EU-Ukraine: Future of the country is at stake, weapons must stay silent
Brussels (18 February) – Commissioner for Enlargement and European neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle participated in the opening of the photo exhibition “The Euromaidan concert: Frozen hope" dedicated to the peaceful protests in Ukraine. The exhibition was inaugurated in the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. The event took place against the background of violent clashes between the protesters and police in Kyiv.
Commissioner Füle reflected on these recent events in is his opening speech:
"To tell you the truth, I am shaken. I have visited Ukraine three times in the last few weeks and I tried, together with my colleagues, to do everything to stop bloodshed from happening, to make sure that the so-called amnesty law works and that the political process takes over.
To hear the news of dead people, of hundreds of wounded makes me stand here and shake. I deplore the deaths of those people and my thoughts are with their families and relatives.
I visited two hospitals during my last visit in Kyiv to show human solidarity with the injured people and I did not discriminate. No matter which side they were on, they were suffering because of the actions or non-actions of politicians.
The future of Ukraine is at stake. I have been asked many times in the past whether it is possible that things would turn in wrong direction. And I said yes, it is possible, but we would do anything to avoid the worst. Why did I say that? Because of two reasons:
First: the demonstrations started soon after the Vilnius summit, and they have been ignored. Those aspirations, those demands, those people have been ignored for too long. And if you don’t engage with those people you are then contributing to the radicalisation of the street. And I wonder to what extent what is happening is the product of exactly this process.
The second reason is that a political process has actually never been given a chance to take over. Not for the benefit of the few but for the benefit of the whole country.
I was just on the phone with the acting Prime Minister (S.Arbuzov) and I told him that seeing Berkut, the special police, with Kalashnikovs is source of great concern. He assured me that he himself and the authorities would do anything for those weapons to stay silent. For the sake of Ukrainians and for the sake of the future of their country I will pray that he is right."
On the margins of the exhibition Commissioner Füle met with the singer and Euromaidan activist Ruslana. He discussed with her the grave situation in Ukraine and stressed that further bloodshed must be avoided by all means.