The change of power is a sign of our belonging to the European civilization. We have kept democracy even in the conditions of Russian aggression. Tomorrow, power goes to the new president, whom you have chosen in fair and free elections.
First of all, I would like to thank the great Ukrainian people for the great honor of working as the head of a great country for five years. The country, which struck the whole world with the power of the national spirit, struck with dignity, struck with stoutness and striving for freedom.
I would especially like to bow to the defenders of Ukraine for the right, opportunity and honor to be the Supreme Commander.
Now, when the passions, agitated by the election campaign, have not yet finally subsided, it is difficult to count on an objective assessment of the path that we have taken from 2014. Time will put everything in its place. Sooner or later the sinner will be separated from the righteous, the grain from the chaff and truth from the lie.
The country is not just survived. It is today in better condition than five years ago, and this is showed by the main statistical indicators. This was achieved only through joint efforts, thanks to the support of the active part of society and the understanding of the majority.
We saved Ukraine and buried the Novorossia. The aggressor, which was much stronger than us, was stopped. We created an army that became one of the strongest on the continent.Relying on the international pro-Ukrainian coalition, it strongly maintains its defense in the east.
We won the diplomatic battle for the ratification of the Association Agreement and reoriented the economy towards the European Union. Trade amount between Ukraine and the EU has more than doubled. And in general, we have never been so close with NATO and the European Union as we are now. Including the visa-free regime, which operates from June 11, 2017.
In parallel with the movement to Europe, we strengthened our Ukrainian identity. This is our own policy of historical memory and decommunization, as well as Tomos, which we received at the beginning of the year. This is also the law on the Ukrainian language, signed by me.
Of course, there are areas where success is much more modest. And even in a short conversation, it is worth paying attention to this. The most offensive for me is that it was not possible to establish peace and restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine. With great delay, we began to restore the standard of living after the economic crisis caused by the Russian aggression.
Taking this opportunity, I once again apologize to all whose hopes have not been met; for whom reforms were especially painful; who over the years, having met with a lie, did not find justice. I already explained: even if you believe that the president can do everything, he cannot do everything at once.
I wish Volodymyr Zelensky a successful presidency. A month ago we were ardent opponents in the elections. But tomorrow, as it happened, he will be the president of my native country. A country that I love and in European future of which I firmly believe. So let the Lord protect Ukraine, and help its new leader at work.
Of course, I am concerned that the positive changes, where they happened, have not yet become irreversible. Therefore, leaving the office of the president, I cannot leave politics. I remain in it not for the sake of some position. In the end, the highest and most honorable office I already held and its nowhere higher to move.
My duty is to rely on the support of the public, to defend what has already been conquered in state-building ... No one should be allowed to either turn away from the course for membership in the European Union and NATO, or quietly let it go.
There is not enough to show pro-European and Euro-Atlantic declarations. We need daily hard work, which my team and I did for five years. This is what a citizen can demand from the new government, and in what he is ready to help the authorities. Any attempts — either rogue or creeping, explicit or hidden — to return the country into the sphere of Russian influence will be resolutely rebuffed.
The strategic goal, which I proclaimed during the election campaign, remains in force - to apply for membership in the European Union by 2023 and receive an Action Plan regarding NATO membership. Only this guarantees the independence of the country and the security of each of us. Achieving such a goal is the task of every responsible citizen. Including me.
I believe in the success of our country and its European future.
Thank you, dear Ukrainians!
Glory to Ukraine!