Ukraine has just lived through the most glorious and the most tragic days in its modern history. Our powerful peaceful protests in defence of our rights and liberties has impressed the world and, through this struggle, we have grown closer and stronger as a modern political nation. But we paid an incredibly heavy price for our victory over the dictatorship. Instead of listening and considering the legitimate and just demands of society, the criminal and bloody Yanukovych regime murdered and maimed peaceful protesters – cruelly and in cold blood. According to the official shocking figures from the Ministry of Health, at least 88 people are dead. Let us honor their memory with a nation-wide minute of silence.The unprecedented cruelty and atrocities of the dictatorial regime did not stop our citizens. They sacrificed their lives defending our rights. And they won. Thanks to the bravery, heroism and self-sacrifice of Maidan’s heroes, the bloody regime has fallen.
In light of Yanukovych’s flight from the capital, and the fact that he has effectively withdrawn from the performance of his constitutional responsibilities, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has assumed full responsibility for the situation in the country and, with a constitutional majority of votes, has removed him from office and scheduled pre-term presidential elections for May 25, 2014.
At the same time, the Parliament voted, with a constitutional majority, to revert to the 2004 version of the Constitution, which had been unlawfully cancelled by Yanukovych in 2010. We have limited the dictatorial authorities of the head of state and are once again a presidential-parliamentary republic. On this basis, the Parliament will create, in the coming days, a new parliamentary majority, which will form the new government. Until then, the Parliament has authorized me, as its head, to coordinate the work of the Cabinet of Ministers on account of a significant number of government officials having disappeared.
The 2004 Constitution provides that, in the absence of the President, his responsibilities are fulfilled by the head of Parliament. In the present circumstances, this is necessary for the continued functioning of the acting government and for fair and transparent presidential elections.
To preserve law and order, the Ukrainian Parliament has appointed an acting Minister of Internal Affairs and Ministers of Defense and the Security Service of Ukraine. This means that law enforcement agencies are no longer threatening the life, health and safety of the citizens of Ukraine.
Today’s first task is: to stop the confrontation, renew the management, leadership and law and order in the country, return all special and internal forces to their permanent place of deployment, guarantee peace and tranquility, and protect against any further victims, regional conflicts and mob justice. We must strongly oppose any manifestations of separatism and any attacks on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
There’s no sense in speaking of the economic situation. You feel this in your own pockets. What Yanukovych and Azarov left us could hardly be called waste. Against the backdrop of a recovering global economy, the Ukrainian economy tumbles into the abyss and finds itself on the verge of default. Nursing our economy back to health will be the mission of the new government that will be established following the presidential election.The task of the new government will be to stop the country’s slide into an abyss, stabilize the exchange rate, guarantee the timely payment of salaries, pensions, and subsidies, restore the confidence of investors, promote business development, and create new jobs.
Another one of our priorities is to return to the path of European integration, which is what brought us to Maidan in the first place. We need to return to the family of European nations.
We recognize the importance of our relations with the Russian Federation, and we are ready for dialogue with the Russian leadership to build our relations with the country on a new, truly equal and neighborly basis that recognizes and reflects Ukraine’s European choice.
I hope that this choice will indeed be confirmed in the presidential election on May 25, 2014. We guarantee that the election will be free and fair, in full compliance with the highest European standards. Everyone will have the right to freely make his or her own choice to select who you believe to be worthy of being the President of Ukraine.
On a separate note, I would like to address those fellow citizens who voted for Yanukovych, those who have been disappointed by him, and those who continue to support him. Please do not consider his fall from power, and the bloody drama that toppled him, to be your own defeat! He betrayed, before anyone else, those who believed in his “Improved Today.” I expect that most of you have already seen the television footage from the now open access to Mezhyhirya and have come to understand why, in fact, the presidency had been so necessary for this person. I believe that, in free and democratic elections, you will find a worthy candidate, and we will do our best to safeguard and protect your choice.
I would like to repeat what I said during my own election: I did not seek these positions and powers, and once a new acting government is established, I will immediately resign. But while I am head of the Ukrainian Parliament, I will do everything in my power to preserve peace, order and harmony in Ukraine [and to] turn our country back onto a democratic and European path of development.
Glory to Ukraine! Glory to our heroes!
Source: Batkivshchyna party website
Translated by Lesia Stangret and Mariana Budjeryn