President of Ukraine

Speech made to the Assembly

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Madam President, Secretary General, dear participants, I thank you sincerely for this invitation to speak to the Assembly. I am thankful to you for this opportunity to bring to this important forum the voice of the Ukrainian people from all corners of the country – from the west, the east, the south and the north, from the free territories and from, regrettably, the occupied territories.

It is only three weeks since the presidential inauguration and the presidential campaign during which I had the opportunity to travel across Ukraine. I want to assure you that I have never seen Ukraine or Ukrainians so pro-European and so pro-Ukrainian at the same time. I saw the country peaceful and hospitable, not only geographically but by choice. Ukraine has always been a hospitable home for everyone who comes in peace, but now, unfortunately, this home is in danger. A force has come into Ukraine without peace.

I could not imagine that in the 21st century in my country of Ukraine, the words “aggression”, “occupation”, “mercenaries” and “internally displaced persons” would appear again. What can we do to stop the violence and prevent it from spiralling into a full-blown war? This question is addressed not only to Ukraine, but to the whole of Europe.

Everything started in December when the previous government in power deprived Ukrainians of our dream: it rejected European integration without asking the Ukrainians and without giving anything back but corruption, violence and disrespect for human dignity. Ukraine rose up and a revolution of dignity began. The people have prevailed, but it has required a lot of blood and sacrifice. Twenty years ago, in exchange for the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, Russia promised to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia has violated the Budapest memorandum agreement between Ukraine and Russia. It has become the aggressor. It has ruined the stability of the region. The system of checks and balances in the world has been shaken.

From this rostrum, I thank the Council of Europe, on behalf of all Ukrainians, for your immediate response to the military aggression. That is essential for Ukraine. The decision of the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly constitutes a legal basis for the restoration of justice and for ensuring the rights of all people living in the occupied territories. Unfortunately, it is absolutely necessary to stop the financing of terrorist groups in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which is taking place on behalf of the Russian Federation.

This is the second stage of Russian aggression. In 2008, we witnessed it in Georgia. In 2014, it is happening at the expense of the sovereignty of Ukraine. The question of who will be next is open. That is why Europe today must demonstrate unity and solidarity. The biggest problem for Europe today is the absence of any real mechanism to maintain peace and to protect territorial integrity and democracy. The post-war model is ruined. Today, we bear on our shoulders the responsibility to set up a new model. For those who do not face the reality of aggression, it is, unfortunately, easy to create the conditions for it. Aggression today is overwhelming and it engulfs Russian society. It constitutes the basis for both its policy and social attitude towards Ukraine, but Ukraine has found confidence and moral strength. It is obvious that without the return of Crimea, normalisation of relations with Russia will not be possible. We are, however, a peaceful people. The Ukrainian authorities and I – personally, as the Ukrainian President – have come up with a peace plan, because there must be dialogue and a readiness to reach an agreement for the sake of human life.

It is the laymen who are being damaged today in Ukraine. In occupied Crimea, we see how political, linguistic and cultural rights and liberties are being violated. As always, it is the national minorities who suffer the most. Most of all, Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians are being subjected to discrimination and harassment. On a daily basis, we receive new reports of violations of freedom of expression in the media, violations of the right to education, religion, citizenship and residence, of labour rights and property and land rights, and of access to health and education. In the problematic regions in the east of Ukraine, the situation is even more flagrant. The illegal armed groups are trying to establish a bloody reign of violence: abductions, unlawful detentions, killings, torture, disappearances and harassment are part of daily life in the cities.

With the assistance of international organisations, such as the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the OSCE, we are documenting these violations, which must prompt a proper response from the international community. We need thorough analysis, especially with a view to the future court cases in which Ukraine will be ready to defend itself.

The presidential election was an important step on the route to restoring peace and order. We were ready to receive the record number of international observers. I presented the President’s plan: unity, the restoration of peace and security. Peace and security is what Ukrainians in Donbass want. They dream of getting back their normal lives, where people are not being killed, taken hostage, tortured or violated. Today, there are 174 hostages, almost 150 dead and more than 300 wounded. We have had the cease-fire for less than a week, but 18 soldiers have been killed and 27 have been injured. The day before yesterday a 10-month-old child died from an explosion caused by a grenade launched from a mortar.

We are striving for peace. That is the non-political aspiration and essence of the peace plan. It proposes to end the violence, to be as magnanimous as possible to those who have not committed serious crimes, to stabilise the situation and then to address the concerns of the local populations in the troubled parts of Ukraine. We need our internal processes to return to a civilised framework. If we can achieve that, we will restore not only peace, but trust and confidence.

We will first deal with the economy and infrastructure. On a daily basis we receive new information about the scale of the task we face, as infrastructure and facilities are being ruined. No one wants this war, so we are talking about the restoration of peace on the basis of de-escalation. The plan’s implementation is being debated in trilateral talks that include representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the Swiss OSCE chairmanship as well as European Union representation. The necessary precondition is to stop the use of force.

Before my plan was made public, it was debated with representatives of all legitimate bodies of power in Donbass. The business elite, who represent the biggest enterprises in the Donetsk region, unanimously support it. The unilateral cease-fire became effective as of 10 p.m. on 20 June and will last until 10 p.m. tomorrow. Our task has been to switch from military defence of the border to control by peaceful means. Once that is sustainable, we will look to the OSCE to step up its efforts in establishing strict, unbiased monitoring on the ground and at every check point to stop the in-flow of insurgents, tanks and armoured vehicles.

We are ready to call officially on the Russian representatives to get involved in monitoring the Ukraine border to ensure that the obligations that we have undertaken are strictly observed. The peace plan was supported by all major countries of the world and Ukraine is extremely grateful to them for that. At the same time, it is clear that the peace plan will work only if Russia plays along. Sadly, so far Moscow’s support has been insufficient. It is good news that the Russian Federation Council is not going to declare war on Ukraine, but, while Russia has not declared war, war is being waged at this very minute because it has not pulled back its mercenaries, so well-equipped and highly motivated militants are coming in.

During our phone conversation with Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, President Putin pledged his support for the peace plan. We now hope that real progress will be made.

From this podium, I urge Russia once again to contribute to resolving the situation. Please support the peace plan with deeds and not just words. With deeds, we can stop the deaths of military and civilian people who uphold and defend the territorial integrity and unity of the country, so we await those actions. Strengthen the border control. Stop the illegal infiltration of military vehicles into Ukraine. Stop recruiting mercenaries and, finally, pull back military forces from the border. The people of Ukraine do not want war or anarchy. We will not permit the ideas of separatism, which have been planted in Ukraine unofficially from outside. Ukraine is solid and unified.

It is vital to stop the lies and hatred being spread by Russian media, which do not contribute to the restoration of peace. The regions and local communities strive for more authority at the local level and more autonomy in decision making. They also want the right to speak and sing songs in the languages they choose and to lay wreaths of flowers on monuments as they see fit. All of that will be provided to them by the decentralisation of power programme in my proposed constitutional amendment. The European Parliament today registered those draft amendments to the constitution.

Never before in Ukraine has a president who won the election and therefore had the authority to nominate the heads of local districts and regions called to devolve power to the regions. I believe that that idea will be supported by the Ukrainian Parliament now. The early local elections are to be held in Ukraine in connection with the amendments to the constitution so that the elected leaders of the territorial councils will receive new powers and responsibilities. The elected representatives will establish local councils, which in turn will form executive committees.

A separate problem is the restoration of the economy in the Donetsk region. I am pleased that, with our partners from the European Union and the United States of America, we have drawn up a job creation programme that will attract investment and a draft programme on economic reconstruction for the region that will settle the distribution of funds between the centre and the regions. Decentralisation reform will be implemented fully in line with the principles of the European charter of local self-government through my amendments to the constitution.

I support the Council of Europe investigation panel’s view that we should have a discussion with the Secretary General to investigate the use of force at the Maidan on 18, 19 and 20 February as well as the tragic events in Odessa on 2 May. We are ready to co-operate so that the world can see that those guilty of those tragedies will be prosecuted.

Ukraine is going through a time of challenge, but also a time of hope. Our choice is to build a strong democracy that will have a respected place in the family of European nations. Our way is towards the European Union. That is why tomorrow, 27 June, I, as President of Ukraine, will sign the association agreement with the European Union.

The European Union is a success story for us – a state model and time-tested sequence of reforms. When I was asked about the reforms I would make as president, it was very easy for me to answer. Everything is included in the association agreement and we will start implementing it immediately after signing it. The last aspect is especially important as Ukraine embarks on the path of economic integration and political association with the European Union. We will surely seize this historic chance.

The reforms are long overdue and Ukraine needs a new social contract. It must give Ukraine a viable system of governance that will protect the citizens from external threats and create the necessary basis for social, economic and cultural development. At the same time, I want to make it clear that we do not need change at any cost. Some elements are not subject to discussion – the parliamentary-presidential model, the unitary system, European integration, and the existing language system, with one official language plus multiple regional languages, with a comprehensive guarantee of the development and use of every minority language. Everything else can be subject to wide public debate, and I can assure you that such debates are already under way.

I am confident about the parliamentary elections. The lack of a relevant level of representation is felt especially in Donbass and Donetsk in the east, but I am confident that the new parliament will be elected on a new proportional basis with open lists. Voters need to know each candidate personally. The government will be formed primarily by the prime minister and approved by parliament. The president should maintain the function of control.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has reiterated many times the need for reform of the judicial and legal systems. The last couple of months have shown how critical such reforms are. We need more public control over the appointment and work of the judges. We need practical guarantees of the independence of the judiciary from other branches of power. We have to change the role and functions of the prosecutor general’s office to transform it from an instrument of persecution to the means of upholding the law and the protection of human rights. The new basis of the judicial system needs to be duly reflected in the amendments to the constitution. The fight against corruption, the nomination of judges and the overall modernisation of public service will complete the picture of a new judiciary in Ukraine.

The last couple of months have had a formative effect on our common future. The events in Ukraine are shaping the new Europe, and whether it will be united or split, stable or fragile. The future and spirit of Europe depend on how the situation in Ukraine is settled, and if it develops based on international law or on the law of power. It is a choice that each and every one of us must make on our own. The turmoil in Ukraine started because the people of our country did not want to say no to democracy and the European approach. It continued because someone decided to punish Ukraine for that choice. It will stop when common sense and European values prevail over aggression. Help us in that struggle, and tomorrow’s Europe will be united, stable and morally strong. Thank you very much for the solidarity with Ukraine that you have demonstrated, because we badly need it. Glory to Ukraine!


Thank you very much, Mr President. You will have gathered from the applause the strength of our support, not only in the Assembly but in the whole Council of Europe.

We will now have questions, with the first from Mr Gross on behalf of the Socialist Group.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland)

My question is basic. You have already had two revolutions. After the first one, the authorities disappointed millions of people, and especially the young. What did you learn from the first experience and how will you prevent the same mistakes being made again?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

The whole of Ukraine – the people and the authorities – have learned from the mistakes. That is why the second revolution is completely different. The reason for the second revolution is very simple. The people on the streets were not demanding increased salaries or pensions, the lowering of taxes or any other demands that are normal in a democratic society. They were demanding a European future. That is very clear. They were demanding the signing of the association agreement because it was the only chance to reform the country.

The people were also demanding immediate action on democracy. We have already passed the first test with the presidential election. Ukraine has never before had such a free, fair and transparent presidential election. It demonstrated that the people of Ukraine are united, because every region of the country supported one candidate. We have demonstrated that we are ready for reform, ready for Europe and ready for peace. We will fulfil the expectations of the Ukrainian people.

Ms ČIGĀNE (Latvia)

It appears that the key to a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian situation is an ability to control the Russian-Ukrainian border. What concrete steps are you taking towards that goal?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

Thank you for that question. From the first day that I became president, my top priority was renewed control of the Russian-Ukrainian border. On 7 June, 287 kilometres of the border were uncontrolled. Through a military operation, we have renewed control over the whole border. Ukrainian border control officers are in place at the crucial border posts. Immediately after the cease-fire, when we could not use force, one of the border posts was captured again by the bandits. However, I can assure you that our military forces at the border posts have removed the possibility of sending tanks, armoured personnel carriers and troops into Ukraine.

We need a strong form of co-operation with Russia, because we cannot have the uncontrolled flow of heavy artillery, tanks and troops to shift the balance in the region. That was one of the major points in yesterday’s negotiation with President Putin. We are interested in inviting inspectors from the OSCE and other international organisations to monitor the situation on the border. I am sure that it is possible to keep control on the border, because that is a key factor in the peace plan. Without that, we cannot talk about peace.


What is the president’s current plan of action to fight corruption and inspire confidence in the Government?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

That is the top priority for the reforms. Like a cancer, corruption paralysed the Ukrainian Government and authority system. Without a transparent fight against corruption, we have no chance of success. That is why my first proposal would be not only to appoint a general prosecutor who would be responsible for corruption, but to implement the package of anti-corruption reforms that is an integral part of the association agreement with the European Union. Significant parts of the changes to legislation have already been done. Now, as we begin to implement them, we must make the process transparent, well understood and effective, and take quick steps. We are ready for that, and I am absolutely sure that, with a new president and government, the political will in Ukraine will bring very quick results.


Thank you very much for your excellent speech, Mr President. In the past six days you have introduced a unilateral cease-fire in the eastern regions of Ukraine and an ambitious new peace plan. The cease-fire will end tomorrow. Based on the reactions to your efforts towards peace, especially from President Putin, are you optimistic that your plan will make a lasting difference?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

It is a very important and key challenge that Ukraine demonstrates, by not only its words but by its actions, its will to peace. I repeat that we have paid a very high price for demonstrating that, but it was a unilateral cease-fire. It was a well-co-ordinated international action, and the whole world now has evidence that Ukraine is ready to go the peaceful way to resolve the conflict.

I will give a simple example. Yesterday, we agreed that today we would hold a meeting with the trilateral commission – a representative of the Russian Ambassador, the ex-President of Ukraine and the ambassador from the OSCE. They are collected together, but unfortunately we do not have a representative from the separatists because they are not interested. That is very symbolic for the prospect of peaceful regulation of the current situation. Tomorrow will be the end point. I have had it confirmed that only half an hour ago the separatists demonstrated their interest in participating, less than 12 hours before the end of the ceasefire. A lot depends on tomorrow’s negotiations. If a key element of the peace plan is accepted by the separatists, that will give us strong hopes. If it is rejected, we will have to make a very important decision tomorrow. I cannot comment on what type of decision we will make.

Mr HUNKO (Germany) (interpretation)

Thank you very much for your statement, Mr Poroshenko. This morning, we debated the humanitarian consequences extensively, particularly those in the eastern part of Ukraine where there are many refugees. There is a lot of hope attached to the cease-fire: on the basis of the current information about whether the separatists are prepared to engage in talks with you, would you be prepared to extend the cease-fire tomorrow? Would that be a good way to pave the way for further negotiations?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

Thank you for your question. The fact that you had that debate this morning is a good demonstration of the kind of attention the Parliamentary Assembly pays to the Ukrainian question. That is very important to us.

To answer your question, my first point is that the separatists have not ceased fire. Over all six days that the Ukrainian army has been keeping the cease-fire and opening fire only in return, it has been attacked by separatists. They have made a public statement that they do not recognise the peace plan or the cease-fire. Today, after yesterday’s phone conversation with the Russian President, their position changed. We will see tomorrow.

On the humanitarian question, as I have said, we risked the lives of our workers in yesterday in order to restore the energy, water and electricity supply to Donetsk, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, where for 10, 12 or 14 days people have been without electricity and water. We used the cease-fire to restore the supply, although the workers were under the fire of the separatists. We arranged special conditions for those people who should leave Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Donbass. We created for them the conditions in which they can wait for the situation to improve.

As I told you, my top priority is peace. That is why I developed the peace plan, why we provided changes to the constitutional legislation, why we proposed an amnesty law, and why we are engaged in very important international negotiations. Unfortunately, if we offer our hands in peace but they are left hanging in the air, it would be very difficult for us to remain in that position for a long period of time. That is why this is an important moment not only for Ukraine or Donbass, or for bilateral relations between Russia and Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe. These things can happen in any country if we do not demonstrate solidarity and create mechanisms to maintain stability and security in Europe.


I propose to group questions together in threes to allow more members to ask questions.

Mr FOURNIER (France) (interpretation)

The Ukrainian people have expressed their exasperation with the corruption that plagues Ukraine, especially during the protests on Maidan Square. You have just said that you would like to establish a national anti-corruption plan that would cover all public representatives. What is the timetable for that and which measures should be tackled first?

Ms BECK (Germany) (interpretation)

Thank you for the conviction expressed in your statement. You have done a very good service to your country and to its sovereign recognition. It seems that the Russian President has agreed to the peace plan, but he has said that he has no influence over the separatists. What is your view on that?

Mr BADEA (Romania) (interpretation)

I congratulate you on your bravery and on your decision to bring Ukraine into our European family, where it belongs. In the context of the ruling by the constitutional court of the Republic of Moldova that the official language of Moldova is Romanian, will Ukraine continue to consider the so-called Moldovan language as a regional or minority language?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

First, corruption is a key challenge for us. If we do not demonstrate quick results in the fight against corruption, we will lose every battle. We need not only changes to legislation – we have had a lot of laws before – but practical, critical results that the Ukrainian authorities can demonstrate now. That was the main message that I gave to the prosecutor general last week – I want immediate results. No person should be outside the law in Ukraine, and I am very optimistic, because corruption can exist in a country only when it has the umbrella of the absence of political will to fight against it. Now, we are ruining that umbrella and demonstrating that there is political will in the country and that we are fighting. The people should trust us, and without that we cannot gain the trust of the people. The whole of Ukraine and all the authorities now understand that, I promise you.

Thank you very much, Ms Beck, for your words of support for the sovereignty of Ukraine. You are absolutely right that at the election, there was a very important challenge. The election had to be absolutely transparent and as good as we could make it in order to be recognised. The number of observers that we had during the election simply leaves nobody with a chance not to recognise the new authorities, the new president and the new Ukraine. That is the first small, but very important, victory. You are absolutely right about that.

Mr Badea, your question was on the key issue of decentralisation. In our parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe, we have Mr Popescu, who represents the Romanian minority in the parliament. The key issue of decentralisation is that never, ever again will the question of language and culture break my country’s unity. Defending the rights of minorities is my top priority, and I refer to the Romanian, Slovakian and Russian minorities, and to the Crimean Tatars. I am very proud that today, a representative of the Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Dzhemiliev, is with us. He is a great leader of the Crimean Tatars and a great Ukrainian patriot and Ukrainian hero. When we demonstrate that relationship with the national minorities, it will keep the nation together. That is very important.

Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova)

I congratulate you on your personal victory and on the event that will take place tomorrow in Brussels. I am very glad that Ukraine and Moldova are together on the European path. Ukraine is facing many challenges, and one of them is separatism. As you know, Ukraine plays a key role in solving the Transnistrian separatist conflict. What is your view on that? Can we be more hopeful of solving that conflict with you leading Ukraine?

Mr NÉMETH (Hungary)

Warm regards and congratulations on your election. I also congratulate you on your agreement with the cultural alliance of the Hungarians in Subcarpathia.

After the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement, the next step in your relationship relates to Ukraine’s visa-free regime for the European Union. Do you see that as a priority, and do you believe that it could be installed this year? Are you prepared for that, and what are your expectations?

Mr JENSSEN (Norway)

Congratulations, Mr President. Your challenges seem formidable – achieving peace in the east and continuing to make ties with Europe and the European Union, and, at the same time, several domestic issues such as fighting corruption, making democratic reforms and ensuring the rights of minorities. Can you assure the Assembly that even in times of international turmoil, border turmoil and violence you will keep democratic reforms and human rights issues high on your agenda?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

On the first question, I have great experience of solving the question of Transnistria. We should not give any separatist movement any chance, because at the beginning of the 1990s Moldova had a similar process to the one that we now have in the Donetsk and Luhansk region, and it tried to freeze the conflict using Russian peacekeepers. In Transnistria, for almost 30 years hundreds of thousands of people have lived in very poor conditions, without democracy or economic development and with corruption. That is a very good lesson that we should learn in working out how to avoid the Transnistria scenario in the Donetsk and Luhansk region. Moldova paid a very high price for that, and we are a great supporter of Moldovan unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty. The fact that we will be together tomorrow signing an association agreement will improve our chance of solving the question of the frozen conflict that has existed for years and years, through the joint efforts of Ukraine, Moldova and the European Union, and with the possible participation of Russia.

On the visa-free regime, tomorrow I will sign the second part of the DCFTA, which is very important for my country. We have already made decisions during the first phase of the visa-free regime, and I am absolutely sure that in the second half of the year, Ukraine will implement the laws that we passed during that first phase. We have a great chance to have a visa-free regime for all Ukrainians on 1 January 2015. During the revolution, Ukrainians have passed important exams in democracy and in being European. That is important for me.

But this is not the end. We not only want to have a full association agreement, the DCFTA and a visa-free regime; my main purpose is to provide reform so effectively that within a short period Ukraine can be granted a European Union membership perspective. We count on your support, colleagues, on that very important question.

On your question, Mr Jenssen, about maintaining democratic standards and providing democratic reform, it is impossible to obtain a European Union membership perspective without democracy, without effective economic reform, without meeting the economic, democratic and social criteria and so on. That is my top priority, because I am positive that we will solve the questions of war and peace and of security this year. The truth is with us, God is with us, and Europe and the whole world are with us, and our opponent is in complete isolation. There will be peaceful victory together.

Mr DÍAZ TEJERA (Spain) (interpretation)

I always like to thank those who work for regional stability, so I commend you on your work and wish you the best of success.

I have a question about the future, as I think it is important for us to take a rest from the present. Your most important task will be to set up a new judiciary. Drawing up legislation is easy, but it is difficult to train judges, who should only consider the application of the law. They might receive instructions from whatever powers that be, but they should disregard them and should only abide by and apply the law. That is important for their professional lives and for their independence in their personal lives. How will you help the country to build up a new judiciary along those lines?

Mr VILLUMSEN (Denmark)

When I visited Ukraine, I spoke to the chairman of Svoboda, who said that he wanted to ban the Communist Party. Others have also proposed that. Do you agree that banning parties, whether they are the Communist Party or the Party of Regions, is not a democratic step? Are you not worried that the participation of Svoboda and the Right Sector party in government is creating some of the mistrust in the eastern part of the country?

Ms MATTILA (Finland)

You have just given a practical example of the need for relief work as people have been without electricity or water for several days. How do you view the situation for NGOs in Ukraine today? Are humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross and the Red Crescent able to help without any threat?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

On court reform, I will be absolutely open and frank with you. For me, the most difficult and complicated question is that of peace and security but the second is court reform. You are absolutely right that we can all write laws, but we cannot easily create new judges and a new independent court system. That is an important challenge for us, working in effective co-operation with the European Union and the Council of Europe. We want a court system that is absolutely independent and transparent. We will build on this relationship and I think we have a great chance of establishing that. It is difficult to start court reform when the level of trust in the courts is less than 4%. Can you imagine the starting conditions necessary for doing that? Without an independent court system, we cannot fight corruption, and that is connected to reform. Court reform is one of the top priorities and Mr Díaz Tejera is absolutely right.

On the question of the parties, my personal opinion is that it is right to ban a party in that if people do not support a party it should be banned by an election. If you provide an election, certain parties, including the Communist Party, would not be supported by the voters. That is the most democratic way to remove the party from political life, allocating responsibility for the old blood and the victims of the Maidan, as Communist Party representatives in particular voted in organising all those type of things. What is the most democratic way to remove the party? Early parliamentary elections, which I have tried to declare. I positively hope that they will take place in October.

As for the Right Sector and other parties, again, the propaganda said that support for the nationalists is high in our society but altogether all the candidates from the nationalist parties received less than 2% of the vote. That is good evidence that Ukrainian society is quite healthy and Ukrainian voters are responsible. Those messages were simply not true and in a democratic society, we can treat ourselves through elections.

The humanitarian situation is difficult, it is true. We provide effective co-operation with the United Nations and the OSCE and we try to do our best to help people, but it is very dangerous to go in to the conflict zone. Every day, hostages are captured, including representatives of the humanitarian mission. We should take into account that this is not just a problem of war and peace but a problem with the humanitarian regime. We cannot wait a long time for people to come to the negotiation table because on every day that we wait people would be killed and the humanitarian problems would increase. We need to act quickly and effectively.

Mr CHISU (Canada)

I congratulate you on your election. Canada has condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine. Those actions are a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Canada does not recognise the legitimacy of the outcomes of the independence referendums in eastern and southern Ukraine or Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea. How will you put an end to the further destabilisation of Ukraine and restore its national territorial integrity?

Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania)

Thank you for defending the values of this Council of Europe over the six months between the Vilnius Summit and tomorrow, when you will sign the agreement. Our key values were defended in Kiev and the Maidan and you changed history. What can you do about the speed of economic reforms to ensure the future success of your economy? Also, you just talked about hostages. One hostage, or political prisoner, is Mr Dzhemiliev’s son. What can be done to liberate him from prison?

Mr KENNEDY (United Kingdom)

I welcome you and wish you well. Given your forthcoming discussions in Brussels, in which your Foreign Minister has already been engaged – you will understand that I ask this from a British perspective, given what has happened this week – are you concerned about the undue attention of the leaders there on their own internal European Union presidential candidacies? To what extent is that in danger of detracting or distracting from the profound issues you have to put before them?

Mr Porochenko, President of Ukraine

First, let me thank all the countries who participated in the last group of questions. Canada was one of the first to support us in our independence, as it was the first country to recognise Ukrainian independence. All this time, Canada has been one of the strongest advocates of Ukrainian independence and has supported Ukrainian sovereignty. We have a responsibility and we are absolutely sure that, together, we can win the fight for peace and provide reform. We have already had very effective bilateral consultation with the Canadian Government. The Canadian Prime Minister attended my inauguration and I am very satisfied with his perspective on Canadian assistance with reform.

In answer to the question from Lithuania, the Euromaidan started at the time of the summit in Vilnius. You will remember how great our disappointment was when former President Yanukovych refused to sign the well-prepared association agreement. That gave us an additional argument for fighting for our country and our European future. The support of Lithuania and President Grybauskaitė was continuous. I remember her speech at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. Again, the key issue for us is solidarity, and that people consider Ukrainian pain and problems their own. Ukraine will do the same by understanding the level of European problems. We are one European family. We should keep together and we are together. This is very important to us.

It is the same with the question from the United Kingdom. That country is our strongest advocate in Europe. When I meet Prime Minister Cameron and opposition leader Miliband, Ukraine is one of the few questions on which they are strongly together. There is a very high level of responsibility on us, and on me personally, now that so many have views on Ukraine. I understand how important it is to be adequate to this expectation. I understand that it is probably the last chance for a democratic, European Ukraine. We need to win this battle together – it is that simple.

Thanks to all of you for your support and for this session. It is very important to us to have such support at present, as it was in the past when you took decisions on the Crimean occupation and aggression. I hope to have your support in the future.


Thank you very much, President Poroshenko. You really can count on the support of all of us.