RIGA - From September 5 to 7, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica, is in Ukraine on a working visit to meet with partners and discuss contribution provided by Latvia’s development cooperation projects, as well as assistance to the reconstruction of Ukraine that Latvia is planning to offer, and support needed for Ukraine’s EU membership, LETA was informed by the Foreign Ministry.
In a meeting with Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head for reconstruction at the Office of the President of Ukraine, Kalnina-Lukasevica underlined that over 15 years, Latvia had invested in Ukraine 21% of the Foreign Ministry’s development cooperation funding. The bulk of that budget has been invested in Ukraine this year. Bilateral development cooperation contributions to Ukraine are also intended to be considerably increased next year.
Kalnina-Lukasevica said: “Ukraine’s public administration is doing an admirable job under wartime conditions to defend its country against the aggressor while ensuring an effective functioning of public authorities and provision of services to the public. In a focused manner, it is devising reconstruction plans through processing information on a unified platform about the destroyed infrastructure and facilities and moving resolutely ahead with decisions on reforms that are necessary for full membership of the EU.”
The Parliamentary Secretary noted that Ukraine’s ability to focus on development goals in extreme conditions demonstrates determination and foresight as well as urging partner countries to mobilize further support.
As Kyrylo Tymoshenko presented Ukraine’s recovery plan, he pointed out that there was an acute need to rebuild 38,000 out of 86,000 facilities that had suffered medium to severe damage as the result of Russian aggression. Primarily, housing must be prepared for the winter season, as well as rebuilding schools, hospitals and energy supply infrastructure in the liberated territories, from which the Russian troops have been driven out.
The Parliamentary Secretary said she was mindful of the urgency of winterization so that people would not be forced to abandon their homes. With the Governor of Chernihiv Oblast joining the conversation remotely, the organizational aspects of Ukraine’s recovery process were discussed.
In a meeting with Oleksii Ilnytskyi, Political Director of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Parliamentary Secretary exchanged views on the EU’s policy vis à vis Russia, the importance of sanctions, Latvia’s support for the development of the Crimea Platform and involvement in the reconstruction process, as well as fighting disinformation. The Parliamentary Secretary underlined that Latvia would continue supporting Ukraine.
In a conversation with Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Chair of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Ukraine's EU Integration, Kalnina-Lukasevica discussed Ukraine’s progress with the reform process and steps that need to be taken for harmonization of legislation with the EU standards in the areas such as the rule of law and media freedom.
“Latvia is also providing support for the restoration and strengthening of capacity and resilience of Ukrainian public administration, including the Supreme Court of Ukraine, financial administration, the border guard, and educational institutions. We shall continue supporting Ukraine on its course towards EU membership. In making plans for future support, it is essential to know current needs and priorities so as to provide the most effective assistance possible and to share with Ukraine the knowledge and experience it needs right at this point,” Kalnina-Lukasevica underlined.
In response to a request from the Chair of the Integration Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary noted that Latvia was prepared to offer assistance to Ukrainian public authorities in education and training on EU-related topics and the alignment of national legislation with the EU’s norms.
All the participants of the talks underlined once again that people at the individual level and Ukrainian society in general are aware of the intensity of support provided by Latvia, which they appreciate very strongly.
Further on during the visit, several meetings and discussions are to be held with implementers of development cooperation projects funded by Latvia, representatives from international organizations, and Ukrainian public officials.