Announcing total support for United Nations efforts to provide humanitarian aid in times of crisis, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych today pledged to put his country’s aircraft and ships at the service of those fleeing conflict, whoever they are and wherever they may be.
“We speak not about a single action, but about Ukraine’s resolute intention to use its capabilities to protect civilian populations in hot spots,” President Yanukovych told the General Assembly, referring to his country’s actions last year in evacuating people of many nationalities from hostilities in Libya.
“The people of Ukraine have never been and shall never be indifferent to human suffering. We don’t distinguish grief into ‘our’ and ‘their’,” he said in his statement to the second day of the Assembly’s General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Let me reassure you that Ukrainian aircraft and ships that may be used for evacuation efforts in hot spots shall be at the disposal of anyone needing help, irrespective of nationality,” he added.
Referring to the “extremely alarming” situation in Syria, where over 18,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes since an uprising against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad erupted 18 months ago, President Yanukovych said Ukraine was ready to provide humanitarian aid under UN mechanisms to internally displaced persons and refugees.
He noted that 34,000 Ukrainians have taken part over the years in UN peacekeeping missions in over 20 operations, from Guatemala to Timor-Leste and from Croatia to Mozambique.
“I am truly proud of the contribution of the sons and daughters of Ukraine – servicemen, law enforcement officers and civilian personnel – who have been serving and continue to serve the noble ideals of peace under the UN flag,” he declared.
Ukraine has for many years actively supported the expansion of preventive diplomacy in international relations, with a leading role played by the UN, he added.
Turning to economic development, President Yanukovych said participation in UN sustainable development efforts would remain Ukraine’s “unchanging priority.”
The Ukrainian leader is one of scores of heads of State and government and other high-level officials are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.