Ukrainian World Congress leadership meets with Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and new Ukrainian government
From 11-15 September 2019, the leadership of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) concluded a working visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, to discuss key priorities with the Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and representatives of the new Government of Ukraine, and to present a summary of the UWC 2019 Annual General Meeting and share information about meetings with German parliamentarians and government officials that were recently held in Berlin, Germany.
The UWC was represented by President Paul Grod, Vice Presidents Stefan Romaniw, Andriy Futey, Zenon Potichny and Lenna Koszarny, and Director of the UWC Mission in Ukraine Serhiy Kasyanchuk.
Meeting with Head of Orthodox Church of Ukraine
The main focus of the meeting with Metropolitan Epifaniy, Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, was the development and support of the Church with specific emphasis on perspectives for the Church’s international recognition by other sovereign churches, and preservation of the religious and cultural uniqueness of Ukrainian orthodoxy.
“The Church continues to be an important element of Ukrainian society and one of the foundations of our national identity in the world. In meetings with the new government we emphasized the importance of defending the Orthodox Church of Ukraine against lawsuits launched by Ukraine’s adversaries, and the need to support the development of a unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” stated UWC President Paul Grod.
Meeting with Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine
An important part of the visit included meetings with the Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine, and leaders and members of political factions.
In the framework of the meeting with Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine Dmytro Razumkov, the UWC leadership underscored the importance of continuing the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine along with initiated reforms, as well as the need to entrench the Ukrainian language as the sole state language. Also discussed were actions of the new Parliament in cooperation with the Ukrainian diaspora, amendments to legislation regarding dual citizenship, Ukrainians living outside Ukraine and labour migrants, and enhancing the electoral rights of Ukrainians outside Ukraine.
“The meeting with the Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine was very constructive. We anticipate that the future cooperation of the UWC with the Parliament of Ukraine will lead to the adoption of specific legislation that will contribute to the return of Ukrainians to Ukraine and concrete support for Ukrainians in the diaspora, and will also strengthen Ukrainian relations with the diaspora while stimulating the growth of the global Ukrainian community,” stated UWC President Paul Grod.
The UWC leadership also met with representatives of the Parliament of Ukraine Committee on Foreign Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation chaired by Bohdan Yaremenko. According to the Committee Chair, one of the main priorities of the Committee is cooperation with the diaspora, as reflected in the establishment of the sub-committee on relations and the protection of the rights and interests of Ukrainians outside Ukraine. This meeting offered an opportunity to discuss in detail international cooperation, particularly in combating Russian aggression and strengthening the international coalition in support of Ukraine, Ukraine’s position on achieving peace in the Donbas region and the means for continuing Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration. As a result of the meeting, a series of joint international actions were suggested for political, informational, economic and humanitarian spheres of activity. Also agreed upon was cooperation in amending legislation with respect to Ukrainians throughout the world.
An important result of UWC’s cooperation with the Parliament of Ukraine was the establishment of the Parliamentary Committee “Ukrainians in the world” chaired by Sviatoslav Yurash. This Committee will focus on cooperation between Ukraine’s parliamentarians with the Ukrainian World Congress in addressing the needs of Ukrainians around the world.
“We congratulated Chair of the Subcommittee on Relations and Protection of Rights and Interests of Ukrainians outside Ukraine Sviatoslav Yurash who also chairs the Parliamentary Committee “Ukrainians in the World”. As the youngest and very promising Member of Ukraine’s Parliament, Sviatoslav Yurash has worked with the UWC for many years on various projects, including last year’s “Red Card for Putin” campaign. We look forward to working closely with him and all Members of Parliament who support a pro-Ukrainian position,” stated UWC President Paul Grod.
In addition, the UWC leadership held separate meetings with leaders and members of parliamentary factions Ievropeiska solidarnist – European Unity (Party leader Petro Poroshenko), Batkivschyna (Party and faction leader Yulia Tymoshenko) Holos (Party leader Sviatoslav Vakarchuk) and with leaders and representatives of the parliamentary faction Sluha Narodu – Servant of the Nation (Party leader Dmytro Razumkov). During these meetings parties discussed key issues related to Ukraine’s international relations including next steps in combating Russian aggression, strengthening the security of Ukraine and peace initiatives, as well as political changes and the democratic development of Ukraine, European and Euro-Atlantic integration and the continuation of key reforms in Ukraine.
Meetings with Ministers
With the goal of strengthening ties and cooperation with the newly appointed Government of Ukraine, the UWC leadership met with the following Ministers:
- Dmytro Kuleba, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine;
- Vadym Prystayko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine;
- Tymofiy Mylovanov, Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine;
- Oksana Markarova, Minister of Finance of Ukraine;
- Volodymyr Borodianskyi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Ukraine;
- Hanna Novosad, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine.
During the meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystayko, the parties discussed issues of importance to Ukrainians worldwide including the strengthening of the international coalition in combating Russian aggression, the Steinmeier formula, Minsk agreements and Normandy format, furthering the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukrainians, improving Ukraine’s image abroad and strengthening partnerships between the Ukrainian diaspora and diplomatic missions of Ukraine in defending its national interests around the world. Attention was also devoted to the issue of dual citizenship which is particularly relevant to representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora.
Cultural and humanitarian issues were the focus of the meeting with Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Ukraine Volodymyr Borodiansky, who presented a strategy for the development of humanitarian affairs in Ukraine and a plan for the reorganization of state agencies responsible for the realization and development of state policies in this area. In turn, UWC President Paul Grod shared ideas on presenting the world with factual information about current events in Ukraine, international recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people, preserving historical memory, developing Ukrainian language and culture, youth affairs, patriotic education and shaping Ukrainian self-identification in the diaspora. As a result of the meeting, agreement was reached on close cooperation in addressing a range of issues of common interest.
With the understanding that the nurturing of the self-identification of Ukrainians must be rooted in a quality Ukrainian education that is accessible to every child, the UWC leadership met with Minister of Education and Science Hanna Novosad. The meeting highlighted the key role of Ukrainian schooling and Ukrainian studies in shaping national self-awareness in diaspora youth. Also discussed were specific initiatives for future cooperation, including the creation of an online education platform that will offer every Ukrainian in any corner of the world access to educational programs. Also noted was the importance of partnering with Ukrainian churches and youth organizations such as Plast and SUM in raising future generations of Ukrainian youth in the diaspora.
Meeting with Head of Security Service of Ukraine
Issues related to the protection of Ukraine’s national security and combating the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation, including its negative influence on the international image of Ukraine, were the priority issues discussed with Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov. During the meeting Ivan Bakanov assured the UWC leadership of its continued commitment to the strategic defence of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“It remains a priority for the Ukrainian World Congress to support Ukraine in the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, further its European and Euro-Atlantic integration and reforms, strengthen its democratic structures, and contribute to the development of Ukraine as an independent European state,” concluded UWC President Paul Grod. “We agreed upon cooperating on these issues with the newly elected and appointed governing authorities of Ukraine.”