National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Vitalii Moskalenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Bulgaria

August 24, 1991 is a date that can be called the most important in the recent history of Ukraine. This is the starting point that marked the birth of a new state - an independent and free Ukraine. This is an extraordinary event that has legally consolidated the centuries-old desire of the Ukrainian people for national revival and spiritual freedom.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence, Ukraine is successfully implementing a huge amount of internal transformations in unprecedentedly difficult conditions of ongoing-armed aggression from the neighboring country. In some places, there are problems, there are steps back and steps forward, but in general, Ukraine is really succeeding and moving in the right direction.

This year, for the first time in history, Ukraine received the Strategy of Foreign Policy, the content of which can be systematized in three areas. Ukraine is an active participant in international politics. Ukraine is forming a security structure for itself, the region and the world. Ukraine is a country of new economic opportunities.

This document puts an end to all speculations about the foreign policy course of our country - the course for membership in the EU and NATO. After all, this is exactly the choice made by the Ukrainian people and they pay a high price to protect it.

I can't help but mention another important initiative launched by Ukraine this year - the Crimean Platform. According to Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, this is an example of the formation of a new security structure, when in contrast to large established alliances, an association of like-minded people was created to implement a simple and specific task: countering threats to foreign occupation of Crimea and de-occupation of our peninsula. We want to turn Crimea again to aplace of stability, prosperity and protection of human rights - in Ukraine and in Europe.

At the same time, Ukraine's efforts will not be enough to succeed without the strong support of our friends and partners, which we highly value. Therefore, I would like to emphasize that Bulgaria has been and remains a reliable partner of Ukraine in realizing our European and Euro-Atlantic ambitions. We are grateful for the consistent support of state sovereignty and territorial integrity. The assistance provided by Bulgaria to fight the coronavirus infection and to recover several hundred wounded Ukrainian servicemenis invaluable. In fact, a friend in need is a friend indeed.

I would also like tostresswith special pleasure that this year we celebrate an important date for the two countries - the 30th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Bulgaria. The Embassy prepares and conducts a number of events - exhibitions, concerts, festivals, film screenings - dedicated to this extraordinary event.

Despite the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukrainian-Bulgarian political dialogue was maintained in all directions: visits, telephone calls and online meetings between officials of both countries. The results of these activities indicate one thing: the readiness of the leadership of Ukraine and Bulgaria for a further effective development of relations and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Bulgaria is an important and reliable trade partner of Ukraine. We continued to take active measures to overcome the negative impact of the pandemic on our bilateral economic cooperation. The statistics are telling: the trade between our countries is showing a trend of recovery, and we are expecting record figures for the current year.

It is gratifyingly that in recent years Ukrainian citizens have increasingly chosen Bulgaria as their holiday destination. In terms of the number of tourists who have visited Bulgaria since the beginning of this year, Ukraine is on the third place.

Here I would like to emphasize that this summer we managed to implement a special project - we launched the first Ukrainian-language audio guide on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria in the museum "Ancient Nessebar" as part of the initiative of the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska to introduce Ukrainian -language audio guides in museums around the world. Now Ukrainians will be able to rediscover the beauty and history of the ancient city of Nessebar. However, we also invite Bulgarian friends to visit Ukraine to see for themselves how Bulgarian traditions and customs are preserved in the south of our country, to taste delicious Bessarabian wines...

Maintaining constant bondswith the Ukrainian community in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian national minority in Ukraine remains one of the priorities of bilateral cooperation between our countries. Ukraine has repeatedly reaffirmed that it is a reliable partner and is open for discussing all issues related to the preservation of the national identity of Ukrainian Bulgarians and Bulgarian Ukrainians.

So once again, I congratulate Ukrainians in Bulgaria and all our Bulgarian friends on the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence. Wish you peaceful sky, prosperity and further development of Ukrainian-Bulgarian cooperation.

Happy Birthday, Ukraine!

The photo was provided by the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria. On it: H. E. Mr. Vitalii Moskalenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Bulgaria