President Petro Poroshenko held the first press conference in the New Year. In his speech, he mentioned the key achievements and the most important issues in the life of the country and the nation.
The main achievement in 2015
Today, we can surely say Ukraine held out and created preconditions for development. Actually, it’s the main achievement in the previous year. We – the society, the army, the government – significantly strengthened the defense capability of the state.
War in Donbas, peaceful settlement of the conflict and returning Crimea to Ukraine
I defined the following priorities for 2016: first of all, securing peace and returning Donbas to Ukraine. We expect to reinstate the Ukrainian sovereignty over the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The struggle to get Crimea back is another priority that remains on the agenda. I am absolutely sure the best option to start such process would be the so-called “Geneva Plus”, including our partners from the EU, USA and, probably, the countries that signed the Budapest memorandum.
We’ve got irrefutable evidence of crossing of Ukraine’s border by Russia’s brand new military vehicles and Russian army units. And we demand that the occupant forces be withdrawn from Ukraine. The OSCE must gain access to the infrastructure of Donbas so as to check and create all conditions for political settlement of the situation.
The day before the meeting in Minsk (on January 13, – 112 International), I had a conversation with members of Minsk Trilateral Contact Group, and I had an opportunity to confirm the stability of Ukrainian positions. The key issue here is restoration of Kyiv’s control over the state border of Ukraine.
(As for the recent meeting in Kyiv with Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s representative in the Minsk Group, - 112 International) I will meet anyone to get home Ukrainian heroes – Savchenko, Sentsov, Kolchenko; to bring back Ukrainian hostages, the POWs who stay captured in the rebel-held areas of Donbas and in Russia; to secure the absolute ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and stop attacks at Ukrainian positions. This meeting (with Gryzlov, - 112 International) wasn’t the first one. There’s nothing new about that.
Economy and energy security
Apart from the military aggression, Russia also launched economic aggression. It is a large-scale economic aggression in the shape of embargo, when goods of Ukrainian producers are simply not allowed into Russia.
Summing up the previous year, I should say we finally gained economic independence from the Russian Federation. Itwasfinallybroughttolife. We got off the Russian gas needle that seemed like an eternal curse for decades, since Ukraine gained political independence. No one, even in their bravest dreams, could ever think Ukraine will gain independence from Russian gas. In the future, the energy system of Ukraine should be integrated with the united European energy market. I’m sure we will keep on walking this path in 2016.