Petro Poroshenko came for the presidential debates at NSC Olimpiysky on April 14. The head of the state entered the hall of Ukraine's most famous sports arena, waiting for his opponent Volodymyr Zelensky to show up and join the discussion. Since the latter failed to appear at the scheduled time, the incumbent head of the state merely answered the questions of the press.
Firing Serhiy Semochko from the office of First Deputy of Ukraine's foreign intelligence service
The President confirmed that Semochko was fired from his office on April 12. Semochko was charged with the illicit enrichment; in October 2018, the NABU (National anti-corruption bureau) opened a criminal investigation against him on this particular arcticle of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Incident with boards featuring Poroshenko and Putin
Poroshenko explained that the idea of placing such boards was never about comparing Putin and Zelensky. 'I'd like to stress this: I never said or will ever say that Putin and Zelensky were equal, that would be wrong. I just want to remind Putin's words that he would be fine with any president of Ukraine but Poroshenko, - that's his dream', Poroshenko said.
The President assured the audience that he came to certain conclusions and corrected some of his mistakes. First of all, he promised that there will be a place in his team for the young enthusiasts who proved their worth in the implementation of decentralization program, for the leaders of united communities.
Poroshenko also promised to change his approach to reforms. 'Every reform, every step should be at first carefully discussed. That's a preparation round so as to win hearts of the society in terms of conducting reforms. If you have no community [trusting you], half of the resources of the reform is doomed. So, we will, of course, walk quite a different path in terms of changes in offices and winning people's trust', the top-level official said.
What would Poroshenko do in case of losing the election?
The President said he would respect the choice of the Ukrainian people, whatever the outcome of the election will be.
'If, God forbid, he (Zelensky, - 112 International) is elected, but it still would be the choice of the Ukrainian people, I would respect this choice - any choice. Why? Because we are the democratic state, and there is no doubts about it', he stressed.
Poroshenko, however, expressed concerns about possible presidency of Zelensky, as he avoids answering the questions, and it remains unclear what is his vision of the European and Antlantic integration of Ukraine, and what would be his first steps in conducting reforms.
Debates at Suspilne TV channel on April 19
'I will do everything for the debates to happen. The only thing I'll refuse is a law infringement. Because the law foresees that the candidates MUST - not 'should' but 'must' - participate in the debates that are supposed to take place at Suspilne TV channel on April 19. I will act by the law, and I assume that the candidates, as law-abiding citizens will show up at Suspline at 8 p.m. April 19', Poroshenko said.
After the questions from the press were over, the President gladly spoke with the voters and took selfies with them. Then, he eventually left the arena.