30 August 2013
On 27 August 2013, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij met with the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leonid Kozhara, during separate meetings in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The UWC President also met in Lviv, Ukraine, with Ukrainian Opposition Leaders, Vitali Klitschko, on 20 August 2013, and Arseniy Yatseniuk, on 21 August 2013.
The main focus of these meetings was Ukraine’s Euro-integration and the fact that it is critically important for Ukraine to fulfill the requirements specified by the European Union (EU) so that the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement can be signed during the Third Summit of the Eastern Partnership member countries to be held on 28-29 November 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Everyone confirmed their support for Ukraine’s Euro‑integration as a top priority.
On the issue of the EU requirement relating to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, President Viktor Yanukovych mentioned that, while the political will is there to resolve this issue, there are currently no legal mechanisms for this to be achieved. Eugene Czolij called on the President of Ukraine to use his presidential powers to this end. He also indicated that the UWC would request that EU high-level officials recommend a viable course of action.
The UWC President assured Ukrainian high-level officials that the UWC will continue to bring to the attention of the international community Russia’s blatant violations of its commitment – given in the 1994 Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – to refrain from using economic coercion against Ukraine to secure advantages of any kind, notably by pressuring Ukraine into joining the Customs Union.
Eugene Czolij also called for Ukraine’s governing authorities to protect the human and national rights of Ukrainians in Russia, and to fulfill Ukraine’s financial obligations towards the Ukrainian community in Slovenia related to the erection of the Taras Shevchenko monument in 2008. He also emphasized the importance for Ukraine to fully fund, this year, the Holodomor monument in Washington, D.C., in memory of the victims of the 1932-33 genocide against the Ukrainian people. President Viktor Yanukovych responded that all these issues would be positively addressed.
“The UWC remains actively committed to furthering Ukraine’s Euro-integration and democratization, as well as to monitoring and reacting to Russia’s aggressive tactics to scuttle the signing of the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement,” stated Eugene Czolij.
The UWC is the international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 33 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967 as a non-profit corporation, the UWC was recognized in 2003 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status.