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Ukrainians, you have right to change power when you consider it necessary, - Poroshenko

Author : Petro Poroshenko

Speech of Petro Poroshenko after the defeat in Ukrainian presidential elections
22:28, 22 April 2019

Petro Poroshenko, video message on April 5, screenshot
YouTube/ScreenShot

Friends, you are the best, thank you very much. My dear team, dear compatriots, dear Ukraine, dear Ukrainians around the world. Dear friends.

Never give up! Never, never, never! Do not give up in large, give up in small, neither large nor small, never give up, if it does not contradict the honor and common sense. It was these words of great Briton Winston Churchill that I was always guided by. Never give up, - I heard in 2014 when I received a robbed and disarmed country from Yanukovych. And I want to stress that, by the way, that time there were much fewer people willing to become president, there was definitely no queue. Never give up, - I heard when I made the decision again as a presidential candidate in 2019. And it was clear how fierce struggle was expected against the background of that dirty information war that my political opponents were waging against me from the inside, and outside there were Russian fake news and a powerful propaganda machine of hybrid war.

Never give up, - I hear now when I see these results of exit polls. And they are obvious and give reason to call my opponent now and congratulate him. To do so - this is the first time in practice - as is customary in civilized European democratic countries. Do this today, on April 21, because I always have to remember that tomorrow will come April 22, and we need - each of us, each of my team members, a fantastic team, friends - from April 22, we need to unite and protect Ukraine, and our joint efforts are needed.

Dear Ukrainians! Next month I will leave the post of the head of state. Most of Ukrainians decided this, and I accept their decision. I will leave the office, but I want to emphasize firmly: I am not leaving politics. I remain in politics, I will fight for Ukraine and I want to separately explain why. Because our team must protect the achievements that we, together with the Ukrainian people, won in extremely difficult conditions during these 5 years. To defend the European and Euro-Atlantic strategy, those principles, those goals, those absolutely obvious frontiers that we have reached in these 5 years, and which are now, unfortunately, put at risk. Our team will protect them. Our team will defend the course towards EU and NATO membership. Our team stresses: only in this strongest and most powerful security organization in the world can we guarantee the security of Ukraine and the security of every citizen. We can get reliable protection from Russia as from the aggressor country. Our team will protect the visa-free regime. Because individual members of the Constitutional Court very quickly reoriented themselves to the new government and now they plan to declare electronic declaration unconstitutional, and that was the condition for the visa-free regime. We will defend our goal because this is the right that my people have won, which we have achieved in the last 5 years. Our team will defend the Ukrainian army from attacks from within the country and any attempts to diminish the historical significance of its feat. If the Verkhovna Rada adopts a law on language next week, I will be happy and proud that I, as president of Ukraine, will be able to sign it. And I will sign it.

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Today is Palm Sunday, and I spent the morning with my family with a prayer in St. Michael's Cathedral. And our team will protect the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from revenge. And we will not allow this revenge, because when we removed the yoke of the Russian Church and Russia from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, this became another solid foundation of our state-making, our spirituality. And, by the way, we are still waiting for an apology for the "thermos" (Zelensky's joke about Tomos - ed.). Our team will protect the stability of the financial and banking system since it is already obvious that they are planning to pay off Kolomoisky for electoral support by returning PrivatBank. The abolition of its nationalization will create risks for the funds of tens of millions of investors, Ukrainians, and we will defend them. And besides, it will provoke a powerful crisis in our relations with international financial organizations and, as a result, the hryvnia will fall and a new economic crisis will occur. We must not allow this to happen.

Our team will defend a powerful global international coalition, which we carefully created these 5 years to support Ukraine, and if Minsk agreements would not be implemented, our team will defend the continuation of the sanctions regime against Russia as a single mechanism to ensure fulfillment of their obligations to de-occupy Donbas and free Crimea. Our team will oppose the plans of the Kremlin to form a loyal majority during the parliamentary elections, and this is another reason why I should stay in politics and defend the state.

And our team will defend decentralization, inclusive education, a new Ukrainian school, rural medicine reform, e-procurement, competitions in public service, energy independence of our state, energy efficiency. Our team will defend everything that we have done in these 5 years, and I am proud of what our team has done, because our team is all of Ukraine, and it became real through your efforts. Because if I did not have your support, you, all of Ukrainians, - then nothing would have happened.

Dear Ukrainians, I want to emphasize that the new president will have a strong opposition, a very strong one. But I want to say that our country, our Ukraine will only benefit from this. I know this for sure because we can win only when democracy, rule of law, protection of human rights, ensuring the growth of welfare and everything characterized by the name "European development direction" prevails in Ukraine.

And at the same time, I want to emphasize that no one could even doubt that, I and my whole team are ready to help the president in all his decisions that will meet the national interests of Ukraine and will bring us closer to the EU and NATO. And between the official announcement of the election and the inauguration, I am ready to spend any time without any restrictions in order to help the new president get up to date in the smallest detail. Moreover, I am ready to hand over to him the entire network of international support for Ukraine, this network that we have so carefully built over the years.

And one more very important, friends: the elections were fair. The elections were transparent, the elections were held in full compliance with European standards. And I want to emphasize that in the conditions of the war, in the conditions of the Russian aggression, we have preserved democracy, preserved the right of Ukrainians to vote and have already carried out two presidential campaigns (one parliamentary, local), and we remain the only democratic country in the post-Soviet space from all the peoples of the former Soviet Union. Dear Ukrainians, we are united where there is a real, not a paper, right to change power when you, Ukrainians, consider it necessary. This is our biggest achievement. This is a sign of a European democratic country, and I am proud that I, Petro Poroshenko, defended this right of Ukrainians.

Today, April 21, I would like to thank all Ukrainians, firstly, for working together for 5 years on solving problems of historical scale, strategic tasks that stood before Ukraine and in the solution of which we have jointly advanced far, have made work. And it is nice that all our international partners have clearly stated that during the 5 years of Poroshenko’s presidency, much more has been done than in a quarter of a century before. This is our victory.

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But I also want to say that we still have a lot of unsolved problems ahead, a lot of open wounds, and I emphasize that today Ukraine is much stronger and in a much better condition than 5 years ago. It is a fact. And it is obvious that the people, the Ukrainian people were counting on something more, they wanted more and made the decision that they made. I want to say that I am grateful to every Ukrainian. Friends, I am grateful to you, regardless of whom you voted for on March 31. I am grateful for today's active position. I emphasize once again: I am grateful to my fantastic team, the strongest in Ukraine, the most patriotic, the most professional, the most motivated. Friends, you are the best, and I want to say that these years we have been working on complex reforms, solutions to complex problems. And I want to thank separately those who joined us during the first round. I will definitely continue working; I remain in politics so that you are not ashamed of the vote that was given for Petro Poroshenko and his team.

Separately, I want to thank those who have found the strength to forgive me for my miscalculations and mistakes and rushed to the attack side by side with our team before the second round. Thank you very much. We definitely need to keep this unity and this power, because it is your support and the support of millions of Ukrainian voters that do not allow me to be offended, to stand aside. We should definitely protect Ukraine and precisely should lead it to the future. Today we did not win the fight, but this does not mean that we lost the war. We have a lot of battles ahead, and I want to emphasize to you: Ukraine will definitely win.

I also want to say thanks to my family, because they were tired more than me during these years of my presidency. Believe me, it was not easy. Today we had a very detailed conversation. I want to thank them. Perhaps without joy, but with great understanding, they reacted to my decision to remain in politics. I have their support, and for me, it is extremely important.

Friends, I'm just proud of my wife, and not only because she is a fantastic wife, first lady. I will forever have her image with the Ukrainian flag in the stadium. Maryna, I thank you and thank my children, I thank my father that you are always on my side, and I know that the coming days will be difficult for me psychologically. I definitely have to count on my family, my wife and my team, and we will definitely overcome everything.

You know, well, frankness for frankness. Friends, today I will say one thing that I have never said in public (it is, frankly, very pathetic), but this thing - listen, I love Ukraine. I definitely love it very much. I love my native Ukrainian people, and with this feeling, I was guided by all my years of the difficult presidency.

And over the years they have told a lot of terrible lies about me, and if I could believe in it, I would not have voted for myself. But time will pass, history will put everything in its place. And I would also like to complete with Churchill’s words, which he said on July 26, 1945, when he resigned after the elections, which he could not win. He said: “For me, it remains only to express my deep gratitude to the people of my country for the constant and comprehensive support that they provided me during my service, as well as for the many manifestations of affection to your faithful servant. " But, friends, I am an optimist and stress that everything will be fine, and Ukraine will be a successful country, a great country, a European country, and this is the task of the authorities, and this is the task of the opposition. We will definitely not relieve ourselves of responsibility. Well, I want to finish by saying that I will pray in the current situation. God save Ukraine. Thanks. Friends, thank you very much, thank you very much.

Since there are a lot of English-speaking journalists here, I would like to say a few words.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, friends of Ukraine, who are now in Kyiv or are watching us on TV all over the world. First of all, I would like to thank you for such attention to the electoral process in Ukraine, and I am very glad that we were able to ensure democratic, free, open elections. Undoubtedly, Ukraine was able to establish a new standard for the election campaign. And I am ready to listen to the will of people in Ukraine, and I am very grateful to foreign leaders for the constant support they have provided to Ukraine and me during my presidency. And every day, every minute during these 5 years, we felt your support. And as one of the key political leaders in Ukraine, I will continue to serve Ukraine and will continue to advance the agenda, which concerns accession to the EU, NATO, which concerns decentralization, the fight against corruption, etc. And under any circumstances, in any political position, I will do everything that will depend on me in order to ensure that Ukraine will not change its course.

However, the result of the election leaves us in an incomprehensible situation that is difficult to foresee, and we see a very big question mark about the course of Ukraine as regards the EU and NATO. And we understand that the Kremlin can now rejoice at the results of the elections, because they can assume that when a new inexperienced president comes to power, Ukraine will fall under the sphere of influence of Russia. That is why I want to urge the international community to help Ukraine preserve the choice that Ukraine has made to adhere to the course in the EU and NATO. Please stay with Ukraine in spite of everything, support Ukrainians, our people. And we must be in solidarity, we must be united, we must continue to fight Russian aggression and strengthen the sanctions regime. We are halfway to the final destination, and we must continue to implement the reform agenda, which concerns microeconomic stabilization, the fight against corruption, the creation of a modern army, an association agreement with Europe, a visa-free regime, decentralization, and energy security. And with your help, the Ukrainian nation can achieve this.

There are several key principles to keep. First: Ukraine is a fortress of democracy and the key to security on the continent. Second: nothing can be without Ukraine, as it is linked with Ukraine. Third, it is very important: Crimea is Ukraine, and this is not subject to any discussions. Fourth: Russia must stop its aggression against Ukraine and leave the Ukrainian Donbas. We must return the sovereignty of Ukraine to all regions. Next: Russia must return Ukrainian citizens, and most importantly: we will be stronger if we are together.

Glory to Ukraine!

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