Every day, help from Latvia, allies and friends brings Ukraine closer to victory - Chairman of Verkhovna Rada

  • 2024-02-22
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The help of Latvia, allies and friends is bringing Ukraine closer to victory every day, said Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, who on Thursday addressed an extraordinary session of the Saeima to mark the second anniversary of Russia's war in Ukraine.

He conveyed greetings to Latvia from the unbroken Ukrainian capital and people, who have been fighting the Russian invaders for two years. According to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, many thought that the Ukrainians would not last even three days and that it would be impossible to resist the so-called second largest army in the world.

"Many thought so, but not Latvians. From the beginning of the barbaric attack, it was Latvians who supported Ukraine, helped and believed. I want to thank you for your unwavering support and assistance. The Latvian Parliament was among the first to condemn Russia's full-scale invasion, to support the call for a no-fly zone over Ukrainian territory and to urge UN countries to announce this decision as soon as possible," said Stefanchuk.

The Verkhovna Rada Chairman reminded that the Saeima recognized Russia's crimes in Ukraine as genocide, declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, and has called for war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity to be brought to justice. According to Stefanchuk, the Saeima has appealed to the world to return Ukrainian children illegally kidnapped by Russia and Belarus. The Latvian Parliament also banned national teams from playing against Russian or Belarusian national teams.

"I know that new and powerful decisions are in the pipeline! Thank you! We feel your support both at the national level and at the human level - we feel like brothers and sisters. Your help is invaluable, whether it is military aid or a letter to the Ukrainian soldiers at the front," the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada told the MPs.

He pointed out that since the beginning of the war Latvia has supported Ukraine with more than 371 million euros, which is one percent of the country's gross domestic product. Last year, Latvia trained more than 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers and provided medical treatment and rehabilitation for more than 250 wounded soldiers.

"If we speak the language of the heart, we are grateful for your help and understand that it is not easy to find new resources to continue. But we must fight on. We have to be strong and increase the pressure on the aggressor. The 12th round of sanctions by the European Union is an important element. [...] The aggressor state, the Russian oligarchs and agents of influence are looking for new ways to circumvent the sanctions day after day. That is why we have to keep working and sometimes do more, especially in the legislative sphere, to prevent this from happening," Stefanchuk said.

He stressed the need to continue working to keep the areas not yet affected by sanctions smaller and smaller, thus depriving Russia of the possibility to continue the war. In his speech, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada referred to the confiscation of frozen Russian for Ukraine: the aggressor must pay for the reconstruction of a wounded, crippled but not killed Ukraine.

"You are the first national parliament in Europe to nationalize property belonging to the aggressor state. [...] I also thank you for your political support for Ukraine on its path towards Europe and European integration. We must do everything we can to ensure that historic decisions for Ukraine are confirmed and adopted at the NATO anniversary summit in Washington. Latvia is not only helping, but encouraging others to help. We are grateful for the efforts of the Baltic and Nordic countries to make Ukraine heard in Washington and Brussels," said the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

Stefanchuk expressed confidence that together Ukraine will be rebuilt and made even better. He pointed out that neither in Ukrainian nor in Latvian can one express Ukraine's immense gratitude for all the work done. The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada expressed his wish that today, shortly before the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine, both Latvia and the world would feel Ukraine's confidence in its victory in the war.

"We have nowhere to go from our land. We have to look into the eyes of our children and our descendants, we have to build Ukraine from the ruins, but Latvia's support and help, the help of our faithful allies and friends, can and every day is bringing us closer to victory. This victory will be shared. It will be a victory of freedom, independence and democracy," said the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada at the end of his speech.