"For more than 20 months, Ukraine has been living in the realities of a large-scale aggressive war waged by russia, defending its right to independent existence," the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine said, noting that during this period Ukraine has felt and continues to feel the support of neighbouring Moldova – "a small country with a big heart", which from the first day of the war opened its borders and homes to tens of thousands of Ukrainian women and children fleeing russian terror.
Ruslan Stefanchuk said that since the beginning of the war, Ukrainian citizens with Moldovan roots have also gone to the front, one of whom was Oleksandr Matsievskyi, a native of Chisinau and the Hero of Ukraine, who shouted "Glory to Ukraine" before his life was cut short by russian bullets.
At the same time, he stressed that a ceasefire without the complete withdrawal of russian troops and weapons from the entire territory of Ukraine would only create a temporary pause in the war: "It will be used by the aggressor to restore and accumulate forces for an even more powerful offensive on our territory in the future."
"The russian occupiers must leave our land forever, and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state must be restored. This is the only way to ensure the restoration of respect for the principles of the UN Charter and the return of a rules-based international order," said the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
In addition, during his speech, Ruslan Stefanchuk expressed gratitude to the Republic of Moldova for supporting the Peace Formula of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The implementation of the Ukrainian peace plan is aimed not only at restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, but also at consolidating efforts to improve the existing mechanisms of the UN Charter.
The Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine thanked the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova for condemning war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by russia on the territory of Ukraine, in particular, for adopting the Declaration on the Condemnation of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as Genocide of the Ukrainian People in November 2022.
"The Ukrainian people have historically been, are and will always be part of European civilisation. Today, Ukrainians are defending these civilisational values with arms," said the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, adding that this is an additional argument for Ukraine to be institutionally integrated into the European and Euro-Atlantic community.
"I am glad that Ukraine and Moldova are on this path together. I hope that the European capitals will realise that a united Europe will not be complete without our countries," he said, congratulating the Republic of Moldova on the adoption of the European Commission's recommendation to open negotiations on EU accession with Ukraine and Moldova.
In conclusion, Ruslan Stefanchuk noted that despite the war, Ukraine is preparing to rebuild and eliminate the consequences of what the russian invaders have brought to Ukrainian cities and villages.
He stressed that Moldova could become a participant in this ambitious project of regional scale: "It would be a solid basis for the development of our bilateral relations."
"In this way, we would be writing our future history together, which would further unite our neighbouring and friendly peoples – like the future bridge across the Dniester near the settlements of Yampil and Cosăuc, the construction of which is already underway," the Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine noted.