Poroshenko wishes Zelensky successful presidency, remains in politics
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, completing his term of office, expressed gratitude to the Ukrainian people, again apologized to all whose hopes he had not justified, and also wished President Volodymyr Zelensky a successful cadence, stressing that he remains in politics to prevent deviations from the country's Euro-Atlantic course.
"First of all, I would like to thank the great Ukrainian people for the great honor to work for five years at the head of a great country. The country, which impressed the whole world with the force of national spirit, dignity, perseverance and freedom-loving nature. I would especially like to bow to the defenders of Ukraine for the right, opportunity and honor to be the Supreme Commander-in-Chief," Poroshenko said in his address to Ukrainian published on the presidential website on Sunday evening.
Summing up his presidency, he noted that the country is in a better condition today than five years ago, and this is evidenced by the main statistical indicators.
"This was achieved by the joint efforts, due to the support of the active part of society and the understanding of the majority," he noted.
"We saved Ukraine and buried Novorossiya. We stopped the aggressor, which is much stronger than us. We created an army that became one of the strongest on the continent. Relying on the international pro-Ukrainian coalition, it firmly holds the line in the east," the address reads.
Poroshenko also said that the Ukrainian authorities "won the diplomatic battle" for the ratification of the Association Agreement and reoriented the economy to the European Union, which can be evidenced by the turnover between Ukraine and the EU increased more than twice.
"And in general, we have never been so close to NATO and the European Union. Including due to the visa-free regime launched on June 11, 2017," he said.
According to him, in parallel with the movement towards Europe, we also strengthened our Ukrainian identity. "This is our own policy of historical memory, decommunization. This is the tomos, which we received at the beginning of the year. This is the law on the Ukrainian language recently signed by me."
At the same time he said about "the areas with less success."
"The thing I regret about the most is that we failed to establish peace and restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We started to restore the standards of living after the economic crisis, caused by Russian aggression, too late. I apologize to everyone whose expectations I failed to meet; for whom the reforms were particularly painful; who faced the untruth and did not find justice in those years. I already explained: even if one believes that the president can do everything, he cannot do all at once," he noted.
The fifth president of Ukraine also noted that the change of power is a sign of the belonging of Ukrainians to the European civilization.
"We have preserved democracy even in the face of Russian aggression. Tomorrow the power goes to the new President whom you chose at fair and free elections. I wish a successful presidency to Volodymyr Zelensky. A month ago, we were opponents in the elections. But it happened so that tomorrow he will be the President of my native country. The country I love and the European future of which I firmly believe in. May the Lord guard Ukraine and help its new leader in his work," Poroshenko said.
At the same time, he said that he was worried that positive changes, where they exist, had not yet become irreversible.
"Therefore, leaving the office of the president, I cannot leave politics. I remain not for any kind of post. In the end, I have already occupied the highest and most honorable of them and there is nowhere higher to move. My duty is to protect the achievements in the state building process relying on the support of the public... To prevent anyone from retreating from the course for membership in the European Union and NATO, or putting it on the back burner," the fifth president said.
In this context, he noted that ritual pro-European and Euro-Atlantic declarations are not enough, and daily hard work is needed. "This is what I will demand from the new government as a citizen and where I am ready to lend a shoulder. And I will give no quarter in case of deviation from the defined course. Any attempts - drastic or creeping, explicit or concealed - to return the country into the sphere of Russian influence will get a decisive rebuff," Poroshenko said, adding that the strategic goal, which he proclaimed during the election campaign, remains in force - until 2023, apply for Ukraine's membership in the EU and receive an Action Plan on NATO membership.