Monday, May 31, 2010

President holds meeting of Working Group on Judiciary Reform

Opening the meeting President Yanukovych said that the draft bill is aimed at making judiciary more open to people and ensuring that it is more professional and defends human rights better.

From his part, Minister Lavrynovych said that at last the long work on preparation of the bill is complete. "Today we are to consider results of our common work on the new Law on Judiciary of Ukraine, which also contains a package of alterations to other laws. In particular, these are alterations to all four procedural codes, the laws “On the High Council of Justice”, “On Remuneration of Labor” and several others that are relevant to the new law on judiciary," he said.

Speaking about main tasks and objectives of this reform, Oleksandr Lavrynovych said that it must improve access of citizens to the judiciary. According to him, this could be achieved without altering the system of first instance courts, which according to procedural code, have the authority to consider cases of different jurisdiction. “These are cases, primarily in the field of administrative justice, that until now were considered only in specialized district courts," he said.

"Our suggestions, we present today, are to be reflected in all procedural codes and in the law itself. They apply to the time in which complaints are to be considered, reducing it to 30 days, and also provide abandoning the practice, when cases were submitted for a new trial in a first instance court, if the appellate court canceled the decision. Similarly, we propose banning re-cassation in Ukraine. Thus, we make substantial steps to ensure that judicial decisions are adopted within reasonable time and are constant," said Minister Lavrynovych.

"We had a long debate about what the judicial system should be like and our final decision was a compromise that allows significant improvement of the system without major changes in the system of first instance or appellate courts.

The changes modify only the system of third instance courts and by creating one high specialized court, which would consider civil and criminal cases as a cassation court, we make the whole system equal – the first instance, appellate level and High Cessation Court all work in all jurisdictions. At the same time, the Supreme Court, as judicial body of the highest authority, has all the powers to ensure unity of judicial practice," said Oleksandr Lavrynovych.

President meets Head of Board of Ilyich Steel & Iron Works

Volodymyr Boyko informed the Head of State on current situation at the plant. According to the company manager, there is a "colossal raid" being made on the enterprise, which started back in former government’s times and has lasted for a year. On behalf of the company’s staff he addressed the President with a request to help in investigation of the situation.

"I informed the President on the situation at the plant, which is very complicated," said the General Director.

Volodymyr Boyko once again denied allegations about him selling the company. "I have never sold anything and I’m not doing it at the moment... Now, I think, both the President and the Government will take a number of measures to protect the staff and to fight this raider attack," he said.

According to the company manager, in this situation, first of all we must dot all the i’s and the raiders should be brought to justice. "Next, we will merge with some other company, because otherwise Ilyich Steel & Iron Works, which does not have its own resource base, will simply die. We must find someone to merge with, because we won’t be able to survive in this harsh time," said Volodymyr Boyko.

According to him, as the metallurgical complex of Ukraine remains in a critical situation, the enterprise has difficulties with orders.

President takes part in international conference "Euro 2012: long-term opportunities for investment in hotels and leisure industry in Ukraine"

Friday, May 28, 2010

President conducts meeting of European Integration Committee

Opening the meeting, President Yanukovych stressed that he expects those present to first of all discuss possibilities of concluding negotiations and signing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union already in 2010 as well as introduction of visa free travel for Ukrainian citizens.

He also said that Ukraine must be prepared to consider the action plan for liberalization of visa regulations, now being prepared by the European Commission and expected to be approved in June. Although signing the Association Agreement is clearly a strategic step for Ukraine, said President Yanukovych, the introduction of visa-free travel remains very important for practical development of our relations with the EU.

"Given that European integration remains a priority of our foreign policy, we must today outline effective measures to complete negotiations on signature of the Association Agreement with the EU," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Particularly, he said, all the aspects of European integration must be reflected in the new law on foundations of foreign and internal policy of Ukraine, to be introduced to the Parliament soon.

In recent years, said President Yanukovych, there were many loud but mostly empty statements on the subject of European integration of Ukraine. Now, the government aims to fill declarations with practical meaning.

The President said that before the next Ukraine - EU Summit, scheduled for October 15, Ukraine must complete the work in all areas. In particular, it is necessary to adopt alterations to laws and regulations. "We must have specific answers at the Summit," he said.

"The Association Agreement is a test for both Ukraine and for Europe. Therefore, we must show our professional approach to this issue. For Europe, of course, demonstrating its attitude, its sense of partnership and lack of double standards is also very important," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Viktor Yanukovych holds phone talks with Jose Manuel Barroso

President meets representatives of Council of Russian Compatriots

Representatives of the Council stressed that the decisions made by the current President of Ukraine, are perceived positively by them and communities in the countries they represent.

They also presented President Yanukovych with Council’s honorary award for his contribution into development of cooperation with Russia.

The President also stressed that "we will not allow rewriting the history to please the politicians, no matter how complicated it is.” He stressed that nobody will encourage veterans of the Great Patriotic War to reconciliation, for it is their right to make such a choice.

Representatives of the International Council of Russian Compatriots thanked the President for the meeting and wished him success, endurance and patience in the future.

President: Main task I put before central authorities is to increase wages

"I will do everything to ensure that people in Lviv region, Ternopil region or in any other western region lived no worse than the whole Ukraine," he said in the interview to journalists in Lviv.

Viktor Yanukovych noted that the average salary in the Lviv region, for eample, is about 1200 UAH, while the average salary in Ukraine is about 2400 UAH.

"There must be no such differences," said President Yanukovych, adding that "the main task that I now put before the central and regional authorities is to significantly increase wages.”

President: Our country not ready to join NATO, but we must develop our partnership

"If we speak about membership in NATO, today it is impossible for our country. According to NATO standards, we must have positive opinion of overwhelming majority of the people," stressed President Yanukovych adding that it is well understood in NATO itself. “So for now we envision our relationship as partnership. Ukraine cannot go some other way because it is a large state and it must cooperate with such bloc as NATO,” – he said.

According to Viktor Yanukovych, there is a new bill on the foundations of domestic and foreign policy of Ukraine is being prepared now, which would correspond with the mood of the majority of citizens. "We will be conducting the policy that suits the Ukrainian people," said the President.

Viktor Yanukovych once again repeated that Ukraine will be conducting an open policy of non-aligned state. He also said that our country will be taking active part in collective security system in Europe.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

President Yanukovych: we live in democratic society and must take that into account

"Overall, I see that people in Lviv are very positive about our meeting with you and about our work. We understand well that the handful of people, who have gathered here, were ordered by some politicians. But we are living in a democratic society and must take this into account in our work," he said.

President initiates holding 2022 Winter Olympics in Ukrainian Carpathians

"If we are to step up with the initiative, we must start working on the official nomination of our country to hold Winter Olympic Games in the Carpathians," said Viktor Yanukovych.

In this context, President Yanukovych pointed to the need for further effective development of tourism infrastructure in Bukovyna and creating proper motivations for that. He noted that there is still time before 2022 and although much is done, there is still more to do.

President visits construction of Lviv football stadium

Vice Premier for Euro 2012 Borys Kolesnikov told President Yanukovych about the construction. According to him, currently there are no serious problems in the process. The installation of reinforced concrete structures is slightly delayed, but the question is already being resolved.

Lviv stadium is special because unlike those in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kyiv, it is built on the outskirts of the city. According to the construction plan, along with the stadium itself, the appropriated infrastructure is being built. It is also planned to relocate here some administrative buildings from downtown of Lviv.

President examines reconstruction of Lviv International Airport

Vice Premier for Euro 2012 Borys Kolesnykov reported to the President on the preparations. The existing terminal and airfield will be reconstructed and a new terminal is planned to be built.

President Yanukovych discussed with officials, responsible for reconstruction, optimization of work and increasing its efficiency in order to catch up with the schedule and put the terminal into operation within the set terms.

President visits Lviv region

In the framework of the visit President Yanukovych will also review preparations for hosting Euro 2012 final being held in the region, including construction of Lviv airport and the stadium.

In addition, the President is planned to visit one of the military units in Lviv region.

President visits Administration Center of State Border Guards of Ukraine

Mykola Lytvyn said that there are 249 border checkpoints, which currently operate successfully due to timely reforming of the office. Among measures introduced by the reform, in particular, were establishment of well-coordinated system of selection and training of officers and full transition to contracted service.

General Lytvyn also told President Yanukovych about measures taken to ensure full provision of the department with modern equipment and weapons.

In his report the Chairman of State Border Service dwelled on solving social problems of the officers, including providing them and their families with housing.

Besides, Mykola Lytvyn reported on measures to implement the instructions of the President on fighting corruption.

During the visit, President Yanukovych also took part in a videoconference with regional offices of the State Border Service, several border units, Ukrainian-Polish joint consultative point Krakovets and Rava-Ruska checkpoint. During the conference officials of various levels reported to the President on the situation at a given point of the state border.

Talking to border guards, Viktor Yanukovych congratulated them on their professional holiday.

"I came here to thank Chairman of the office and all its personnel for wonderful service. Improvement has no limits, so I wish you continuing to be just as effective," he said.

The President stressed the importance of cooperation between State Border Service, other law enforcement agencies and the Security Service of Ukraine, emphasizing the need for continuous improvement of this interaction. "This work is crucial," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

President accepts letters of credence from newly appointed Ambassadors

Congratulating the honored guests on the beginning of their diplomatic missions in Ukraine, President Yanukovych said that he considers today's event as a new and important stage in development of Ukraine's relations with each of the states they represent.

"Since Ukraine became independent, development of equal and mutually beneficial relations with all regions and countries is a constant priority of Ukrainian foreign policy, which is now becoming more pragmatic, more realistic and targeted to specific tangible results," said Viktor Yanukovych, noting that the approach becomes especially important in difficult times of the global financial crisis, negative impact of which is felt by many countries.

"Strengthening economic vector of Ukrainian foreign policy, assisting the economy to overcome existing negative trends by strengthening relations with traditional partners and developing cooperation with the new ones, these tasks now take on special significance," added the President.

Speaking about cooperation with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Viktor Yanukovych noted that this country is Ukraine’s longtime partner in Asian region. "Our countries have a significant positive experience of cooperation," he said. However, the President emphasized that "We must give a new constructive impulse to our relations, in particular, through implementation of joint Ukrainian-Vietnamese projects in mining, energy, engineering and agriculture."

Viktor Yanukovych also stressed that the current government attaches importance to developing relations with Ukraine’s traditional partners and friends in Central Asia, including Turkmenistan.

"We are grateful to the Turkmen side for allowing Ukrainian companies to participate in construction of important national infrastructural facilities in Turkmenistan.

We hope to further intensify political dialogue with Turkmenistan and effectively deepen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, especially in energy sector," said Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the President, he also attaches great importance to relations with one of the largest countries of Asia - the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"Trade and economic component of cooperation is Ukraine’s priority. I’m pleased to note that, given the volume of bilateral trade, Iran is one of our leading partners in the region," said Viktor Yanukovych.

"The range of our cooperation is quite broad. These are energy, transport infrastructure development, aerospace industry, agriculture, tourism, etc.," he said.

"We are watching with interest the development of such an ambitious project as construction of Pan-Arab railway. I think Ukrainian companies that have significant experience in this area have something to offer our Arab partners," he said.

Besides, he expressed confidence that special attention should also be dedicated to development of legal framework of the relations.

"From its part, Ukraine invites foreign investors to implementation of a number of projects in our state," said President Yanukovych, adding that first of all these are projects within the framework of Ukraine’s preparation to host Euro 2012.

"Given the significant potential for deepening bilateral relations with the Republic of Armenia, we should further strengthen political dialogue between the two countries.

Among the priorities of bilateral cooperation should also be the fastest possible restoration of pre-crisis volume of bilateral trade and its further strengthening," he said.

According to the President, cooperation between Ukraine and Iceland is very promising and its development should be stirred up by expanding legal framework.

"Ukraine is particularly interested in studying and applying the best practices in Iceland's energy saving technologies," said Viktor Yanukovych.

“You can always count on reliable partners and trusted friends in Ukraine. Our country is open to fruitful dialogue and cooperation," said Viktor Yanukovych, addressing the newly appointed Ambassadors.

"I am confident that your activities will promote the comprehensive development of friendship and cooperation between the states you represent and Ukraine. I sincerely wish you success in your responsible and honorable mission," he said.

From their part the Ambassadors expressed hope that relations between the countries they represent and Ukraine will continue to strengthen and develop.

President condoles with Indian people

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

President holds phone talks with U.S. Vice President

During the conversation sides affirmed that significant progress in restoring good neighborly relations between Ukraine and Russia was reached.

President celebrates Pentecost

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Viktor Yanukovych: I'm waiting for opponents’ suggestions on modernization, reforms and policy

"Our people have different views and opinions, which is good. But now we must unite the society in order to build, develop and modernize a strong state and to improve people’s lives," said Viktor Yanukovych.

The President stressed that recently Ukraine has lost a lot, and, partially, because of the crisis. According to Viktor Yanukovych, the crisis led us to the path of reforms in all sectors of life in the country. "Therefore, when the opposition says that they do not agree with something, I would like them to suggest an alternative, rather than criticize.

I am waiting for opponents’ suggestions on how to modernize our country, which reforms should be implemented, which path we must follow," said the Head of State.

He stressed that if the opposition has positive competitive projects, "no one will object".

President visits Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University

In front of the university President Yanukovych was met by Luhansk inhabitants. After talking to them, Viktor Yanukovych took part in the opening of monument to Volodymyr Dahl near the university.

The President also visited the Museum of achievements of Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University. The University Rector told Viktor Yanukovych about main directions of facility’s scientific work, outstanding achievements and latest findings in advanced technology area.

The President also took part in the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of university’s establishment.

Addressing the audience, Viktor Yanukovych noted that he came to Luhansk region to thank inhabitants of the land for five years of support during difficult trials and, also, to try to do something useful for the region.

The President told about today's meeting of regional committee on economic reforms in Luhansk and about topics and issues discussed. "We cannot do any good, if we do not plan it. The world is changing and the change is enormous. So if we do not change along, we will lose," said Viktor Yanukovych, adding that the reform process in Ukraine involves the best domestic experts and highly skilled professionals from around the world.

"I never believed that it is possible to live the old ways. We must remember and preserve traditions, but always look for new approaches," he said.

Congratulating those present on the anniversary of the university, President Yanukovych said: "I have come to say that there is a great creative process before us. We will do everything possible to maximally remove the obstacles that hindered the development of our high school and education. I invite you to join this difficult but interesting journey.”

Viktor Yanukovych: Ukraine will remain a non-aligned state and being such will take part in building European security system

According to Viktor Yanukovych, it is too early to talk about achievements in the economy, but there are already signs of recovery. "I think you know that Ukraine's GDP began to grow and now it is 3.8%. 12% industry growth is also evident. In my opinion, these are signs of economic recovery," he said.

Asked about foreign policy, the new government pursues, Viktor Yanukovych noted that Ukraine has established a constructive dialogue with its strategic partners - Russia, Europe and the United States of America.

President takes part in meeting of Luhansk regional committee on economic reforms

Participants of the meeting discussed the priorities in economic development of Luhansk region. Particularly, these were attracting investment of various sources into the region, optimization of municipal enterprises, modernization of healthcare facilities, etc.

Among the investment programs considered at the meeting were modernization of Gorskaya coal mine, Lysychansk refinery, improvement of drinking water quality in the region, finishing construction of the Slavyansk Regional Tuberculosis Hospital, etc.

Addressing the audience, the President said that the government is now seeking efficient form of cooperation, involving regions in nationwide program of reforms. "Even at today's meeting I see that we should follow the path of organization of systematic work. The aim of this work should be modernization of the country," said Viktor Yanukovych.

"Implementation of innovation and investment model in the state can boost development in various areas," he said, noting that central government and regional authorities must correct mistakes of the former government – bring order in the system of governance and already now think how to provide Ukraine with grounds for economic growth and ensuring normal living standards now and in the future,” he said.

"I would like central and regional authorities to work in partnership, so that people understood what's happening in the country and could plan their lives," Viktor Yanukovych said.

The President also said that Luhansk region has its own specific problems, so the order of their priority must be determined as soon as possible, along with finding solutions and clear mechanisms of their implementation.

"In any projects considered, relating to public enterprises, you must involve the appropriate ministries. We must make sure that these projects do not remain only suggestions, but are implemented," he said.

The President also thanked Luhansk region inhabitants for their support during the presidential campaign. "Now our challenge is to do everything to fulfill expectations of the people," said Viktor Yanukovych. He announced the intention to hold regular meetings of regional committees on economic reforms across the country.

"Not everyone can stand this pace of work, but I will try to show an example of how work should be done," emphasized President Yanukovych.

President: Important is not date, but principles of local elections

"As for the date, I would like to say that the elections, of course, must be held within the terms, determined by the Constitution. We must not violate the Constitution. It is my principal stand. But today I would rather talk about the principles, on which these elections must be held," said Viktor Yanukovych.

According to the President, the voters’ opinion on this issue must also be taken into account. "Local elections, of course, must be held within new legislative framework. We must adopt relevant bills that would allow electing MPs on a new basis," he said.

In the President’s view, it is important that people knew who they choose, and that deputies represented their regions, were responsible for the state of local affairs, and defended rights of local dwellers.

"It is one of primary tasks we must address, building a system of effective power," concluded the Head of State.

President takes part in opening of new Luhansk wedding hall

The President cut a symbolic ribbon and toured the new hall. He alsogreeted couples, who were there  today to get married. "I wish you happiness, love, and that you smiled more in your life," he said, addressing the newlyweds.

Viktor Yanukovych visits construction of Luhansk bypass road

According to Chief of Luhansk road service Serhiy Boltov, the length of the road being built is 24.7 km and its construction began in 2006 under 2007-2011 State program of public roads development. Total project cost is 469.4 million UAH and 281.7 million were spent during 2006 – 2009.

To date, the project is 70% complete. Among the remaining tasks are asphalt surfacing, reinforcing and installation of light poles, traffic signs and fences.

Among the project advantages are improving of the environmental situation in Luhansk, due to reduction of the air pollution, and maintaining city roads.

The President was shown the plan of construction, reconstruction, capital and current maintenance of Luhansk public highways in preparation for Euro-2012 finals.

President visits Luhansk region

In Luhansk President Yanukovych was scheduled to take part in a meeting of the Regional Committee on Economic Reforms.

He wil also attend events celebrating the 90th anniversary of Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University and confer state decorations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

President Yanukovych meets China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

The President stressed that our country is interested in developing trade and economic cooperation with the People's Republic of China.

"We believe that the basis of our cooperation should be primarily long-term, mutually beneficial relations on the principles of equality," he said.

"We know peaceful nature of your foreign policy, your principled position of noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Ukraine welcomes such a balanced and responsible approach," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Getting back to the subject and content of the meeting with Chinese Leader Hu Dzintao, President Yanukovych said that after their talks he was pondering over many issues. He expressed confidence that now is the time, when it is possible and necessary to bring Ukrainian-Chinese relations to a new level of real strategic partnership.

"Ukraine has always adhered to its obligations and agreements with China. First of all in Ukraine's position to recognize only one China. We are willing to consider Beijing's position to the maximum on a wide range of issues of international agenda," said the President.

Viktor Yanukovych has also confirmed the intention to visit China this autumn in response to the invitation of Chairman of the People's Republic of China Hu Dzintao.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

President: We will look for mutually benificial decisions and adopt them

"We have agreed with the President of Russia that after our forum we will sign a joint protocol and will work. We understand that in order to successfully deal with problems, which businesses in both Ukraine and Russia as well as in third countries currently have, we must include state mechanisms, different regulators. Including, of course, adopting political decisions. Both Dmitry Anatolyevych and I would like you to take into account the fact that during last five years Ukraine left gas markets of Central Asia. In addition, I will say frankly, it did so not by itself, not voluntary. It was pushed out.

We do not make claims to anyone here and certainly cannot do it. But we would certainly like to return to this issue, to its discussion. This is partly true for oil, but mostly – for gas. Our companies (by the way, with the participation of Russian capital, Russian investors) are working there. Their losses in the economy are huge. So we hope for the right approach. We have already partially discussed these issues and hope that we will discuss them more deeply soon.

As to all other questions and suggestions made today by our colleagues ... All of them, of course, require consideration. First of all – from the point of view of merging assets, in terms of achieving synergy.

We know that in many cases, our cooperation will work for the benefit for our economies and of course, decision-making will be based on economics. As Dmitry Medvedev said: economics, economics and economics again.

So I believe that we will always seek mutually beneficial solutions, and realize them in practice. And we will act very quickly. Why? Because we have wasted really a lot of time. A lot of time is lost. We will not return it. We can now solve the issue only one way – to create real mechanisms to boost the economy.

All the questions from Russian investors operating in Ukraine and from Ukrainian investors operating in Russia, we agreed to solve the following way. First, we collect them all, and consider each issue separately. We consider it and, I emphasize that, find concrete solutions. There can be no problems in this area. If commitments were taken from either side, they should be observed. This is our principle position.

President's address at Ukrainian-Russian Economic Forum

President: Our policy will always be based on protection of national interests

"I am sure that today the Ukrainian people understand clearly where we were last five years," said the President, noting that today any Ukrainian would hardly agree to return to that time.

Instead, he expressed confidence that the number of supporters of stability in the country increases. "Today, in every region of Ukraine understanding of stability became crucial, because stability is a factor of improving the economy and people's lives. We must be effective not only in domestic policy. Authorities must win people’s confidence that can be achieved only by solving various problems related with life of the state and by providing decent life for its citizens. And they cannot be solved without economy," said Viktor Yanukovych.

"Has ever politics of confrontation in international relations been effective? I do not know such a country that would defend its national interests through confrontation. Our policy will be always dominated by principled stand in defending national interests. We will always adhere to this principle. It will be the basis," concluded the President.

President: Border demarcation agreement was our joint political decision

"As for the demarcation, I would like to emphasize that the agreement on Ukrainian-Russian border infrastructure was signed back in 2003. Seven years have passed, and only seven years later we signed the agreement on demarcation of the border.

Of course, it was our joint political decision. Now under this agreement we will establish a commission that will consider this issue in the nearest future and create additional opportunities for Ukraine and Russia to solve a broad range of tasks, including international."

President: Together with Russia we will earn more than we would by fighting on our own at global markets

"Our previous collaboration in aircraft building was based on the following conditions: if the aircraft is built in Russia, it is made of 60% Russian and 40% Ukrainian components. If it is vice-versa, the aircraft building takes place under the following conditions: 60% of Ukrainian components and 40% of the Russian ones.

Our specialists have long worked together, and in many respects only the government and bureaucracy impeded their cooperation.

Now we understand that in order to enter markets of the third countries we must establish large-scale production, rather than discrete one we used to have before. In that case it will be quite a different price and quality," said the President, adding that in such case, associated companies that produce components for aircrafts will also reduce their prices. Indeed, if the aircrafts are mass manufactured, aircraft parts will be produced in much larger quantities.

"Together, we will earn more than we would by fighting on our own at global markets," said President Yanukovych.

Viktor Yanukovych noted that such conditions of cooperation can be applied in other areas, such as shipbuilding, space industry, etc. He also informed that the agreement was reached on Russia completing construction of the cruiser "Ukraine".

"We do not have the capacity to build it without Russia," concluded the President.

Joint Statement of Presidents of Ukraine and Russia on European security

th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, 35 years after signature of the Helsinki Final Act and 20 years after adoption of the Paris Charter for a New Europe, the legacy of the old era of the Cold War must be done away with.

Ukraine and the Russian Federation support building harmonious global order, based upon strong central coordinating role of the UN, as well as upon interdependence and cooperation aimed at solving common problems, the integral part of which should be single space of security and stability from Vancouver to Vladivostok with a global approach and objectives shared by all.

Ukraine and the Russian Federation, fully realizing their rights under the UN Charter and Helsinki Final Act, individually and collectively, including under the Corfu Process and other mechanisms of the OSCE, as well as in the context of relations between Ukraine and Russia with NATO and the EU, will actively promote the establishment of joint space of legal mandatory guarantees of equal and indivisible security for all the Euro-Atlantic states, including security guarantees to countries that voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons, and neutral states.

The Parties agreed that this approach could become the basis for further development of constructive dialogue on a broad range of security issues: arms control and confidence-building measures, establishing cooperation between all organizations working in the area of security, development of common criteria for resolving conflicts by peaceful means, based on international law, and combating global security threats.

To this end, the Parties will promote substantive consideration of the incentive of the President of Ukraine to form a new European system of collective counteraction to global threats and challenges of the XXI century and the incentive of the Russian President on signing the Treaty on European Security. The Parties stressed the coincidence of principal focus of these two incentives.

Presidents of Ukraine and the Russian Federation highlighted the importance of the proposal of Kazakhstan to hold OSCE summit in 2010.

Russia supports Ukraine's aspirations to take presidency over the OSCE in 2013.

Ukraine and Russia, reaffirming their determination to eliminate dividing lines existing in Europe, advocate removing visa barriers and creation of common space for human contact in Europe.

Kyiv, May 17, 2010

Joint Statement of Presidents of Ukraine and Russia on Black Sea region security

inspired by common aspirations of their peoples to expand and strengthen cooperation based on the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation,

expressing satisfaction with the evolution of their good-neighborly, friendly relations, mutual trust and partnership,

guided by the UN Charter and following the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality, noninterference into internal affairs,

considering maintenance of peace, stability and development of cooperation in the Black Sea region an important part of collective efforts to create common equal and indivisible security space for all the states of Euro-Atlantic without exception,

understanding their special responsibility, along with other coastal states, for peace and security in the Black Sea region and based on the need for joint efforts in fighting new challenges and threats, including terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and materials belonging to them, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, illegal migration,

recognizing the importance of strengthening security in the Black Sea, development of cooperation between coastal states in the framework of the existing and possible new initiatives of military-political nature, including the Document on measures to strengthen confidence and security in the marine area of the Black Sea, the Agreement on the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group BLACKSEAFOR, cooperation under Black Sea Harmony operation,

acknowledging that further expansion and strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the Parties in the spirit of good neighborliness and friendship lies in the fundamental interests of their peoples and is an important positive factor of stability, security, development and prosperity in the Black Sea region,

considering the important role of large-scale economic cooperation in strengthening regional security in the Black Sea,

declare the following:

 1. The parties, proceeding from the realities of this region, have agreed to develop bilateral dialogue and consultations on security issues in the Black Sea region and welcome participation of all interested states of the region in this process.

2. The Parties expressed their readiness to continue in-depth consultations on key international issues affecting security situation in the Black Sea region and to conduct consultations in the framework of the UN, other international and regional organizations and forums as required.

3. The Parties advocate expanding mutually beneficial cooperation between the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation.

4. The Parties attach great importance to cooperation between their naval forces, along with the interaction with naval forces of other Black Sea countries, within the framework of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group BLACKSEAFOR, Operation Black Sea Harmony, as well as multilateral initiatives to combat terrorism and piracy in the Mediterranean and other waters of the world ocean.

5. The Parties express their commitment to full implementation of the agreed confidence-building measures in the Black Sea, considering them an important element of security in the region.

6. The Parties will continue active cooperation to counter threats of international terrorism and transnational organized crime, particularly such as drug and weapons trafficking.

7. The Parties will promote cooperation in fighting illegal fishing and smuggling of marine products, believing that working contacts on these issues between the concerned departments and agencies are useful.

8. The Parties will promote cooperation between agencies responsible for marine safety and improve the exchange of information on safety of navigation in the Black Sea region.

9. The Parties will work together to strengthen the environmental safety of the Black Sea.

10. The Parties will continue to facilitate raising the effectiveness of multilateral activities of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and strengthening favorable political and business climate, confidence and stability in the Black Sea region on that basis.

Kyiv, May 17, 2010

Joint Statement of Presidents of Ukraine and Russia on Transnistrian problem settlement

Thus, they proceed from the need to resolve the Transnistrian problem exclusively by peaceful political means through equal dialogue aimed at determining the special, reliably guaranteed status of Transnistria, based upon the observance of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova, constitutional neutrality and formation of common legal, economic and defense space.

The Countries-Guarantors will continue concerted efforts to restore mutual understanding between the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria and urge them to refrain from unilateral actions that can complicate the regional situation and the prospects for settlement. In this context, expert groups created by Chisinau and Tiraspol aiming to build trust on the Dniester in trade-economic, transport, humanitarian and other areas will get maximum assistance.

Ukraine and the Russian Federation emphasized the important stabilizing role of the current peacekeeping operation in the region and advocate constructive interaction of all its components. The Guarantor Countries note that in Moscow Declaration of 18 March 2009 the parties supported transforming the current operation into the peace guaranteeing under the auspices of the OSCE in the context of the Transnistrian conflict settlement, and confirm their readiness to take active part in that.

Ukraine and the Russian Federation, in contact with international partners, intend to facilitate creation of the appropriate conditions for resuming the work of "The Permanent Political Council in the Negotiations on the Transnistrian Settlement" with participation of political representatives of the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria, mediators from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE and observers from the European Union and the United States.

Guarantor Countries are convinced that close cooperation and coordination of efforts of all participants of the negotiation process in the 5+2 format can stir up the achievement of comprehensive and sustainable political settlement on the Dniester.

Kyiv, May 17, 2010

President Yanukovych, President Medvedev visit Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

There, the two Presidents took part in the mass conducted by His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Volodymyr.

Ukraine, Russia sign bilateral documents

Presidents of Ukraine, Russia chair III meeting of Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission

Opening the meeting, President Yanukovych praised current intensification of Ukrainian-Russian high-level contacts and their absolute focus on results. He expressed his belief that most citizens of Ukraine and Russia are positive about strengthening of friendly relations between our countries.

"We are confident that together we can ensure good conditions for new economic growth," he said, adding that sides are also looking for effective ways of interaction between our countries in overcoming the consequences of the global economic recession.

Apparently, said President Yanukovych, there are many unresolved issues in the Ukrainian-Russian relations - both old and new, that are currently brought up by the two states’ governments, representatives of business, etc.. "Of course, creating the conditions and stimulus, including at the legislative level, corresponds with the mood, and national interests of our countries," he said.

"Everything that we do is aimed primarily at strengthening national economies and the welfare of our people," said Viktor Yanukovych. Today, he noted, Ukraine needs innovative solutions in improving social standards and above all, in modernization of the economy.

"In this difficult time we start the reforms and in June will announce their plan. We will go this way and believe that our strategic partner in this is Russia," President Yanukovych said.

The President expressed confidence that today's actions to strengthen Ukrainian-Russian relations are aimed at perspective and protection of interests of future generations. "We understand well that there is no such thing as the end of reforms – there is just their continuation. But on the dynamics set today, on coordination of our actions depends very much," he said.

The President stressed that the third meeting of the Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission actually is aimed at restoring its activity after a long and unjustified break. He thanked the Secretaries of the Commission, the Governments of Ukraine and Russia for quick preparation of today's meeting. "The Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission was established to be the instrument of bilateral cooperation," Viktor Yanukovych said, reminding that during last two months the commission has successfully dealt with such issues as economic and foreign policy, military-technical and humanitarian cooperation, international and regional ties.

"Today we approach signature of several important agreements, of which the most important is the agreement on demarcation of the Ukrainian-Russian border. I congratulate all of us on this landmark event," said Viktor Yanukovych. He expressed hope that soon the two states will approach specific decision-making in the issue of delimitation of sea border between Ukraine and Russia, as the two foreign ministries are working in this direction.

President Yanukovych also praised the willingness of both sides to sign other important bilateral documents today. These are the agreement on cooperation in utilization of the Russian global navigation satellite system GLONASS, the agreement on development of scientific and educational cooperation for 2010 - 2012, the program of cooperation between the Ministries of Culture for 2010 - 2014, the agreement on cooperation between Ukreximbank and "VTB Bank".

"I think the opportunity to discuss preparation of a long-term program of social-economic and humanitarian cooperation for 10 years is important," said Viktor Yanukovych. According to him, such a program could identify specific procedures for realization of 1997 Cooperation Agreement provisions.

Speaking of international security, the President noted that Ukraine finally has all the possibilities to realize its foreign policy goal - to become a non-aligned country, as it was proclaimed in the Declaration of State Sovereignty.

"And cooperation with Russia at the international scene, in Europe and regional dimension is very important for us," said Viktor Yanukovych. He reminded that sides are to sign today joint statements on European security, Black Sea region security and settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.

"I am convinced that new approaches to collective security should be based on a combination of interests of member states, non-aligned countries and countries with a neutral status," he said.

"Today's meeting should develop a clear plan of action for our common future," summed up the President of Ukraine.

From his part, President Medvedev also praised the current intensification of Ukrainian-Russian relations. "We open the new page here. Last time we managed to do something to restore full-blooded relations between our peoples and countries," said Dmitry Medvedev.

Among the evidences of such positive shift he named notable growth of trade turnover between our countries and the number of contacts at different levels. "I hope that eventually all this synergy will help us in developing our economies," said the President of Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev expressed hope that our countries will continue to work on development of our constructive relations. In this context, he stressed: the Ukrainian-Russian Interstate Commission is certainly a very important tool - capable and strong, but political will of both parties is crucial for its effective work.

According to the President of Russia, the highest priority of the Commission is "comprehensive development of relations between our countries." "The priorities should correspond with solving our current economic problems, which Russia and Ukraine have two. These are overcoming consequences of the global financial crisis and modernization of national economies," said President Medvedev.

"I am certain: we can build long-term strategic cooperation upon a mutually beneficial pragmatic basis. We must deal with all areas, and the work is already going on. These are transport cooperation, aviation industry, space exploration, military-technical cooperation, etc.," said the Russian President.

"Our approaches to building united Europe are very close today. We are interested in citizens of different countries of our continent being provided with modern, decent, safe living conditions," said Dmitry Medvedev.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Presidents of Ukraine, Russia hold private meeting

"It is important that today's meeting was the turning point and that you visited Kyiv more often," he said.

Viktor Yanukovych pointed to positive development of Ukrainian-Russian relations saying that "during this short period of time we managed to find mutually beneficial solutions that meet our countries' national interests and aspirations of the two peoples. People have long waited for our states to restore friendly relationship."

Viktor Yanukovych expressed hope that Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Ukraine will become continuation of constructive, fruitful and friendly dialogue, "that will enable us to take steps adequate to current stage of development in both countries."

The President emphasized that during the talks sides should primarily discuss combating the crisis, consequences of which are still observed both in Ukraine and Russia. Moreover, according to Viktor Yanukovych, special attention should be dedicated to issues related to different areas of life in both countries, the work of various industries and, of course, trade-economic relations, that have a positive dynamics.

"Producers have already felt that the barriers were actually removed and trade turnover began to grow. Over the past four months, turnover has increased 1.5 times and is about seven billion dollars, which means that by the end of the year it will be more than 35 billion, and even close to 40. It is very good," said the President.

Viktor Yanukovych also expressed hope that during tomorrow's meeting with business circles of the two countries, both he and his Russian counterpart "will give a good signal to the business," that will work for the welfare of citizens, the dynamic growth of both Ukraine and Russia.

"I think we will create good conditions from both sides," concluded the President.

In his turn, President Medvedev said that he indeed has long not been to Kyiv and has awaited today’s visit for a long time.

The Russian President noted restoration of good-neighborly and sincere relations between Russia and Ukraine and said that in their new stage "a new leaf" must be turned over and therefore he expressed the hope that today's rain "washed away all negative of the previous times and left a clean basis for the development of good-hearted and friendly relations between our countries."

Dmitry Medvedev emphasized that during bilateral meetings both sides conducted great work. "Such a maximum intensity of contacts means only one thing: only few meetings were held before, there are many issues to be considered, and we must disassemble blockages and create modern, pragmatic and at the same time friendly relations between Ukraine and Russia. I sincerely hope we’ll manage to do it," he said.

President of Russia also pointed out that the trade turnover between the two countries has increased, noting that "a real revival of trade between Ukraine and Russia and strengthening of business links can be observed". He said that there is increasing trade turnover observed in relations with other partners, but only with Ukraine it has doubled.

According to Dmitry Medvedev, both improvement of economic situation and good relations between the Presidents promote the restoration of active business contacts.

"This is due to the new Ukrainian Administration that is easy to communicate with and now we can effectively solve even the most difficult issues," he said.

Moreover, President Medvedev expressed hope that fruitful cooperation will be established between Ukrainian and Russian business circles.

"So we expect constructive and friendly talks," concluded the Russian President.

Presidents of Ukraine, Russia lay flowers in Kyiv Park of Glory

Political repression victims honored in "Bykivnya Graves" Memorial

President summarizes elaboration of economic reforms program

During the meeting participants discussed principles the program of economic reforms was based upon, their phasing and criteria for success in their implementation.

The President stressed that the program on reforms is aimed at improving quality of citizens’ life and quality of social services. In order to fulfill it, public finances must be stabilized and stable economic growth, accompanied by decreasing inflation, must be ensured.

President Yanukovych emphasized the priority of tax reform, lifting surplus regulation of small and medium businesses, as well as creating conditions for attracting investments into basic industries and infrastructures, reforming social security system and forming transparent land market.

Key reforms for the second (2011-2012) and third (2013-2014) stages of the program implementation were also determined.

President Yanukovych has instructed to finalize elaboration of the program on economic reforms by June 1.

He also stressed the need to involve representatives of the Verkhovna Rada groups, international and national experts in the work on the project to transform it into a consensus program, in realization of which the society is interested.

Viktor Yanukovych’s Program on Economic Reforms will be approved at the Committee meeting on June 2, 2010.

Friday, May 14, 2010

President conducts meeting of Ukrainian part of Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission

The President stressed that at this stage it is important to create all conditions for further constructive and effective work of ministries and departments. "It is important to provide a business contact, which would be main prerequisite for development of economic relations between businesses of Ukraine and Russia,” he said.

In this context Viktor Yanukovych said that today he had a meeting with top management of JSC TNK-BP, at which sides discussed development of Ukrainian oil market and prospects of the company opening the new direction - extraction of methane in areas where coal is mined.

The President noted that this project is interesting and important for Ukraine both in terms of economy and providing safety of the coal industry.

Describing the relations between Ukraine and Russia, the President said: "I look at relations with Russia in terms of perspective, overcoming the economic recession in Ukraine and effective utilization of our state’s resources to boost the economy.”

President meets top management of JSC TNK-BP

The President noted that now the new stage of development of Ukraine has started and expressed hope that it will succeed, despite the difficulties that may arise.

"In the short time we managed to restore the chain of power, create an effective system of governance," said Viktor Yanukovych. He stressed that now the process of uniting political forces around development of the country and building a strong Ukraine is going on.

At the same time, President Yanukovych stressed that tangible effects of economic crisis and inefficient work of the previous government can still be felt in Ukraine. The President expressed confidence that the authorities will work on solving business problems caused by their predecessors.

Executive Director of JSC TNK-BP Herman Khan informed the President that during 10 years of its work in Ukraine, the company invested about $1 billion in the development.

“TNK is a Russian company, it successfully conducts its business in Ukraine, and we plan its future expansion," said Herman Khan.

"During our work we have established an extensive network of gas stations. We were able to make Lysychanskyi refinery of one of the industry leaders through the reconstruction of the plant. TNK-BP has created 5000 jobs and is one of the largest taxpayers in Ukraine," said Herman Khan.

According to him, by 2015 TNK-BP plans to invest $800 million into development of the business, $140 million of which – already this year.

Public Humanitarian Council gathers for its first meeting

As Professor of Architectural Design of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture Larysa Skoryk said at the meeting, "all personality shaping capabilities of humanitarian policy can be used only when it becomes a strategic direction in development of the state, the catalyst, which provides our progress in the civilized world.”

"We should not forget that without the intervention of humanitarian policy, without its impact on such social life areas as economics, politics, law, international relations, etc., it is very hard to speak about actual civilized progress of the state," she said.

Larysa Skoryk expressed confidence that "Ukraine needs people with highly relevant knowledge, people who think critically, people who certainly are moral.”

In his speech at the meeting, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn stressed that current humanitarian challenges are very hard to overcome because this area is "terribly neglected". However, he expressed confidence that suggestions elaborated by the Public Humanitarian Council will be successfully "materialized in the form of decrees, decisions of the Cabinet, laws” and will allow conducting necessary reforms.

In addition, Volodymyr Lytvyn stressed support to the President of Ukraine in his willingness to restore Kaniv.

Participants of the meeting also discussed uniting the Ukrainian nation. They expressed their views on the importance of bringing out to a broad public discussion the topics that would unite Ukrainians. Director of the Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences Academician Petro Tolochko said that “unfortunately, up until today, rather than uniting, the history has been dividing us”. In this context, he suggested that society’s priority should be returning historical dignity to the Ukrainian people. "Through the centuries, it (the people) has not always been only a passive victim. We have enough reasons to consider it a full party to the historical process ... We must get rid of the complex of historical irresponsibility.”

In his speech, Chairman of the Ukrainian Culture Fund Borys Oliynyk said that he thinks it is "entirely reasonable to bring out the discussion of issues that unite the nation to the communities.” He also suggested establishing State Committee for Protection of the Ukrainian language. However, Borys Oliynyk said, protection and development of languages of all other peoples living in our country must be provided in Ukraine.

From his part, publicist and senior researcher at the Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature Dmytro Stus said that through the history of Ukraine’s independence, no one really ever has formulated tasks or solved problems in development of spiritual and cultural capital of Ukraine that could produce enough ideas, projects and technologies to cover the whole country, not just certain regions. As a result, said Dmytro Stus, the country has split by cultural attributes and has transformed into the area deprived of mental traits.

To avoid this, Dmytro Stus suggested strengthening regional cultural centers, whose activity is aimed at studying and developing mental characteristics of regions and their inclusion in the national context. In addition, he believes that development and implementation of national projects should attract the brightest intellectuals of the state.

"It is time for us to turn to technology, because technology means restoration of resources, which we do not have many. This will buy time and prevent chaos and confusion in restoration of the destroyed cultural product distribution network. We have no choice but to bet on the Internet and virtual space. This will allow us to make the whole cultural heritage accumulated by various nations and ethnic groups who lived in Ukraine available to all people, not only to residents of large cities, and that with minimum of investment needed.

Dmytro Stus also suggested that scanty circulation cultural product will not affect the situation and we will continue to generate national level "samizdat".

"I have no doubts that new technologies should be the priority in the state concept of cultural development," said Dmytro Stus. He believes that cultural values converted into digital format will in short time allow to provide people with what they did not have for almost 20 years of independence of Ukraine – the cultural foundation upon which the transformation of culture, and therefore the state could be started.

Dmytro Stus said that currently this transformation is possible only with support “from the above."

"The state should be the supreme example to follow. We must achieve the state of affairs when being educated and cultured man who defends the interests of Ukraine, and his small homeland is fashionable and promising," he said.

President Viktor Yanukovych’s address to participants of Public Humanitarian Council meeting

I’m pleased to welcome you at the first meeting of the Public Humanitarian Council.

I am confident that today we will have a substantial talk about government policy in the humanitarian sector.

It is an extremely important problem, no less important than fighting recession. So I will personally supervise the process of its solution. In my efforts I would like to rely on you - intellectuals, cultural, educational and scientific community. To that end, I have established the Public Humanitarian Council that is a consultative and advisory body to the President of Ukraine.

Humanitarian policy in modern Ukraine certainly has its own specifics. Unlike many European countries, it is called not only to promote the development of science, culture, education and healthcare, but also to be an instrument for achieving civil accord in the society, split after various historical events in our country, including the ones in 2004.

Humanitarian policy in contemporary Ukraine should gradually bring our society to the point where differences in the historical development of the regions and their cultural traditions won’t be used for political purposes. Only then we will be able to state that we have integrated into the cultural space of the united Europe.

Certainly, this problem is not new. And we felt in our daily lives the results of all political forces exploiting this issue. But, in fact, nothing has been done. Why? Because a poor person can be fed, dressed slapdash, but this person will remain poor, rather than a full member of society, where culture, science and healthcare are accessible to everyone.

Therefore, I directly connect effective implementation of humanitarian policy to our success in pulling the country out of deep economic crisis.

Nothing humbles a man more than poverty. I believe we all have the same opinion. Having adopted the 2010 state budget, we begin to fulfill the law on increasing social standards, although our opponents called it utopia last autumn. The Government has decided to increase pensions for 10 million retirees and salaries for 3.5 million employees of budgetary institutions from January 1, 2010. I think you know that compensation from the beginning of the year is paid now. And later, by the end of the year, we will move on to current funding. Pensions and wages for January-April 2010 will be recalculated and the difference will be paid during May-June 2010.

Significant investment will be required to ensure citizens' right to access effective systems of education, healthcare and culture. However, there are issues we can solve without specific appropriations in the budget.

Large funds are not needed to cure society from politicization, to avoid actions that contradict the recognized ethical and moral standards, to eradicate attempts of discrimination and humiliation of an individual or a group by racial, ethnic, linguistic or other characteristics. To ensure that, the state must constantly keep an eye on the situation in these sensitive issues and timely intervene if such intervention is necessary.

By the way, I am late, I’m sorry, because I was working on a humanitarian problem. This is an issue of the Crimean Tatar people, whose 66th anniversary of deportation is observed on May 18. Many problems suddenly arose there. They don’t surprise me. And I would say these are the consequences of government’s inaction observed in recent years. So we certainly need to supervise the situation and intervene in sensitive issues. I emphasize once again – to intervene effectively.

It would be a mistake to sacrifice originality of a separate region for the idea of political expedience; it would mean bringing the state to a common cultural denominator. It is generally impossible. It humbles both those who do it and those towards whom it is done. We witnessed that in our history, including modern times.

I am also against the escalation of confrontation on the issue of interpretation of events and historical figures. We must agree on that. How? I would like to hear the answer to this question from you during our today’s dialogue. I think it will last long enough.

In the whole civilized world history plays a role of cementing factor in creation of nation and people. In our case it is the most destructive factor. It is a difficult task, indeed. I do not think there is one universal recipe how to solve it. I can only say that, certainly, this problem can’t be solved by idealization of some heroes at the expense of others’ humiliation. We have already seen that, and I will not be speaking much about it.

Gradualness, delicacy, understanding that we are dealing with the historical process and, therefore, the results of our efforts can only be felt by the next generation, are the imperative, that should change policy of forced brainwashing, conducted in our country for many years and in various periods of its history.

In the context of current global changes in the world, UNESCO pays attention to basic aspects of humanitarian policy, including ensuring people’s health and prolongation of their life duration, development of creativity, economic support to cultural industries (publishing, filmmaking, media) and efficient protection of cultural heritage, both material and spiritual.

Ukraine cannot ignore such world trends as globalization and intensive development of information technologies. Therefore, humanitarian policy should be oriented towards both the domestic space, and foreign perceptions. However, the relevance of a cultural production should not mean substitution of aesthetic values with commercial, as well as national culture with mass culture.

Further humanitarian development of our country is inconceivable without development of domestic media. It is connected with media pluralism and absolute ensuring of human right to free expression of opinion.

Ukraine will continue to ensure press freedom and maintain high standards of journalism. At the same time we will do everything to prevent pressure on media, manifestations of violence against reporters and hindering them in performing their professional duties. Each case will have the appropriate legal consequences.

Dear members of the Public Humanitarian Council!

I would like to inform you that among members of the Humanitarian Council there are also journalists, who will support further development of freedom of speech in Ukraine.

In this connection it is important to create public radio and television. I would like a law on public radio and television to be adopted as soon as possible. It will be an essential step toward balanced and unbiased media. It is very important for me. I am confident that we will achieve that.

Now let’s consider the state of affairs in our education, I mean 11 million students, pupils, their parents and teachers.

Our important task is to create appropriate conditions for strengthening the educational potential of Ukraine, to provide talented youth with broad access to obtaining new skills and knowledge regardless of their parents’ financial capabilities and place of residence.

How to solve this task? Let's think about it and suggest specific steps the government must take.

Now let’s discuss preschool education. There are nearly 1100 kindergartens that temporarily do not work for various reasons. Today, only 57% of children (including 33% in rural areas) are covered by the service of these institutions. The situation should be corrected immediately. This is a task both for the Cabinet of Ministers and local authorities.

Maintaining the network of schools, especially in rural areas, in connection with worsening of demographic situation, remains a painful issue.

Transporting students to schools, in case they live beyond walking distance, wasn’t established. Last year, no buses were purchased within the program "School bus" for budget funds.

Printing textbooks still remains a problem. Usually it is undertaken with considerable delay and incomplete. For example, last year, new books were coming sometimes as late as in December.

Drastic reforms need to be implemented in vocational education. Perhaps we should adopt the experience of the EU countries where this issue is largely supported by business, commerce and industry chambers that flexibly respond to changing labor market.

Obviously, we should pay more attention to increasing the quality of higher education. After all, today none of the Ukrainian universities is on a list of best universities in the world.

Maybe, establishment of a single state database on request for the amount of certain specialists will help to solve this problem. This is especially true for technical professions. Shouldn’t experimental educational base be developed along with the production? This process can involve business more closely. It seems that education in Ukraine provides high-quality fundamental knowledge yet fails with applied skills.

In the shortest time we must prove that high school is able to transparently and honestly perform its duties. External independent testing for university entrants will remain, but at the same time conditions of admission must be improved.

Another important issue is improving the image of faculty and teachers’ social protection. We must increase the wages of those who teach the young generation and create proper living conditions for them.

The state must promote the development of science and efficient use of existing scientific and technological potential. However, because of poor coordination, problems in funding and lack of clarity in prioritizing, this potential is not fully utilized in state-building.

We need to re-establish the prestige of scientific work and involve talented youth in it.

Another strategic direction of our work should be creation of a new vision of culture in Ukraine that will be modern, dynamic and competitive.

The use of linguistic and cultural diversity of the Ukrainian nation as its development potential can be considered one of priority directions of development in this field. I am convinced that activation of intercultural dialogue and use of broad cultural autonomy of the regions to determine their own cultural policy in Ukraine will guarantee preservation of interethnic and interfaith peace. I am confident of that. Implementation of administrative-territorial reform will be the first important step in this direction.

Equal access to cultural heritage must be also ensured. Therefore, I would like to focus on one painful topic, which is culture in the village. We must work together with the public, state authorities and local communities to achieve improvements in this area.

No less important is preserving national historical and cultural heritage. In this field we must immediately legitimize preservation of historic environment of our cities, first of all – historic area of St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra in Ukraine's capital. Illegal construction on the Dnipro slopes and banks, as well as in the parks, squares of Kyiv and other cities must be stopped.

Observing the 150th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko’s death and his reburial in Ukraine and celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Great Poet’s birth are our primary tasks. I am personally engaged in this issue and hope that we will hold one of the next meetings of our Council in Kaniv already this year. I promise you that.

Providing effective protection to domestic cultural industries has been a long need. I have recently signed the law aimed at supporting Ukrainian filmmakers, stimulating film industry to fill our cultural space with our own movies.

However, cultural industries should be the impetus for regional development and creation of new jobs, as well as the source of investment flows and financial income. We need a new quality of government support to Ukrainian book publishing and distribution.

Adequate development of all these areas demands favorable legal framework. We must prevent any encroachment on the property and premises of newspapers, publishers, creative unions and charitable foundations. The Government should also provide reduction of utilities tariffs to creative unions and charitable funds.

The Government must quickly finish preparation of the new Law "On Culture”. It is also necessary to work out the efficient methodology of promoting private investment and sponsorship, in particular, through the adoption of the Law “On Patronage”.

The question of integration of the Ukrainian culture in European and global cultural and Ukraine joining European cultural projects also remains important.

One of powerful factors of spiritual development of the society, raising moral responsibility before current and future generations remains the Church.

For the Ukrainian state, all the churches and religious organizations are equal. We will demand strict observation of this principle from all government officials at all levels. The state will not interfere in the affairs of the Church. These affairs should be left to communities and souls of every person. Division of people in accordance with religious, national or linguistic grounds is a serious sin.

Ukrainian state will not interfere in internal clerical affairs, but we must always do our best to facilitate reconciliation and overcoming any confrontation and misunderstanding.

The main task in the field of state-church relations is to create favorable conditions for the Church to perform its spiritual mission.

Dear Colleagues,

Every person, regardless of social status and place of residence, should be able to get high-quality medical care. This is the inherent condition of humanitarian development.

However, the situation with healthcare system in Ukraine today can be assessed as very poor. In particular, we have unacceptably high mortality, which according to the European database "Health for All” is lower than such rates only in Russia, Kazakhstan and Moldova; there is also a problem of low life expectancy (the lower is only in Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), the highest natural population decline in the European Region.

All of these problems are proof that organizational principles of the Ukrainian healthcare system do not meet the requirements of today. Inadequacy of management techniques to the new economic relations leads to any amount of public funds spent on healthcare being not enough. Ukrainian healthcare still remains unreformed.

Therefore, the primary task is to reform healthcare system, making practical and decisive steps to ensure high-quality and accessible healthcare.

At the same time I would like to note that the term "health of the nation" means more than only physicians’ domain. Promotion of healthy lifestyle must and will occupy its rightful place among the priority programs for the state.

It is time to define predictable time constrains for introduction of health insurance, rationalize functioning of family doctor practices, restore preventive medicine, introduce effective state control over the quality of drugs, improve social security of healthcare workers.

Making healthcare system modern is the basic way of reaching the ultimate goal: "Healthy people - secure future.”

More than one third of Ukraine's population is youth. There are about 15 million young people of age 14 to 35. On the values that youth professes, on its patriotism, the level of its education and culture, eagerness to develop and willingness to work, depends Ukraine's place in tomorrow's world.

It is crucial to ensure such conditions of development to youth, that it grew physically and spiritually healthy, received good education and had all the possibilities of full self-realization. At the same time, young people should be helped realize their political and civil rights and duties, be responsible for the future of their country.

I am confident that together we will find the correct address to these important issues.

I suggest building our work upon the foundation of discussing ways to solve these problems.

I deliberately delivered such a long speech to bring up the broadest possible range of problems, on which we will have to work hard. Hopefully, we will find solutions and bring them into life together - each of us in his/her own place.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Viktor Yanukovych meets Mustafa Jemilev, Rafat Chubarov

Viktor Yanukovych stressed that he would like to discuss both the old problems and future, namely: "how to solve these issues, how set up supervision over their resolution and, of course, how to evaluate implementation of our measures."

The President also noted that today's meeting opens a qualitatively new page in relations between the government and the Crimean Tatar population.

President meets foreign media representatives

President condoles with Dutch people

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

President condoles with Libyan people

Viktor Yanukovych: All problems of Euro 2012 preparation will be resolved

However, he stressed, "we must work very hard to achieve our goal."

The President said that as a citizen, politician and fan he saw how Ukraine won the right to host the Euro 2012, and how the previous government was preparing for the championship. "I would like to say honestly: I did not like the political part of this issue and attempts of some politicians to play this political game. I think it would be much better to say less and do more," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine on Euro 2012 Borys Kolesnikov reported on the current state of preparation of all relevant infrastructure and its primary tasks.

In particular, he said that the Cabinet plans to catch up with the backlog of reconstruction of the Olimpiysky National Sports Complex in Kiev by February 1, 2011.

"We intend to fully catch up with the schedule by February 1, 2011,” Borys Kolesnikov said. “We elaborated the monthly program. Now we can say that we managed to reduce schedule lag already for one month."

The Vice Prime Minister is assured that in July 2011 Olimpiysky National Sports Complex will be put into operation.

According to Borys Kolesnikov, the Cabinet also plans to catch up with the schedule of construction of the Lviv stadium, which will also host Euro 2012 matches, by March 1, 2011.

"We plan to catch up with the schedule by March 1, 2011. Next September the first match is planned to be played at Lviv's stadium," said Borys Kolesnikov.

According to him, today there are all reasons to say that "the championship will be successfully held in Ukraine and all the necessary preparations will be concluded in the required time."

President initiates establishing national soccer team support fund

"I believe that every citizen of Ukraine should be allowed to take part in the project, including the officials present here," said Viktor Yanukovych.

"I'm sure there is no person in this room, who would not dream of our national team’s victory," he added.

The President stressed that the government will do everything to prepare for Euro 2012 in Ukraine at the decent level. Yet, it is also important to remember that in the championship it is our team, which millions of Ukrainian fans want to see victorious. Therefore, President Yanukovych emphasized, the team must be well prepared for the championship, "just as fans dream about it.”

President saddened over Platon Kostiuk's death

Viktor Yanukovych: partnership between local and central government means stability and prosperity to Ukraine

Viktor Yanukovych stressed that broad rights mean huge responsibility. In this context the President stressed importance of improving executive discipline of the local authorities.

"I would like to emphasize that I will personally keep the situation in the regions under strict supervision. To ensure that, we will establish a system of monitoring of regional and district administrations’ work," said Viktor Yanukovych, adding that the Presidential Administration will continuously study the work of regional and district state administrations and disseminate their best practices.

However, it is only one aspect of the new regional policy. "Strengthening of the self-government does not mean that the state will decline the responsibility for the situation in the regions. Particular attention will be dedicated to leveling economic development and overcoming the economic depression in the regions," said the President.

President Yanukovych instructed the Council of Regions to work synchronously with the Committee on Economic Reforms under the President and with local authorities. "There were many examples of the so-called "reforms from above", initiated by the central government, that found no support in the regions, because they didn’t take into account local features and needs," said the President.

To prevent this, President Yanukovych said, the newly established regional reforms committees must accumulate the best experience of local managers and experts, as well as consider the requests of local communities. After the Committee on Economic Reforms under the President of Ukraine introduces the concept of reforms, it should be considered and elaborated by the Council of Regions.

The President also set a target to implement draft reforms plan, agreed and ready for its practical realization, in the shortest term possible.

"It is important that local authorities perceived the concept of reforms as a collective project, as a joint plan that considers the interests of every separate region. This will ensure that reforms are supported in the regions," he said.

The President emphasized that work of the Council of Regions should be public, transparent and close to the people. To make it so, according to Viktor Yanukovych, first of all the practice of regional meetings must be initiated. "It’s logical that the Council of Regions regularly worked directly in the regions and understood life in the regions. A face-to-face dialogue with local managers, experts and scientists is very important," said the President of Ukraine.

"We need neither multipage documents laden with current economic figures or tables with statistics, nor politics. We need clear, concise, analytical conclusions on changes taking place in main areas of life in a region, and specific suggestions on how to respond to certain threats and risks," added the President.

"I see no alternative but further enhance the role of regions in state development. Future is in creating a flexible system of public administration, in which strong, responsible regions would interact harmoniously with strong, effective center," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

President meets newly appointed regional governors

President Yanukovych instructs PMs of Ukraine, Crimea to apply a number of measures

  • increasing reliability of energy supplies to Crimea, developing capabilities of Crimean power plants, development of alternative energy and energy saving projects;
  • development of road infrastructure, construction and reconstruction of interstate and local highways;
  • upgrading networks of centralized water supply and sanitation; 
  • development of municipal electric transport, including updating the vehicles stock.

President Yanukovych also instructed to support restoration of Anton Chekhov House-Museum in Yalta (Chief of Staff Sergiy Levochkin is personally in charge of this project).

Privatization authorities’ work should be organized and a relevant bill should be prepared if needed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

President’s address at Victory Day military parade

You are honest both to history and us having rescued the world from the fascist plague. Your conscience is clean before the descendants. Now it’s our turn to be honest with you. And primarily, to prove whether we, your descendants, have justified your hopes. Are we fully aware of what you - our parents and grandparents - did both for us and Ukraine?

My dear veterans, you have preserved and presented Ukraine to us, the ones, living now.

Now we are building Ukraine’s statehood. And it is great, because every nation strives for self-realization through statehood.

We are for a sovereign state, where each and every nation would feel home. After all, when the soldiers were liberating us sacrificing their lives, we didn’t ask them about their faith, nationality or blood group.

We offer our special thanks to home front fighters and honor widows and mothers who took the burden of man's work and brought up children, half orphans, having taught them to live honestly. Today we celebrate both Victory Day and Mother's Day. And this is very special. We wouldn’t win our victory without our mothers.

Dear veterans!

You are our great forerunners; you defeated the fascism, honestly believing that all peoples on Earth are equal and God-chosen. And we must fly the banner of your faith high, remembering that everyone is equal before the Lord. All are equal before the Motherland and the responsibility for its destiny.

As President of Ukraine I will do everything to be worth of your high example.

Dear compatriots! Everyone, who fell on the battlefield for the sake of good, remains alive for us. And they will live as long as the world and Ukraine exist.

And Ukraine is eternal. So, may the memory of those fallen live forever.

Hail to the living winners!

I wish you many years of good and prosperity. Hail to the winner-nation!

President lays wreaths at Unknown Soldier's Tomb in Kyiv

Chiefs of Staff of Presidential Administrations of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are to hold meeting

During their meeting the Chiefs of Staff will discuss preparations for the meeting of Presidents of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia at the border of our three countries. Besides, they will discuss improving cooperation between the presidential administrations.

The Chiefs of Staff of the Presidents of Russia and Belarus have already arrived in Kyiv.

President Yanukovych meets President Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that relations between Ukraine and Turkmenistan are good and coordinated in almost all areas. However, he noted recently there were some gaps in trade and economic cooperation between our countries, and expressed hope that they would be filled.

Viktor Yanukovych thanked Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the congratulations and said that 50 days of his presidency were quite enough for him to determine the real state of affairs in Ukraine. That's why he invited representatives of the Ukrainian Government to the meeting - to specifically discuss further cooperation between Ukraine and Turkmenistan.

The President also stressed that along with the traditionally good trade-economic relations, Ukraine and Turkmenistan have always had good and friendly relations between the peoples. Viktor Yanukovych congratulated Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, and in his person all the Turkmen people on the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory.

"May 9 is our common holiday. So I would ask you to convey my personal congratulations to veterans living in Turkmenistan, who in 1945 come home with victory, liberating the world from the fascist plague," said Viktor Yanukovych.

"Today we must show the veterans that we are worthy descendants of soldiers of the Victory. That we are not afraid of any difficulties and will overcome them," summed up the President of Ukraine.

President takes part in informal summit of CIS leaders

"The fact that we are here today, honoring the events of those times, is very symbolic," said the President of Russia.

Among priorities of cooperation of CIS member states for this year, Dmitry Medvedev named development of cooperation in science, high-tech, modernization of economy, which, he said, "unfortunately has not yet fully recovered from the economic crisis”.

Ukraine's President thanked those present for congratulations on his election. He also thanked gratitude for organization of the summit.

In his speech, Viktor Yanukovych said the Victory Day is a very important holiday for nations that fought in the Great Patriotic war and told about the Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus taking part in the opening of memorial "Cities of military glory in Alexander Gardens in Moscow.

"On the eve of the Great Victory day it is important to conduct joint celebration of the holiday," said Viktor Yanukovych.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

President instructs to celebrate 90 years since Ivan Kozhedub's birth at worthy level

The responsible officials are to submit proposals on holding the events within the framework of the celebration with participation the President of Ukraine.

They must also conduct a reconstruction of the Ivan Kozhedub memorial in Obrazhiyivka village, beatify the surrounding territory and overhaul the facade of the dormitory of Ivan Kozhedub Chemical Technology College of Shostka Institute of Sumy State University.

The officials are also to establish a new exposition dedicated to Ivan Kozhedub in the Obrazhiyivka village and facilitate reconstruction of Ivan Kozhedub museum in the town of Shostka.

The president also instructed repairing Shostka - Obrazhiyivka road and roads in Shostka and Obrazhiyivka, conducting thematic events dedicated to the memory of three times Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Kozheduba in primary schools, providing broad coverage of the preparations for and celebration of the 90 anniversary of the birth of three times Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Kozhedub in the media.

President congratulates other states' leaders on 65th anniversary of Great Victory

th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

President: The chronicles of difficult years of war will always be in our nations’ history

"Dear Veterans, Dear Dmitry Anatolyevych and Alexander Grigoryevich!

We are on the eve of celebrating a sacred holiday for us all, for the peoples that fought in the Great Patriotic War – the Victory Day. All week long in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine celebrations will be held. We know what a stress it will be for veterans. Because seeing such love and consideration is not easy too. But please, hold on.

Each year, celebrating this holiday – the Victory Day – we remember the years of Great Patriotic War, remember your feat. The chronicles of difficult years of war will always be in our nations’ history. It will always be in the hearts and minds of our people.

Nowadays, more and more young people and children come to memorials, monuments, graves of those fallen, and participate in the celebration. Yet less and less veterans do we see …

The more time passes since hard war times, the more we appreciate your feat. The peace you brought to our land is priceless. And freedom is priceless too. You not only saved our country from slavery. You saved the world from the brown plague, from fascism.

These days, we remember all Great Patriotic War participants and members of the anti-fascist coalition. All those, who won victory in the year 1945. Of course, we must do everything so that everybody, who lives in current times of peace, felt the support and attention of current generations. Today we, our generation are responsible for the situation in our countries. And we will do everything to ensure that our veterans felt our attention and respect not only in the days of celebrating the Great Victory. Through all your life we will respect you and surround you with care.

Today, representatives of Ukraine and Belarus are here, in Moscow. I know how anxiously our veterans have been preparing for this day. Because indeed, for them, it is the highest honor – to participate in celebration of the Great Victory in the capital of a great country – the Soviet Union, which defeated fascism. And today, when we look at you, when we sometimes experience difficult, we take the example of you. With your persistence, your courage, your determination and commitment to your native land, Motherland.

We have not been in the trenches. It were you, who defended peace, and we must do everything for you to feel happy. We really want this.

On the eve of celebration of the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War new monuments and memorials dedicated to the Great Victory are being opened in Ukraine. These days we have opened a monument on the border of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. I think there will be time, when I invite my colleagues, and of course, representatives of the public, veterans' organizations for us to worship the Liberator-Nation.

Tomorrow, in Kiev, we will open the monument to great pilot, whose only name inspired fear in fascists – Ivan Kozhedub. Also, tomorrow, in all the hero-cities of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, military parades in honor of the Victory will be held. And today, on the eve of this holiday, I would like, dear veterans, to wish that you, first of all, were happy with life, happy with your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and that in your life you were convinced that we would never fail.

We will do everything so that younger generations were passing one another the glory of feats you made in the Great Patriotic War.

I hail you and bow before you! And I thank you for your great feat!"

President goes to Moscow

The program of the visit provides participation of the Presidents of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and Great Patriotic War veterans in the ceremony of opening of a memorial "Cities of military glory" in the Alexander Gardens.

Also President Yanukovych is scheduled to conduct a bilateral meeting with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov.

The informal summit of the CIS, which will be held in the Gorki residence of the President of Russia, will begin at 18.00 Moscow time. At the end of the summit sides are scheduled to sign the summarizing document.

Friday, May 7, 2010

President's address to Great Patriotic War veterans at Ukrainian House

Dear Liberators of Ukraine and the world!

I'm honored to be here with you on the eve of the Great Victory Day. I bow to your wisdom, strength of spirit, and faith in the future of Ukraine and its people.

In your wise eyes, in the nobleness of your old age I see the endless energy that makes us - your children and grandchildren – to confidently move forward and lead the country.

Your strength and your example teach us to disregard obstacles and be not afraid of troubles. I know exactly that in the trenches near Kyiv, Kharkiv or Odessa you experienced much harder times than we do today, fighting consequences of the global recession and negligence of the previous government. You have withstood that war and revived a powerful country. Together with you, we will build a new Ukraine and make sure that the whole world respects us.

The Victory Day is one of the greatest holidays for Ukraine and for each of us. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, future over past, life over death. This day unites people against aggression and war, symbolizes the craving for peace and prosperity.

World War II is one of the greatest tragedies of the XX century. This tragedy is not only Ukrainian or European, but of global scale. The war engulfed different countries, different continents, became the author of bloody pages in history of many peoples of the world. But of course, our land and our people suffered the most. Never before in its history, Ukraine had paid such a high price for peace.

The war claimed millions of lives, destroyed many towns and villages, maimed numerous human destinies. I am sure: there is no single person in Ukraine, Russia or Belarus, who would not bow the head on this day before the memory of millions of dead soldiers and officers, their loved ones. The war did not spare a single home, or family. Its bitter taste was felt by everyone.

That is why the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War is one of the most important dates, which unites peoples of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. This is our common pain and common pride. It is our responsibility before our fellow-veterans and the memory of those, who never returned from the battlefields.

With my colleagues - President Dmitry Medvedev and Alexander Lukashenko – we agreed to celebrate the Victory Day together and synchronize holding the festive events.

It is often said that wars are cursed by mothers. It is indeed so. Today I bow my head before our mothers, who raised Ukraine's brave and dedicated soldiers. They gave peace to our people and future to our country.

The life of every single man is priceless. However, Ukraine paid the price of millions of lives of its best sons and daughters for peace. We must always remember that. And we must appreciate life, given to us by God.

I, dear veterans, do not support universal celebrations, as it is said, "for one day”, after which the heroes are forgotten until the next May 9th. Therefore, I demand that all the authorities, the Cabinet, the government of all levels, celebrated such holidays as the Victory Day with daily improvement of care for veterans, who need protection and state support.

We have canceled the infamous calendar principle of celebration of the important dates. I think it is unacceptable and cynical to honor heroes once a year and then forget about them the very next day. I condemn the officials, who put a false smile on their faces for veterans on May 9th and on May 10th immediately stop noticing them.

I know that your hearts, the hearts of war heroes who gave us great victory, will be warmed with the days of hard work of authorities aimed at easing your life, rather than only one day of warm porridge and parade. This is my life principle. And believe me, I strongly demand all the officials of all levels to respect that.

That's why I took the whole process of preparation for the solemn events on the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War under my personal supervision. I headed the Coordinating Council aimed at joining actions of all executive bodies, local authorities, those involved in organizing and holding events to celebrate the Victory Day. I am against the politicization of this holiday! I am for making it the holiday for all citizens, regardless of geography, blood group, nation, etc..

In the basis of all the events I see the idea of strengthening social protection of older people and veterans by the state. I am well aware of how difficult your life is. My heart bleeds when I see the poverty in which the people who saved the world from fascism sometimes live.

So I identified key objective for the Government: not a single veteran of the Great Patriotic War should be left without attention and systematic care. Improving quality of life of veterans is permanent priority of the government and public policy.

We work in extremely difficult circumstances. Today we fight both the consequences of economic crisis, and the results of irresponsible policy of the previous government. I believe that the latter of these has damaged Ukraine much more than the former one.

We have assumed the country on the brink of economic collapse. During last two years the country had no state economic policy. You are wise people and you saw it all. Management of public finances resembled firefighting, instead of being thoughtful, systematic actions.

The result is disappointing. Due to previous government’s actions the gap in budgetary resources in 2010 amounted to 100 billion UAH. These funds we severely lack in making life conditions decent for our veterans, our pensioners. But believe me, we are not looking for excuses. We deliberately took up to this difficult and thankless job. We know how to bring it to a successful conclusion. In my life I follow the principle: if you want something done - do it yourself. And I will do that. No matter what it costs me.

Despite all the complexity of economic and political situation in the country, we managed to maintain and, in many cases, to substantially increased financing of social items of the budget. First of all, our actions were aimed at protecting the retirees and veterans. I primarily mean full implementation of the Law "On improving social standards”. Thus, we have increased pensions of 7 million retirees by 16%.

I instructed the Government to compensate during 2010 the losses from depreciation of monetary savings to veterans. The Government will reward veterans, particularly those citizens of Ukraine, who live in other states, with jubilee medals and prepare for holding parades and fireworks celebrating May 9, 2010 in the hero cities.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine received the instruction to ensure that foreign delegations of veterans are invited to Ukraine to participate in the May 9 celebrations.

Council of Ministers of Crimea, Kyiv and Sevastopol city state administrations received instructions from me to develop programs of holding the Year of the Great Patriotic War veterans. The programs will provide additional measures to improve living conditions, healthcare and transport services to veterans.

I would like to name specific figures to illustrate the effectiveness of social protection of veterans by the state.

The total budget of annual May 9th aid to war veterans and victims of Nazi persecution was increased by 52.7% to 601.1 million UAH.

We have almost doubled the aid to the disabled war veterans. The disabled of I category will get 1000 UAH. I would like to remind that last year the previous government provided the aid to be 540 UAH. The aid to the disabled of II and III category in 2010 will respectively be 900 and 800 UAH. In 2009 these figures were 430 and 380 UAH.

The 2010 Budget provides increase of financial support to veterans’ public organizations up to 11.3 million UAH.

To buy housing for I category disabled veterans it is planned to spend 140.4 million UAH in 2010. The previous government in 2009 has not allocated a single hryvnya for that. It is planned to spend 50 million UAH to buy cars for disabled Great Patriotic War veterans of I category and those, who have special merits before the country.

I must admit that in general I am satisfied with the work of the Government and local authorities in preparation for the celebration of the Victory Day. But important things are yet to come, and these requirements will be strict for us to complete the tasks we have set before us in 100%.

I would also like to say that in these extremely difficult conditions we have reached the maximum possible results for now. This is not as much as we would like it, but these are real practical steps our predecessors failed to make. The key difference between us and them is that we are not going to stop at this. We will do these things during our whole term, for as long as the Lord God and the Ukrainian people let us.

Dear veterans!

You are the symbol of courage, bravery and true commitment to your country. I am proud of you. And until you are an example for our children, I look with confidence into the future of our country. The victory, you brought, is priceless. It cannot be measured in wealth and riches. It brought us the most priceless things: peace, freedom and future.

I sincerely thank you for not sparing your lives and health for the sake of peace, for the sake of Ukraine. For us living in peace and calmness and being able to decide our own path. For you bringing together people of different generations, different regions, political views, cultural and other preferences around the great holiday – the Victory Day.

Great military leader Suvorov once said that war continues, until the last soldier is buried. The Great Patriotic War ended 65th years ago, but unfortunately we have not honored all those who perished properly. The Ukrainian government will put all efforts in ensuring that all the monuments and graves of the soldiers were in good condition. This is our duty to those who died.

Today Ukraine and much of the world lives in peace and calmness. World War II was a great lesson and great warning. Mankind must put an end to wars. Or wars will put an end to humanity.

So, dear veterans, I bow before you. God grant you health. God give you more joyful and longest possible life. Be happy with your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I wish you happiness, inspiration and bow before you!