Zelensky promises assistance to veterans in Odesa region
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a working visit to Odesa region on Sunday, July 5, met with local veterans, emphasized the importance of returning people and territories to Ukraine and congratulated veterans on Day of the Naval Forces of Ukraine.
"Today, we congratulated the sailors [on Day of Naval Forces], but I also congratulate our ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] participants, Afghan veterans, all veterans who defended our country at any time and will defend in the future," the president said.
ATO veteran Oleksandr Holopoteliuk spoke about the problem of unveiling memorials in honor of the fallen heroes in Odesa.
"No monument or proper memorial to the veterans of the Russian-Ukrainian war has been installed in Odesa during seven years of the war," he said.
Zelensky noted that perpetuating the memory of the heroes is very important. The head of state called on the local authorities of Odesa to take part in resolving this issue.
Head of Odesa Regional Union of the Disabled Veterans of Afghanistan Afanasiy Radukan raised the issue of benefits for housing and utility services for combat veterans, access to treatment and rehabilitation.
"You performed your duty, defended the state. You are asking now. I feel humiliated. Veterans have been humiliated for many years. You have not been heard in many issues, so we need to communicate. We need to speak in person. It is important to hear and solve the problems. We need a result," Zelensky said.
Veterans called for the establishment of a psychological rehabilitation center for former servicemen in Odesa region.
Svitlana Kyrylova, the head of the Heart of Mothers of Odesa region NGO, whose son was killed in Donbas, raised the issue of fair provision for the families of the fallen heroes.
"Our sons went to war in 2014 as volunteers who signed contracts. But the salary of the military at that time was UAH 2,000. I am raising a grandson, the son of the deceased. Pension is UAH 3,200, it is impossible to live on it. We are provided with a minimum pension. Now the salaries of servicemen are completely different, so now parents and children receive a different pension. It's unfair," she said.
The president stressed that such a blatant injustice must be corrected.
The president noted that the Advisory Council for War Veterans and Families of Fallen Defenders of Ukraine should be involved in solving urgent problems of veterans.
"Now we have a council. It seems to me that this is the right tool to bring all the issues to an end. Earlier, in the regions, I was asked important questions not related to the powers of the president. And then many things in the bureaucratic system were forgotten. We have created this council, we write everything down, we tie it to the deadlines, to the management responsible for it," Zelensky said.
The president also instructed the deputies elected from Odesa and the head of the local government to address these issues and demonstrate their effective solution.