Excerpts from Poroshenko's speech
- 7 June 2014
- From the section Europe
President Petro Poroshenko's inaugural speech - in which he said unity and peace are his main priorities for Ukraine - was greeted with a standing ovation. At one point he directly addressed EU ambassadors - seated in the audience, describing his enthusiasm to sign Ukraine up to an economic agreement with the grouping.
"I am assuming the post of the president in order to preserve and strengthen Ukraine's unity, ensure lasting peace and guarantee reliable safety."
"Dear friends, my pen is already in my hands. I am ready now. As soon as the EU takes a relevant decision, the signature of the Ukrainian president will immediately appear under this document. We see the association agreement as only the first step towards Ukraine's fully-fledged membership in the European Union "
Crimea is Ukrainian
"Russia has occupied Crimea which was, is and will be Ukrainian. Yesterday, I clearly said this to the Russian leadership in Normandy during the celebrations of the 70th anniversary [of D-Day]. Crimea is and will be Ukrainian. Period. There can be no compromises with anyone on Crimea, the EU choice or state system."
Yanukovych to blame
"The nationwide presidential election has put paid to the myth of the alleged illegitimacy of the Kiev and Ukrainian authorities. This myth was sown and grown by Russian propaganda and Yanukovych's [the ousted Ukrainian president] clan which betrayed Donbass and robbed it even worse than the rest of the country. He ruled Donetsk Region unchallenged for 17 years. Now he is funding terrorists. He bears full responsibility for the political, social and political situation which the regions ended up in."
"I do not want war, I am not seeking revenge, even though I can see before my eyes the great sacrifices made by the Ukrainian people. I am seeking peace and will achieve Ukraine's unity. This is why I am starting my work by proposing a peace plan."
"I am urging everyone who took up arms to lay them down. In response, I guarantee - first - that those who do not have the blood of the Ukrainian military and civilians on their hands and those who had nothing to do with funding terrorism will be free from criminal responsibility. Second, a controlled corridor for Russian mercenaries who will want to return home. Third, peaceful negotiations. Obviously, not with Strelkovs, Abwehrs, Bises [nicknames of Donbass rebel leaders] or other evil creatures. I am talking about dialogue with Ukraine's peaceful citizens."
"Living freely means being able to freely communicate in your native language and to be guided by the 10th article of the constitution which defines Ukrainian as the only state language and guarantees the unhindered development of Russian and all the other languages."
"I will use all my diplomatic experience to ensure the signing of an international treaty that would replace the Budapest memorandum. Such a treaty should provide reliable guarantees of peace and security, up to military support in case of a threat to [Ukraine's] territorial integrity. Any aggressor at the Ukrainian border must remember this biblical adage: he who comes with a sword will be defeated by a sword."
Improving the army
"No-one will protect us unless we learn to protect us ourselves… Our army should become one of the elites of Ukrainian society… The word 'general' should not be associated with the word 'corruption', but the word 'hero'."