On 4 April 2017, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko paid an official visit to the Republic of Latvia at the invitation of Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis. The Ukrainian Delegation included First Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak, Chairman of the Deputy Group of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for parliamentary contacts with the Republic of Latvia Oleksandr Kodola, Chief of the Head Department for Strategic Planning and Operational Support of the Presidential Administration Yuriy Onishchenko, Head of the Office of the National Investment Council Yuliya Kovaliv.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna Poroshenko were met by President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis and his wife Iveta Vējone. Upon completion of official meeting ceremony, the meeting of the two Presidents took place. Following the meeting, the parties conducted negotiations in expanded format and delivered a press statement.
During the joint press conference President Petro Poroshenko expressed his confident that Ukraine and Latvia share common commitment to European values. The Head of State thanked Latvia for a firm and consistent support of Ukraine’s European integration aspirations, which is reflected in numerous projects aimed to support respective reforms in our state and exchange the experience in the implementation of the European integration.
“We are interested in the implementation of your achievements in the struggle against corruption, civil service reform, local government and reforms in certain sectors of economy. Our experts thoroughly study the experience of Latvia,” Petro Poroshenko informed. The President added that several important agreements have been reached today, inter alia, on the return of financial assets to Ukraine.
The President praised the position of Latvia regarding the necessity of entry into force of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. “We expect our Dutch partners to complete the ratification shortly and the instruments of ratification will be finally submitted to Brussels,” he said.
The Head of State thanked for the support and cooperation in the introduction of the visa-free regime for Ukrainians by the EU. “Latvia has prepared to that very well. It has three daily flights of Latvian airlines that closely connect Kyiv and Riga. Now, transport communication with Odesa will also be launched. Latvia is a gate to Europe,” Petro Poroshenko noted. The President noted the restoration of the bilateral Intergovernmental Ukraine-Latvia Commission for Economic, Industrial and Scientific-Technical Cooperation in December 2016. In his turn, the President of Latvia emphasized that his country is interested to see our country’s cooperation with Europe. He reminded that Latvia has passed this path recently and is ready to share the experience of cooperation with the European Union with Ukraine. The President of Latvia also stressed the importance of developing interpersonal relations and free travel that will be opened by the visa-free regime with the EU for Ukrainians. “We hope that Ukrainian citizens will be able to travel to the Schengen countries without visas already this summer,” he said. Raimonds Vējonis noted that Ukraine is an important trade partner of his country and Latvia is interested in cooperation in pharmaceutics, agriculture, transport sphere, mechanical engineering and logistics.
“Today, our main challenge is Russian aggressive policy. We can counter Russian aggression only with joint efforts: efforts of Ukraine and Latvia, efforts of Ukraine and the EU, efforts of Transatlantic partnership. We really appreciate this consistent support and we are sincerely grateful to the Latvian party for a strong condemnation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko emphasized during the joint press conference with President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis.
In the framework of the official visit of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to Latvia, the Agreement on bilateral cooperation in the sphere of environmental protection has been signed in the presence of the two Presidents. The Agreement has been signed by Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ostap Semerak and Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia Kaspars Gerhards. The document is aimed to increase cooperation in the sphere of environmental protection and rational use of natural resources, as well as interaction with a view to resolve regional and global environmental problems.
Also, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs reached an agreement (in the form of exchange of notes between the two Governments) on the employment of family members of employees of diplomatic missions and consular institutions.
In the framework of the official visit to Latvia, President Petro Poroshenko had a meeting with Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece. President Petro Poroshenko thanked for an active position of the Latvian Parliament in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, condemnation of Russian aggression against our state and illegal Russian occupation of Crimea. Petro Poroshenko particularly thanked Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece for her active support of Ukraine, facilitation in the organization of humanitarian assistance for the affected Ukrainians. He also noted the support of Latvian deputies in the European interparliamentary institutions. The President praised the active work within the parliamentary groups of friendship of the Verkhovna Rada and the Saeima of Latvia.
In the framework of the official visit to Latvia, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held negotiations with Prime Minister of Latvia Māris Kučinskis. The Head of State expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister of Latvia for a solid political support of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, consistent position of Latvia as regards condemnation and non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. “The expansion of trade-economic cooperation is one of the top-priority tasks of bilateral dialogue,” the President noted adding that the opportunities from the free trade area between Ukraine and the EU must be fully used. The Head of State praised the restoration of the bilateral Intergovernmental Ukraine-Latvia Commission for Economic, Industrial and Scientific-Technical Cooperation. He noted the necessity of ensuring the efficient work at the level of Governments for implementing the agreements achieved. The parties agreed with the importance of developing the international transport corridor Baltic Sea – Black Sea – Caspian Sea with the use of the route of “Zubr” container train. The parties expressed hope that the Agency for Investment and Development of Latvia in Ukraine will intensify its work and establish contacts with respective Ukrainian governmental offices. The active work of respective structures should open new opportunities for the work of Latvian investors in Ukraine.
President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna Poroshenko visited wounded Ukrainian servicemen who undergo rehabilitation in the National Rehabilitation Centre Vaivari in Jūrmala. Currently three ATO veterans undergo rehabilitation in the Vaivari centre: Oleksandr Shvetsov, Oleksiy Zamirko and Viktor Kardash. The President communicated with the military and asked their impressions from rehabilitation in the medical institution. The Head of State noted that he felt support of Latvia during today’s meetings. “I see that you are true heroes who are respected and assisted here. It can be seen everywhere, from the President, Government, Saeima to ordinary people,” Petro Poroshenko said adding that cooperation with Latvia in treatment of Ukrainian defenders will be continued. The President presented watches to the defenders. “Thank you for your smiles, for your strong morale and for inspiring to be optimists and believe in our victory,” the Head of State said.
President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna Poroshenko met with Ukrainian community of Latvia. “I really appreciate you. I am grateful that we - all Ukrainians of the whole world, stand together to win this dreadful war, beat the aggressor, liberate every piece of Ukrainian soil, restore Ukrainian sovereignty on the Ukrainian Donbas and return Crimea,” the Head of State said. The President emphasized that he does everything possible for Ukraine to change dramatically - to be purified of corruption, to ensure true democracy and economic growth. The Head of State reminded that the declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga recorded the obligation of the EU member-states to provide the visa-free regime for Ukrainians. Petro Poroshenko informed that the EU allocated 600 million euros of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine today. “This means that the whole world is with us today, from Canada and USA to Japan,” the Head of State noted. The Head of State thanked the Ukrainian Diaspora in Latvia for its constant support for Ukraine. “You keep Ukraine high on the agenda of our Latvian partners,” the President emphasized. The President and his wife also laid flowers to the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Riga.
In the framework of the official visit to Latvia, President Petro Poroshenko visited the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia in Riga. The head of State examined the exposition, which tells the story of the occupation of Latvia by the Nazi and Soviet regimes between 1940-1991 years.