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2019.11.27 16:00

Ukrainian President in Vilnius: investments, war and solidarity – key takeaways

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LRT.lt2019.11.27 16:00

Lithuanian President Gitananas Nausėda met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Vilnius on Wednesday. LRT English brings you the key takeaways from the bilateral meeting.

Lithuania’s support to Ukrainian soldiers: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Lithuania for the concrete help offered to Ukrainian soldiers. Lithuania has been hosting Ukrainian soldiers undergoing rehabilitation, and has also sponsored the reconstruction of a school in Avdiivka, a town on the frontline in Donbass.

Read more: ‘There’s no shooting here’ – Ukrainian children find respite in Lithuanian schools

Belarus’ nuclear issue: Lithuanian president said he didn’t have “a goal to talk [Ukraine] into buying or not buying” energy from Belarus’ nuclear plant, but Zelensky said he heard Nausėda’s “signal” and promised to “sit down with the energy minister and discuss the question”.

Changing energy orientation: Nausėda said Ukraine had the same target as Lithuania to diversify and reorientate its energy sources, without naming, away from Russia.

Peace talks with Russia and sanctions: The Lithuanian president wished for Ukraine not to make undue compromises with Russia, as “we are awaiting consessions from the other side, because only in this way [the meeting between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin] can be called negotiations”. Nausėda and Zelensky also said that the EU sanctions on Russia needed to remain in place until Minsk peace agreements were implemented.

Read more: Ukraine peace summit in Paris not an end in itself, vice PM says in Vilnius

Reforms in Ukraine: Nausėda underlined Lithuania’s duty to help Ukraine implement reforms that would “integrate” the country into the West. “We have accumulated certain experience in reforms and, therefore, we can help politically, as well as with our expertise,” said Nausėda, adding that by accomplishing reforms Ukraine would become “a fully fledged member of the European community”.

Lithuanian investments in Ukraine: Zelensky said Ukraine should complete impact studies on importing fertilisers by spring 2020, which should open the market to Lithuanian producers. Nausėda also said Lithuanian investments in Ukraine would change in the future due to the solar energy potential. “We would like to enter further into [Ukraine's] domestic market [...] because you are a large country with many people,” according to Nausėda. He also said Lithuania and Ukraine could cooperate on fintech, as both countries have their own strengths in the sector.

Ukraine’s land reforms: Zelensky said Ukraine's land reforms that would open the country's agriculture to foreign investors could also strengthen economic relations with Lithuania.

Ukraine’s fight against corruption: Zelesnky reiterated that the fight against corruption is the second war in Ukraine, and underlined that the country “has fully stopped [the flow of] contraband”.

Upcoming conference in Vilnius on Ukraine’s reforms: Nausėda said the upcoming conference on Ukraine’s reforms in Lithuania next year would give a platform for Zelensky to present the country’s progress. “I will take up the [Lithuanian] president on his offer and will take part in this important event,” said Zelensky.

Cooperation agreements signed: The presidents signed a declaration on future cooperation and two other inter-institutional documents on cooperation in cybersecurity and electronic identification services. They initiated further agreements on youth and children’s rights, with the aim of sharing good practice.

Ukraine praises Lithuania’s hospitality: Zelensky called Lithuania a country very close to Ukrainians and said the Vilnius-Kyiv dialogue is permeated with trust. “During the negotiations, we have declared a united position by Kyiv and Vinius on bilateral, as well as international questions,” said Zelesnky, thanking Lithuania for its steadfast position on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Dual citizenship for Ukrainians: Zelensky said an “option” for dual citizenship in Ukraine was being prepared, which would be in line with his election pledge to bring Ukrainians back to the home country. “I think the world should be liberal and free,” said Zelensky.

The press conference was held in Lithuanian and Ukrainian languages.