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National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Vitalii Moskalenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Bulgaria

On August 24th, Ukraine celebrates its national holiday, this year marking the 29th anniversary of the restoration of its independence.

August 24th 1991 became a day of the restoration of historical justice - the freedom and right to self-determination that many generations of Ukrainians had dreamed of. Our people have built a peaceful statehood, guided by national interests, democratic values, their desire to become a full member of the European Community, by developing and expanding the interethnic and ethno-religious dialogue in their own country.

However, the decisive European choice of the Ukrainian people became the cause of the external armed aggression in 2014, and for the seventh year in a row, the Ukrainian sons and daughters are defending their homeland from the treachery of hybrid occupiers. By defending their land, the Ukrainian people defend not only their homeland and the right to choose their own path of development, despite the imperial ambitions of the neighbouring country, but they also defend the international legal order, the basic European values ​​and the peace in Europe. Ukraine highly appreciates the unity of the international community in its support on the international stage, its state sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

I would like to express my gratitude to Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people for the help they provided to Ukraine during the difficult trials. We have the support of the Bulgarian partners in the implementation of our European integration and our Euro-Atlantic aspirations, as well as the good cooperation within international organisations. Just an eloquent example: Bulgaria is the leading country in NATO's medical rehabilitation Trust Fund for Ukraine. As part of this project, in the period 2018-2020, more than 220 wounded Ukrainian servicemen were rehabilitated here.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to take into account the new realities in all areas of human activity; and diplomacy is of no exception. Some activities had to be postponed, but most of them went into remote mode. Therefore, Ukrainians in Bulgaria and our Bulgarian friends will celebrate the Independence Day online, as a video marathon and other interactive events are planned.

I would like to note that the pandemic does not block the development of the Ukrainian-Bulgarian bilateral cooperation. In May this year, The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba had telephone conversations with the Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva, and had concrete agreements for the development of political dialogue and the implementation of a number of practical projects.

According to the results of the previous year, the trade turnover between Ukraine and Bulgaria has reached over 1 billion USD and this is far from the limit of our common capabilities. Therefore, we continue to work to overcome the negative economic trends from 2020. I am convinced that we will succeed.

The friendly nature of the Ukrainian-Bulgarian cooperation continued in the rapid and constructive resolution of the problematic issues for the citizens of the two countries, which arose as a result of the temporary suspension of international communication and the border closures. As a result of the bilateral agreements, in August, the Ukrainian tourists were again given the opportunity to have their holidays in the resorts of Bulgaria.

Another successful example is the Protocol on Cooperation between the Ministries of Education and Science of Ukraine and Bulgaria, signed at a videoconference, on July the 15th, this year. This document is of particular importance, it confirms the constructive dialogue and the lack of problems in studying Bulgarian language as a mother tongue by the representatives of the Bulgarian national minority in Ukraine. Ukraine's openness to ensuring the rights of national minorities, our observance of previous guarantees, confirms the approval by the Ukrainian government of the decision to preserve the Bolhrad region and its status as a regional center, something that is symbolic to the Ukrainian Bulgarians.

The next step should be the implementation of the agreements between the leaders of the two countries for the opening of the Ukrainian Cultural Information Centre and the Ukrainian Sunday School in the historic center of Sofia; as well as the Bulgarian School in Odessa, which will be another educational institution along with the famous G . S. Rakovski in Bolhrad. The Ukrainian community in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian diaspora in Ukraine have been and remain a bridge of friendship between Ukraine and Bulgaria and a powerful driving force in the development of our bilateral relations.

By taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the Ukrainians in Bulgaria and all our Bulgarian friends on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of Ukraine's independence. Let the Ukrainian-Bulgarian partnership and friendship prosper!

Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Bulgaria!

 

The photo was provided by the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria. On it: H. E. Mr. Vitalii Moskalenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Bulgaria