The Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olena Kondratiuk met with a delegation of presidents and members of national clubs of the signatories to the Baltic States’ independence declarations.
Among them were the President of the May 4 Declaration Club of Latvia Velta Cebotarenoka and the Vice President Gunars Klindzans, the President of the Lithuanian Independence Act Signatories Club Birute Valionyte, members of the Estonian Act of August 20 Signatories Club Enn Tupp and Andrus Ristkok.
The meeting was attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to Ukraine Valdemaras Sarapinas, the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia Kaimo Kuusk, Charge d’Affaires of Latvia Karina Leja, our colleagues – members of the Association of Ukrainian MPs and MPs of the 9th convocation from friendship groups.
According to the Vice-Speaker, it is very symbolic that on the eve of the Day of Ukrainian Statehood, our friends – parliamentarians and statesmen of friendly and free Baltic countries – arrived at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
“Ukraine and the Baltic states share a common past, often tragic. This is a story of long survival under soviet occupation and the struggle for our own statehood and independence. Our fighters for independence were also inspired by the crowded Baltic Way, which is well known and remembered in Ukraine. We are also united by the understanding of the leading role of national parliaments in state-building and their subjectivity as a component of common and democratic European values,” said Olena Kondratiuk.
On behalf of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Olena Kondratiuk thanked the members of the delegation as representatives of those countries that were the first to provide comprehensive assistance to Ukraine before russia’s full-scale invasion of the country.
“Each of the Baltic states provided the highest percentage of military aid in relation to the total budget of their countries: from 1.2% to 1.4%. These are the highest figures in the world. “Stingers” and “Javelins” from Latvia and Estonia, mortars and ammunition from Lithuania arrived in Ukraine even before the large-scale invasion of the russian army. This greatly helped our country to survive in the first weeks and months of the war,” the Vice Speaker stressed.
“We are grateful for the humanitarian assistance and hospitable shelter of tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. They are treated with special love and care in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. I know and have seen this personally. I thanked for the support of Ukrainian schools in the Baltic countries, because it is very important for our children and their parents. We appreciate the active participation of our Baltic friends in the reconstruction of destroyed Ukrainian cities and towns,” added Olena Kondratiuk.
She is convinced that such strong support by the Baltic countries and peoples for the Ukrainian people’s struggle for their statehood and freedom has become a driver of pan-European and international solidarity with Ukraine.
This gives the Armed Forces of Ukraine and our entire society the opportunity to successfully counteract the aggressor for 17 months and move forward in many parts of the frontline.
We are grateful for the constant political support and leadership in advocating Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO. It was the Baltic countries that were the first in the world to recognise russia as an aggressor state and terrorist that is committing genocide against the Ukrainian people.
The Vice-Speaker also noted the courage of the chairpersons of the parliaments of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. They were the first among the leaders of the world’s parliaments to arrive in Kyiv on 23 March 2022 to support Ukraine and Ukrainians in the most difficult times of a full-scale invasion.
“Ukrainians today are fighting not only for their freedom, but also for the freedom of the Baltic States. We understand and have seen how hard and terrible this struggle is. We are very grateful to you and will continue to do everything possible to ensure that Ukraine will win,” the members of the Baltic delegation stressed.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olena Kondratiuk also appealed to the leadership and members of national signers’ clubs to use all their authority, knowledge and public activities in the international arena to increase the provision of much-needed military assistance to Ukraine and accelerate our membership in the EU and NATO.
“Thank you to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia! We, the Ukrainians, will never forget your friendly, brotherly and sisterly support!” said Olena Kondratiuk, summing up the meeting.