Dear Mr Stefanchuk! Dear MPs, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!

Today's address from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on the second anniversary of one of the blackest days in the post-war history of Europe, is a special honour for me, but at the same time it is also full of sadness, because Ukraine, as an independent state that wants to follow its independent European path, has become the object of brutal aggression by russia. Today, on 24 February, we are here in Kyiv to send strong messages of peace, understanding, tolerance and respect for each other, to send an equally strong message that the democratic world is united in supporting Ukraine in its struggle for justice, defence of its territory and protection from the imperialist appetites of its neighbour.

For exactly two years, Ukraine, like all democratic forces in Europe and the world, has been living with the horrors that russia has caused and is causing with its unprovoked total aggression not only against Ukraine, but also against the Ukrainian people. Thousands of Ukrainians have fallen victim to this horrific aggression, and millions of Ukrainians have been displaced both within the country and across Europe. Children have been deprived of a carefree childhood, a vast historical and cultural heritage has been destroyed, and the economic progress and prosperity of this beautiful country has been greatly damaged. But all this evil, all this injustice has not destroyed the spirit of Ukraine, the will of the brave Ukrainian people to resist this aggression and fight for the territorial sovereignty of their country and for their independent and free future. We thought that after the devastating wars and suffering of the twentieth century on the European continent, which claimed millions and millions of lives, peoples and states would be able to live in stable peace despite temporary tensions. But it is obvious that to preserve peace, great will, rational and reasonable behaviour of all actors, especially politicians, is needed, not just false accusations and historical obsessions. This aggression against Ukraine is a warning to all of us that peace, independence and freedom should not be taken for granted by any of us. And that is why the democratic world has stood united and strongly behind Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the defence of its territorial sovereignty and integrity over the past two years. Ukraine's suffering has united Europe, united the world, which has provided Ukraine with unlimited comprehensive support: military, logistical and moral. All of this has created a strong barrier to protecting peace and Ukraine's rights. Europe, the European Union, the United States of America and other democratic countries quickly realised that it was in Ukraine that the peaceful European order was being defended. If russia's aggression in Ukraine succeeds, other countries will become targets for moscow's imperial ambitions.   Therefore, all the countries of this democratic bloc have organised to provide Ukraine with military assistance with weapons and ammunition, as well as all economic assistance to mitigate the negative economic consequences of the war. At the same time, the democratic world has isolated russia, condemning its leadership as the sole perpetrator of this aggression. Numerous packages of sanctions have been imposed on politicians, businessmen, businesses and various officials. New sanctions packages are still to come.

Dear participants! I take this opportunity to assure you that the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia are with you and remain with you with all the necessary assistance and support within our capabilities. I would like to convey our strong, unequivocal and resolute support and solidarity to Ukraine, Ukrainian institutions and the Ukrainian people. Our country is aware of how difficult the path to establishing its own country with full territorial sovereignty and integrity is. And that is why we know how important it is to receive support in building strong resistance and resilience against the aggressor in order to preserve our country. 

Here, from this rostrum, I cannot but emphasise and congratulate your efforts as members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, who in this difficult time remain in defence of democracy and continue to represent the interests of their citizens. In my person, Ukraine has a sincere and trusted friend and supporter for many years. And in the future, you can count on my support both in further promoting the successful bilateral cooperation between the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and at the multilateral level within international parliamentary assemblies.

The Macedonian Assembly and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine have a long and fruitful cooperation. And I, as the Chairman of the group for interparliamentary relations with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, am particularly proud that this cooperation has intensified in the last two years, two mandates when I was chairing this group. That is why, at the very beginning of the aggression, on 3 March 2022, in the Macedonian Parliament, we adopted a Declaration of Condemnation of russian military aggression, which threatens the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. In addition, we have joined all resolutions and initiatives that demand that russia cease the use of force in Ukraine and withdraw its troops. We have joined all the restrictive measures and sanctions of the European Union against the russian federation. The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia is an active participant in the parliamentary dimension of the International Crimean Platform.

Dear friends! These are truly difficult times for Ukraine, but also for the entire democratic world. That is why supporting Ukraine is supporting the preservation of peace not only in Europe, but in the whole world. Because if we do not unite and defeat this aggression, the aggression will affect us all, regardless of whether it is in a conventional or non-conventional way.

The threat is serious and a threat to all of us. Therefore, it is necessary for all democratic forces to stand together, as we have been together since the first day of the aggression, so that not only Ukraine, but the whole of Europe can live in prosperity and peace, and think about the welfare of its citizens. This will be the most valuable thing that we can leave to the next generations – a life in peace.

And I am firmly convinced that, as in the past, these values will prevail over aggression and we will soon leave these dark moments behind us. We will deepen our cooperation and discuss all the values that will mean a better standard of living, prosperity, development, cultural cooperation and exchange for the citizens of Ukraine, as well as for all of us.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

 

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