Dear Deputy Minister Saidzoda Zohir Ozod! Your Excellencies! Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am happy to welcome you to today's reception dedicated to the 27th anniversary of Ukraine's independence and the centennial anniversary of the revival of Ukrainian statehood.
I am particularly pleased that this is the first diplomatic reception to take place in the renovated, but traditionally hospitable, Hilton Dushanbe hotel.
Traditions of Ukrainian statehood go back to the times of Kyivan Rus, and the period when the first European constitution was written by the Hetman of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks – Pylyp Orlyk.
However, the will of Ukrainians to create an independent state for the first time received its most complete embodiment during the Ukrainian revolution of 1917-1921.
On January 22, 1918, the 4th proclamation of the Ukrainian Central Rada decreed the Ukrainian People's Republic "an independent, not reliant upon anyone, free and sovereign state of the Ukrainian people".
Despite the creation of the main institutions of state power, international recognition and establishment of diplomatic relations with a number of countries, the Ukrainian People's Republic was unable to withstand the armed invasion of the bolsheviks, and lasted only until 1921.
A new, and this time irreversible, stage of the national statehood of Ukraine, as well as of the Republic of Tajikistan, was determined by the logical and imminent break-up of the totalitarian Soviet Union.
On August 24, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine, the 27th anniversary of which, as well as the 100th anniversary of the revival of Ukrainian statehood, we are celebrating today.
Today's Ukraine is a modern democratic, rule-of-law, dynamically developing European nation that confidently looks to the future and is able to defend its freedom.
I have just returned from a meeting of ambassadors in Kyiv. We witnessed a military parade, met with the leadership of Ukraine, and visited the Donbas. In a nutshell, the results of the meeting are as follows.
Ukraine is consistently moving towards its strategic goal of full-fledged membership in the European Union and NATO. The country's economy shows stable growth. In the last four years, our Armed Forces have risen to a qualitatively new level of combat capability.
I am proud of having the honor to represent my Motherland in friendly Tajikistan and, using this opportunity, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the warm congratulations of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of Ukraine's independence.
Despite the geographical remoteness, Ukraine and Tajikistan have a lot in common, and our friendship is based on mutual respect and long-standing good traditions.
In Ukraine, we revere the Tajiks' contribution to the liberation of our country from the Nazis during World War II and to the clean-up efforts after the Chornobyl disaster.
While in Kyiv this summer, I, along with my wife, visited the Sadriddin Ayni library with great pleasure, joining the ranks of its readers. I would like to thank the Ayni family for the great author's works donated to this library.
Having gained our independence in the same year, our countries have managed to achieve a lot in our bilateral relations.
The recent years are characterized by a progressive increase in the trade turnover between our countries. Every year, 20 Tajik students are sent to Ukraine for training funded by our state budget. Ukrainians work at major hydropower facilities in Tajikistan.
Productive work is underway to implement the decisions of the Joint Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Tajik Commission on Economic Cooperation. I am convinced that its 5th session, which is planned to be held in Kyiv, will provide a significant impetus to our bilateral relations.
Also, Ukrainians are eagerly awaiting the Days of Tajik Culture in Ukraine.
The year 2018 has been announced in Tajikistan as the year of tourism and folk handicrafts. Tajikistan has a lot to show to tourists from all over the world. One cannot but note a significant increase in the interest of Ukrainian citizens in travel to Tajikistan.
Our Embassy actively promotes the dissemination of information about your beautiful country with the use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, among other means.
I sincerely hope that, in the near future, our countries will restore direct air travel and it will become even more convenient and simple to reach the capitals and other cities of our countries.
I cannot help but praise the fruitful open-door policy and the strengthening of regional cooperation pursued by Tajikistan.
Impressive are the successes of your country in solving energy, transport and food problems, as well as global water initiatives, in which Tajikistan has established itself as an undisputed leader.
In this context, Ukraine is looking forward to further partnership with Tajikistan in the international arena, which includes partnerships within the context of international organizations.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The year 2018 is, certainly, marked not only by such remarkable dates as the 27th anniversary of independence of Ukraine and Tajikistan, as well as the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian statehood.
50 years ago, on August 21, 1968, Soviet troops invaded independent Czechoslovakia, seeking to suppress the democratic seedlings of the Prague Spring.
The fears of the totalitarian Soviet regime were destined to come true: today both the Czech Republic and Slovakia are prosperous democratic European states, members of the European Union and NATO.
And 10 years ago, on August 7-8, 2008, troops of the same "evil empire" invaded the sovereign territory of freedom-loving Georgia, as a result of which puppet regimes were established in Georgian Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
However, the course of history cannot be reversed: today's Georgia is a successful democratic state, and an active participant in international peacekeeping missions, with a clear prospect of joining NATO.
And finally, this is the fifth year of the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which, contrary to the aggressor's expectations, has also accelerated the process of consolidation of the Ukrainian nation, the strengthening of our defense capability and the integration into the European Union and NATO.
In Kyiv, I had another important meeting – with the Representative of the President of Ukraine on Crimean Tatar People's Affairs – Mustafa Dzhemilev. I was pleased to inform him that the national flag of the Crimean Tatar people, the indigenous people of the Crimea, is fluttering above our Embassy in Tajikistan, next to the National Flag of Ukraine.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the countries that have resolutely condemned the attempt of annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the temporary occupation of part of the Ukrainian Donbas by the Kremlin regime; the countries that consistently increase economic sanctions against the aggressor and demand the unconditional release of Ukrainian political prisoners unlawfully held by the Kremlin.
With the aim of a speedy ceasefire in the Donbas and of deoccupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine has initiated the deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission in the temporarily occupied part of Donbas, and the creation of the international platform The Friends of Crimea's De-occupation.
We hope for the support of friendly Tajikistan in these issues. Tajikistan, whose experience in resolving an armed conflict on its own territory in the 1990s, with the active participation of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is of great international importance.
In conclusion, let me once again congratulate all Tajik people on the 27th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Tajikistan and give the floor to our guest of honor.
Thank you for your attention!