At the solemn ceremony on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of independence of Ukraine and the Centennial of restoration of Ukraine.
December 10, 2018 Athens
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor to welcome all of you on event devoted to celebrating the 27th Anniversary of the Independent Ukraine and the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian statehood restoration.
27 years are a relatively short period of time in historical sense. But within almost three decades our country has passed a difficult way from totalitarian system to democracy and open economy.
Throughout last four and a half years Ukrainians have been experiencing an incredible test of war and economic crisis caused by Russian aggression.
Russia has been trying hard to divide the people and dismember the country. To block our movement to Europe. But Ukrainian nation withstood. We have become stronger and more confident in our own capabilities. We have laid the foundation for our progress with clear strategic reference points for the European Union and NATO for the future decades.
This year is special as we also celebrate the centenary of Ukrainian Statehood restoration.
During the resent years, facing the existential threat, we have preserved the state. The nation consolidated on the principles of country protection and patriotism. We managed to consolidate the international political and diplomatic support for the independent Ukrainian State.
We have firmly chosen our path of development. Ukraine has managed to implement some fundamental landmark reforms to ensure economic stability and the rule of law along to setting up a solid framework for further economic revival.
We, Ukrainians, rely on our own strengths for further development, but in cooperation with European partners.
The Association Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement with the EU entered into force and, as a result, the share of exports to the EU is now constantly growing.
For more than one year Ukrainians have been enjoying the visa-free regime travel with European Union. More and more Ukrainian tourists are visiting Your beautiful country. We have finally become part of the European space. It makes us proud and strengthens our political independence.
Last year, we celebrated also the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and the Hellenic Republic.
Over this period significant progress has been achieved in relations between the two states, which are based on strong friendship, mutual respect, and common spiritual and cultural heritage.
Parliamentary Friendship Groups aimed at strengthening the inter-parliamentary ties were established in our countries in 2015 and we are glad to welcome their representatives today.
Our countries are determined to strengthen cooperation both at the bilateral level and within the framework of international and regional organizations.
Ukraine and Greece effectively interact in such fora as the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the BSEC.
We express our special gratitude to Greece for its consistent stance regarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Owing to the united efforts of our nations, the traditionally friendly relations between Ukraine and Greece will continue to be actively developed on the basis of mutual respect and trust.
Our nations share common spiritual ideals and democratic social values. It is a significant fact for us that the well-known Greek revolutionary organization “Filiki Eteria”, which played a decisive role in the national struggle for independence of Greece, was born on the Ukrainian soil in the city of Odessa.
Furthermore, since the ancient times the Greek minority resides within Ukrainian lands.
From the moment Ukraine regained its independence, the revival of the national-cultural activity of the numerous Greek community in Ukraine has taken place.
There are Greek national-cultural public associations in the different regions of Ukraine, which are part of the Federation of Greek Societies of Ukraine with its center in the city of Mariupol.
Nowadays, Greek language is taught in more than 40 secondary schools as well as at the State universities in Mariupol, Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv.
The Greek community of Ukraine and the Ukrainian community of Greece are important factors in further friendly cooperation between the two countries.
Like a hundred years ago Ukraine still fought for its own liberty. Just as a hundred years ago, our today’s struggle is for our European conviction.
There cannot be a free body, when the soul is in captivity. Now that we have restored and defended the state independence of Ukraine there is no reason why there should not be the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine equal to the other Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.
The issue of the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine goes far beyond religion. This is another strategic benchmark in our historic way.
Our Government gives all guarantees for the peaceful process of creating the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine with preventing any possible provocations.
Without the restoration of territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state, all borders in Central and Eastern Europe will be uncertain.
Ukraine stands at a forefront. Let me reiterate: it is the Ukrainian army, which, at costs of lives of its heroes, defends peace, stability, democracy and freedom in Europe. It is in Ukraine that the creation of Europe is ongoing.
So, happy anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine and the Ukrainian statehood!
Glory to Ukraine!
To Yours and our success!
To Greek-Ukrainian friendship!
To strong and prosperous Greece!