the contract between Naftogaz Ukraine and Gazprom on the volumes and conditions of gas transit through Ukraine for 2009-2019.

Yanukovych and Medvedev chair Ukrainian-Russian talks

"Interregional and border cooperation now requires separate projects that would be approved at the intergovernmental level", said the President of Ukraine at the beginning of the talks.

Viktor Yanukovych has also drawn particular attention to environmental problems.

The President suggested that relevant bilateral commissions considered all these issues by 17 May so they could be referred to during President Medvedev’s official visit to Ukraine and concrete decisions could be approached. "I would like your visit to be constructive", said Viktor Yanukovych.

From his part Dmitry Medvedev noted that today’s event was long awaited. "Such form of communication is necessary", he said. According to the Russian President, conditions of business operation, infrastructure and customs procedures are among the issues requiring resolution between the two countries.

President Medvedev supported President Yanukovych’s idea to consider these issues during his May visit to Ukraine.

The Russian President also suggested continuing the cooperation between our countries in humanitarian and environmental sectors.

"There should be no pauses in the process and it should be the subject of central authorities’ constant attention”, he said.

President Yanukovych meets President Medvedev tete-a-tete

Welcoming the guest, the President said he was glad to see him in Kharkiv, which once was the capital of Ukraine and has been traditional meeting point for governors of border regions of the two states. "I think we need to restore this tradition", said Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the President, he and his Russian counterpart were to discuss issues of inter-regional cooperation. "Today we will summarize quite difficult negotiations that we were conducting recently and related to overcoming the crisis in the economy, putting relations between Ukraine and Russia on a long-term strategic common ground", said Viktor Yanukovych.

"We have big plans and must take the first steps", he said.

The last five years have been challenging for the Ukrainian-Russian relations and were marked by cooling between the two countries, said Viktor Yanukovych. "We could never imagine such thing happening in our history", he added, noting that this situation does not correspond with the mood of citizens of Ukraine and Russia.

"People want us to build the traditionally friendly relations that have always brought our peoples to success," he said.

The President separately emphasized the significant mutual integration of the economies of our countries. "So, we must use the existing opportunities to obtain economic benefit", he said.

Viktor Yanukovych expressed confidence that relations between our countries will develop in all areas. "Today we make a serious step towards strengthening relations between Ukraine and Russia", he said.

From his part Dmitry Medvedev said: "We should fill in the gaps that emerged in the last five years, to turn our relations from ordinary into real partnership”.

Russian President also expressed his belief that his current working visit to Ukraine in this context is certainly very important.

President visits construction of new terminal at Kharkiv International Airport

That includes construction of a new 2500-meter runway, emergency station and air-traffic control tower, building and reconstruction of the apron, as well as installation of approach lighting system.

The new terminal will increase passenger turnout up to 2550 persons per hour. The project will enable the Kharkiv airport to accept such aircrafts as Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

President comes with working visit to Kharkiv

President’s schedule for the visit to Kharkiv includes visiting construction of a new terminal at Kharkiv International Airport.

Their talks President Yanukovych and President Medvedev will conduct at Kharkiv Regional Administration. After the talks the two Presidents will sign several bilateral documents.

Later Presidents of Ukraine and Russia will make a statement for the media.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Viktor Yanukovych stresses importance of media freedom in Ukraine

“I consider it unacceptable. And I’m emphasizing once again that being the President of Ukraine I will always defend media freedom, the journalists and do everything possible to ensure transparency of power and openness of its actions to the press and society.

Due to the above-mentioned cases of disrespect for media freedom, I have decided to hold the soonest possible discussion with journalists from all over Ukraine and to meet the press representatives for an open and sincere talk about life on April 22.

I hope that our dialogue will provide an opportunity to build relationships between the branches of power and the fourth power, which media certainly is, on the basis of partnership and common interest. And we all share the same interest which is the wellbeing for our country and its citizens", said President Yanukovych in his interview to "Interfax Ukraine" on April 20.

President meets with Interior Minister

President Yanukovych repeated that he is concerned about the disbanding of the human rights protection department at the ministry and said it should be restored.

Minister Mohylyov informed that pursuant to the instructions of the President of Ukraine he engaged the renowned human rights activist Eduard Bagirov in the MIA board. He also said that Eduard Bagirov was made chairman of a public council for human rights being now created at the Ministry.

Such councils, he said, chaired by prominent human rights activists, would be established in all regional centers and large cities of Ukraine and would perform a broad range of tasks in monitoring human rights protection.

President Yanukovych said that in the future he intends to meet with human rights defenders and discuss with them protection of human rights in Ukraine.

 "We must do everything to protect the rights of citizens and democratic principles in our country", said Viktor Yanukovych.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Presidents of Ukraine, Russia to discuss countries' cooperation in Kharkiv

At the meeting sides are to discuss cooperation aircraft building, current issues of border and interregional cooperation,n gas agreements and conditions of deployment of the Russian fleet in Crimea.

At the meeting the two Presidents will also discuss preparation for a joint celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory.

Viktor Yanukovych meets with Joschka Fischer

Viktor Yanukovych and Joschka Fischer discussed Ukrainian President’s recent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, held in Washington during the Nuclear Security Summit.

"We have excellent ties that we have never lost because Germany is a reliable partner for Ukraine, the country that has invested the most into the economy of our country", he said.

Joschka Fischer stressed the importance of strengthening bilateral relations between our countries. He said it was an honor for him to meet the Ukrainian President and thanked for Ukraine's accession to the nonproliferation of nuclear materials program.

"I would like to convey my sincere appreciation of the wise decision you made at Washington Nuclear Security Summit. It was a balanced decision sending a signal to the whole world", he said.

President condoles with India

President to regional and district governors: I would like you to approach your tasks systematically

Thursday, April 15, 2010

President meets Slovak Foreign Minister

th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Viktor Yanukovych noted that Ukraine intends to continue developing intensive political dialogue with the Slovak Republic. The important step in this direction would be official visit of President of Slovakia Ivan Gasparovic to Ukraine.

"I will be extremely happy to welcome President Gasparovic in Ukraine and about the opportunity to discuss perspectives and plans of our cooperation", said Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukraine's President also emphasized the need for intensification of Ukrainian-Slovak trade and economic cooperation. "Despite the negative impact of global crisis, we have all the prerequisites to soon surpass the pre-downturn level", said President Yanukovych.

Speaking of European integration, Viktor Yanukovych noted that it remains a key priority for Ukraine. The main tasks for the near future, according to the President, are signature of the Association Agreement including the introduction of a free trade area, as well as the adoption of road map for visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens to the EU.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic expressed his country's readiness to develop its relations with Ukraine, which Slovakia would like to see "reliable and predictable”.

Joint Statement by President Obama and President Yanukovych

Text of the statement at

President: Regional governors should rely on investment, rather than budget

President: Future harvest depends on our actions now

President meets heads of regional administrations

"The long interruption in the development of regions that has lasted a few years, is now over", he said opening the meeting.

President Yanukovych listed a number of important regional issues. The first of these was increasing agricultural production. Viktor Yanukovych assured that this year farmers could state support in purchasing fuel lubricants and fertilizers.

He also said it is necessary to establish municipal funds and provide municipal loans for regional development.

Moreover, Viktor Yanukovych gave instructions on preparation for Euro 2012. Particular attention he drew to problems in Kyiv and Lviv.

"We must already now start preparations for the new heating season”, said Viktor Yanukovych adding that strict coordination of authorities is very important to address the problem adequately. “Everything should be happening in strict accordance with the plan. We must show concrete results”, he added.

Among other issues brought up at the meeting were power supply, payments for gas consumption, introduction of new technologies in municipal sector, etc.. The discussion of problems requiring urgent attention was brief and specific, providing clear conclusions and concrete recommendations.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Working group on judicial reform meets at Presidential Administration

Participants of the meeting discussed issues in selection of candidates for a judge office, early dismissal of judges and executive chairmen of courts, etc..

In addition, participants of meeting pointed to the need to shorten the term for filling a vacant post of judge. Currently, the term between the opening of a vacancy and actual start of a new judge’s work may be up to two years.

President condoles with China

President: Highly enriched Uranium will be transported from Ukraine gradually

The President also said that the Ukrainian side intends to closely cooperate in this matter with other countries, particularly Russia and the U.S..

"We will be working on the process of creation of a system that will significantly enhance security in the world and in Ukraine", he said.

President Yanukovych meets World Bank President Zoellick

President meets UN Secretary-General

At the beginning of the meeting the UN Secretary-General praised Ukraine holding democratic presidential election.

The President said that currently our country, like many others, is looking for opportunities to effectively overcome the impact of financial and economic recession. According to him, the essential precondition for that would be unity of power in Ukraine.

The President also emphasized importance of the Nuclear Security Summit, and Ukraine’s participation in it given the use of nuclear power plants.

"We are looking for an opportunity to shift to new technologies of low-enriched uranium utilization at our NPPs", he said.

UN Secretary-General agreed with the importance of Ukraine’s participation in the summit, because Ukraine has the necessary experience in questions at the agenda and can share it.

At the meeting the President said it is necessary to appeal to donor countries to resume cooperation within the framework of "Shelter" construction at Chernobyl NPP. He said he intended to meet Director General of the IAEA Yukiya Amano and discussed the subject of Chernobyl NPP with him.

"Addressing this issue is important in the scope of the upcoming 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy and preparations to the 25th anniversary" – said Viktor Yanukovych.

The President also suggested holding an international conference with Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

The President invited the UN Secretary-General to visit Ukraine. Ban Ki-moon replied that he would surely avail himself of the invitation.

President: Washington Summit's subject concerns more than 47 participating states

At the meeting President Medvedev said that Russia is ready to discuss new Ukrainian proposals about gas prices and offered to consider this issue at the level of core departments of the two countries.

This subject is very important for Ukraine. Despite the fact that we currently have signed agreements, the matter must be reviewed and processed at the level of core departments of both countries, he said.

"In the scope of what we have discussed during your recent private visit to Moscow, in order to implement those proposals that we have discussed, I believe it is reasonable to "synchronize watches” and initiate additional actions by the ministries and departments", said President Medvedev, addressing his Ukrainian colleague.

Viktor Yanukovych said that the issue of price for Russian gas occupies Ukraine. He also noted that there are many issues that have accumulated over the years - not only the last five, but before. They must be addressed.

Dmitry Medvedev, in turn, drew attention to the fact that the leaders of Russia and Ukraine recently have been meeting very often.

"As promised to our citizens, we meet often. This fact inspires me. Particularly because there was a time when I practically was not seeing the leadership of Ukraine at all", said President Medvedev, adding that the rate of current cooperation of Ukraine and Russia “corresponds with the interest of our countries and peoples”. He acknowledged that a lot of problems have accumulated in the bilateral relations but there are also many constructive ideas.

At the trilateral meeting President Yanukovych expressed hope that Russia would support Ukraine’s initiative on getting rid of highly enriched uranium.

"We hope that you will support us by accepting the enriched uranium and processing it", he said, affirming that proposals previously discussed with the President of Russia are accepted by Ukraine.

Viktor Yanukovych also stressed the importance of participation of Ukraine and Russia in nuclear safety projects:

"The subject of the Summit taking place in Washington, I am convinced, now unites more than these 47 participating countries. It concerns the whole world … so naturally the participation of our countries – both Ukraine, and Russia – is very important, because we are the neighbors”.
In this context President Yanukovych emphasized the undeniable importance of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit and said that currently the idea of establishing a relevant international tribunal is being discussed.

"New decisions are elaborated, including the establishment of an international tribunal", he said and explained that such steps are response to the challenges of the times.

"We have common positions and common concerns about what is happening in the world in that sphere as well as shared desire to give an adequate response to that", he said.

At the meeting sides also discussed preparation to the Ukrainian-Russian Interstate Commission meeting to be chaired by the Presidents of the two states.

Viktor Yanukovych and Dmitry Medvedev agreed that before the May meeting a specific plan should be elaborated to accelerate the work of respective departments.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

President takes part in morning plenary meeting of Nuclear Security Summit

Before the meeting themed "National activities on securing nuclear materials and prevention of their illegal proliferation” Heads of States that arrived to the summit took part in the official photographing ceremony and talked informally to U.S. President Barack Obama.

President Yanukovych meets German Chancellor Merkel

President: talks with the IMF were fruitful

"We had fruitful talks today with the mission of the International Monetary Fund. It was decided to prepare a letter on behalf of Ukraine jointly with the IMF to resume work. We have defined the term for that, it should be no more than two weeks", said President Yanukovych.

According to him, the parties agreed that the letter will be considered promptly and by the worked procedure.

"Here we speak not only about the program for 2010, but also the program for 2011", he said.

Viktor Yanukovych also said that the draft state budget provides reduction of budget deficit to 6%, but this will not happen through social benefits reduction.

The President once again repeated that the social standards law would be implemented in Ukraine. Instead, the reduction of budget deficit will, in particular, be achieved through optimizing the costs.

President: Ukraine ready to take part in anti-terrorism programs

President anticipates boost in Ukrainian-Chinese relations

Making comments on results of his meeting with Hu Jintao, Viktor Yanukovych said: "Together we have decided to resume and intensify the political dialogue between Ukraine and China”.

According to the President, the appropriate reciprocal visits would be held soon at the level of Heads of States, Governments and Parliaments. Sides also plan to facilitate intensification of contacts between businessmen of Ukraine and China.

In addition, the interstate commissions would soon work out proposals to cooperation between the two countries, namely on increasing turnover.

President takes part in reception opening Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

President meets Chinese Leader

President lays flowers to Taras Shevchenko monument in Washington

After the ceremony President Yanukovych talked briefly to representatives of Ukrainian community in the U.S.

When asked about the future of Ukraine, the President expressed confidence that our state will be developing successfully. "We will overcome the recession, consolidate the society and strengthen the state. We will conduct the policy of defending its national interests", he said.

The representatives of Ukrainian community in the U.S. wished President Yanukovych success in implementing the constructive ideas of state building he has. They also called on Viktor Yanukovych to invite more young professionals to the process, who want to contribute to the development of Ukraine and assist in implementing effective reforms.

The President also handed over gifts to the Ukrainian community.

Presidents of Ukraine and USA affirm shared values of the two states

President: Ukraine will overcome economic recession successfully

"The political foundations for that are laid; they allow us to implement the plan that the society had supported at presidential election", he said.

Already now, the President said, Ukraine is perceived in the world as a trustworthy partner. This is evidenced by the growth in world rankings occurring lately.

According to Viktor Yanukovych’s forecast, in 2010 Ukraine's economy could grow by 3-6%. In the next 10 years Ukraine needs 70 billion dollars to modernize the economy, he said. He also stressed the importance of elaborating a social-economic development plan for Ukraine until 2020.

The President expressed hope that the state budget will be approved in April.

He, moreover, stressed that Ukraine is ready to create favorable conditions for investors. "We will establish an Investment Agency and municipal agencies that would work on relevant regional programs”, he said.

"This year we expect to get 10 billion UAH from privatization", said Viktor Yanukovych. In his opinion, among the promising items for investors could be "Ukrtelecom", Luhansk Locomotive works, thermal energy enterprises, etc. In this context, the President emphasized the importance of "absolutely transparent" procedure of privatization.

The President pointed to Ukraine’s particular interest in attracting investment to infrastructural projects, such as development of transport sector and reforms in energy sector.

Viktor Yanukovych said that Ukraine has joined international nuclear materials nonproliferation movement and decided to abandon utilization of highly enriched uranium in domestic nuclear reactors, shifting to use of low-enriched uranium instead.

At the meeting the President of Ukraine also answered questions of the American businessmen and told them about results of his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Telling about the preparations for hosting Euro 2012 finals in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych expressed assurance that the event will be held at a decent level. "I believe that Euro 2012 will happen and four cities in Ukraine and Poland each will welcome fans from around the world. I am expecting that with pleasure. As a fan, as President I will do everything for our guests to feel the Ukrainian hospitality", he said.

According to the President, now Ukraine continues the work on creating the right conditions for the championship and motivating national team to play decently.

Answering the questions on VAT refunds, President Yanukovych stressed that the Government has a task to ensure the administration of this tax without interference of state officials.

President Yanukovych and President Obama deepen Ukrainian-American ties

President Yanukovych supports President Obama's efforts to strengthen global nuclear security

President Yanukovych meets with President Obama

Monday, April 12, 2010

President meets with IMF Managing Director

The IMF Managing Director met the President of Ukraine in the lobby of the IMF headquarters. After the official photographing ceremony Viktor Yanukovych Dominique Strauss-Kahn went to the office where the meeting will be held. At the meeting sides are to discuss restoration of cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF.

President goes to U.S.

President validates NSDC's resolution of April 9

President establishes Council of Regions

President to make working visit to U.S.

President declares April 12 a day of mourning for Polish presidential jet crash victims

The President of Ukraine has announced that during his visit to the Polish embassy in Kyiv, where he came to commemorate the victims.

President grieves over victims of Polish presidential jet crash

President appoints Pustovoitenko, Bubka as Presidential Advisors

President meets Russia's Foreign Minister

Friday, April 9, 2010

President Yanukovych meets UEFA President Michel Platini

"I understand that being a functionary at such a level is no easy thing. So I am ready to work for you to have no problems in Ukraine. Moreover, it is my duty to do everything for Ukraine to look decent. Euro 2012 is a matter of honor and dignity for Ukraine, it is definitely a step towards integration into the European Union. This event arouses great interest in the Ukrainian society, not even mentioning football fans”.

"I am confident that our cooperation with you will give us a positive result. This task we have set, and we will perform it. I will be working on Euro 2012 questions so that each of them will be under my personal supervision", he said.

Viktor Yanukovych also said: "I well understand that you have had many problems while working with Ukraine. Personally, I criticized actions of the former government not because at that time I was in opposition, but because it was really painful for me to watch us loosing time. So, being a former racer, I believe that now we must shift the highest gear and win the curves".

"I think that is the purpose you came to Ukraine with. I'm glad to see you and your team. I hope we will enjoy our cooperation and see its results in 2012", said President Yanukovych. 

President meets Foreign Minister of Sweden

During the meeting President said: “In a short time we managed to create a clear line of government. Today the Constitutional Court announced its decision, recognizing constitutionality of the coalition in the Parliament. So now I can confidently say that Ukraine has the effective and cohesive government team. And this chain - the President, the Government and the Parliamentary Coalition - will operate effectively”.

"My key priorities are reduction of public spending, strict optimization of spending for state machinery and decisive anti-corruption measures. This will be reflected in the budget, which is at final stage of its development.

It is not an easy task, given the critical state, which we have inherited. Our main principles are realism, thrift and investment and innovative model of development. We expect that this approach will allow quick resumption of cooperation with the IMF ", stressed Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the President, "one of the most important priorities is abandoning manual control of the economy. The state's role in the economy will be reduced, the number of regulatory mechanisms will be limited”.

The President is convinced that "main factor in sustainable economic development is the restoration of investors’ confidence, fighting corruption, reforming pricing and taxation system, ensuring the rule of law”.

According to Viktor Yanukovych, the new government's foreign policy "will be pragmatic, based on the principles of good neighborliness and mutual benefit”.

"We guarantee the stability and predictability of our policy. We have a worked out action program with the EU, which provides establishment of a free trade area before the end of this year and introduction of visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens.

Another priority of our dialogue with the EU is energy security. We guarantee uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to consumer countries and promote transparent and unconditional abidance by all obligations, taking into account the interests of all parties. There will be no more gas crises.

Now we are working to restore a high level of trust with our strategic partner Russia. We are confident that it will improve the overall climate of relations between East and West and at the European continent in general", said Viktor Yanukovych.

"While reforming our economy we will pursue achieving European standards. We see the way we can realize integrating to Europe to be like that. We are ready to approach the EU with the speed the EU is ready for", summarized Viktor Yanukovych and thanked Sweden for support in Ukraine’s integration into the EU.

"Between our two countries have established really good and continuous bilateral relations that have different aspects" said Foreign Minister Bildt.

He also stressed that Ukraine and Sweden have good opportunities to expand cooperation, particularly in investment.

"In my opinion, with the success of reforms in Ukraine, with economic development the interest of Swedish investors, and investors from other countries will be growing", said Carl Bildt.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden also believes that the priority task for Ukraine is restoring cooperation with the IMF.

"This is a key to your sustainable development and reforms. The talks on association agreement and free trade zone are important as well. Last year, during Sweden's Presidency over the EU, we worked in this direction, but unfortunately did not manage to do everything planned. But under the stability that currently prevailing in Ukraine, we hope that progress in this direction will be reached", said Carl Bildt.