Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko arrived in New York on September 18 to participate in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, to take part in the UN Security Council summit on peacemaking, high-level events concerning UN reforming, and on countering the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.
In Ukraine, it is rumored that, that the president at the UN Security Council in particular will insist on an expanded mandate for peacekeepers, including permission to use weapons - and not just for self-defense.
Apparently, this goes against the vision of the peacekeeping mission in Donbas of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin adheres to the position that peacekeepers should be deployed only on the conflict line and agree on their presence with the militants of Donbas occupied territories. Therefore, in Ukraine everyone expects Poroshenko's speech at the UN General Assembly session, which is scheduled for today, September 20.
In the meantime, the head of state visited U.S. Military Academy in West Point, met with the leaders of local Ukrainian community, representatives of Crimean Tatar organizations and international investment institutions, and also held talks with a number of high-ranking officials of the world community. Let's try to summarize the main topics raised by the President of Ukraine during the meetings with leaders of other states.
Bilateral cooperation and trade
The first thing Poroshenko drew attention to is bilateral cooperation and trade between countries. In conversation with the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö he stressed the need to strengthen the Ukrainian-Finnish bilateral cooperation, as well as the importance of having a coordinated position to counter the construction of a politically motivated Nord Stream-2 project.
The head of state praised the intentions of the Finnish business delegation to make a visit to Ukraine shortly. The President expressed gratitude to the Finnish party for supporting the projects in our state in the education and energy spheres.
President also met President of Poland Andrzej Duda. The sides discussed the number of bilateral issues, including security. Also, they discussed the strengthening of cooperation between the countries in energy security and cross-border cooperation spheres. Moreover, the presidents discussed closer cooperation between defensive bodies of both Poland and Ukraine in the context of holding of the Russian-Belarusian West-2017 military drills. President Duda noted that Poland consistently supports Ukraine on the path to the EU membership.
As we reported earlier, week-long military exercises West-2017 with the participation of Belarusian and Russian troops started on September 14 in Belarus near the border with Ukraine and Poland. Ukraine and member countries of the NATO’s eastern flank are concerned about West-2017. Belarus insists there are 12,700 soldiers participating in drills. However according to the National Defense Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov, the real number of participants of all activities in the framework of the West-2017 is estimated at 230-240 thousand people, more than 10 thousand units of military equipment, about 100 aircraft and 40 ships/submarines of various classes.
In the framework of the UN General Assembly, President spoke to President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen and a President of Slovakia Andrej Kiska and noted a positive trend in bilateral trade, in particular because of the entry into force of deep and comprehensive free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU.
With Andrej Kiska they noted the importance of holding the sessions of the bilateral Ukrainian-Slovak commissions in the sphere of economy, industry, scientific-technical cooperation, cross-border cooperation, and tourism by the end of the year. The parties agreed to enhance interaction in the establishment of the joint border and customs control on the state border between the two countries for increasing the efficiency of struggle with illegal migration and smuggling.
The Slovak side reacted with understanding to the arguments of the President of Ukraine about the Parliament’s voting for the law on education.
The Presidents discussed topical issues of bilateral economic cooperation, including the reconstruction of the road Odesa - Bolgrad - Reni with President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, as well as the protection of the rights of the national minority.
The situation in Donbas and the strategy of de-occupation of Crimea
The second topic raised during the meetings with all without exception the previously mentioned leaders of countries, as well as European Union President Donald Tusk and the high representative of EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini is the situation in the east of Ukraine and the strategy for de-occupation of Crimea.
Poroshenko informed each his high-ranking colleague about the development of the situation in Donbas, the implementation of Minsk agreement and outlined the vision of the strategy of Crimea’s de-occupation.
In addition, the parties coordinated approaches to the possible deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission throughout the territory of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including the uncontrolled section of the Ukraine-Russia state border.
The head of state emphasized that Ukraine counts on greater support from the EU in the liberation of the Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and Crimea.
European integration and visa-free regime
The third important topic for discussion at the bilateral meetings with the leaders of European countries was the further European integration of Ukraine. In particular, the head of the Ukrainian state thanked Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria for their continued support in the issue of introducing a visa-free regime between our countries and the European Union and for support on the way to EU membership.
Separately, Poroshenko expressed hope for continued effective cooperation between Ukraine and Bulgaria during the presidency of the latter in the EU Council in 2018.
It is noted that during the meeting between Poroshenko and Mogherini the cooperation of Ukraine and the European Union was discussed, including the promotion of Ukrainian Eurointegration.The parties discussed new strategic goals for Ukraine's European integration: the President called on the High Representative to support the initiatives of the Ukrainian side, promote further rapprochement with the EU and fundamental internal reforms in Ukraine," the report said.
What was said about Ukraine at the UN General Assembly on September 19
On the same day, a general debate was held at the UN HQ in New York, during which the heads of coundries and governments discussed ways to solve the global problems of our time. Among other things, Ukraine was mentioned.
Thus, in his speech at the UN General Assembly session, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the world should respect the sovereignty of each country - from Ukraine to the South China Sea.
"If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests, and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow "he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron in his speech at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly said it was necessary to ensure an effective ceasefire regime in Ukraine, and for this, the sides need to constantly fulfill their obligations.
"In Ukraine, we must constantly fulfill our obligations and ensure an effective ceasefire, gradually, as we did together with Germany, so that the parties there adhere to international law and ultimately reach the end of the conflict," he said.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said the world should not forget about who does the atrocities in the territory of Ukraine.
“The current attention is focused on North Korea and some other regions. However, the same methods of intimidation, humiliation, and aggression are used both in Russia and Ukraine and along NATO’s eastern border with Russia. This moment, when our meeting takes place, over 100 thousand Russian troops take part in West-2017 military exercises. The Kremlin trains attack their neighbors. They are preparing their soldiers for the attack against the West,” she noted.
The President stated that despite Russia’s special responsibility as permanent member of the Security Council to protect international peace, it violated the UN Charter by attacking Georgia, illegally annexing Crimea, and directly participating in the war in Eastern Ukraine.
President of Lithuania called on the international community to unite in order to stop the aggressors.
In his turn, the president of Poland Andrzej Duda noted that his country wants to join the formation of an international order that will be based on the principles of political sovereignty and territorial integrity, including in the issue of Georgia and Ukraine.
Duda assured that Poland, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2018-2019, will insist that all disputes and conflicts be resolved on the principle of a "peaceful solution".
It is noteworthy that before the speech by Grybauskaite, the Russian delegation left the meeting room.