There is no Europe without Ukraine: EU Council head

The European Council (EC) head Donald Tusk spoke on Tuesday at the Ukrainian parliament on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Ukrainian Revolution, also called the Revolution of Dignity.

“There can be no just Europe without an independent Ukraine,” said Mr Tusk, recalling Pope John Paul II’s words spoken at the beginning of Poland’s road to the EU, and he thanked the Ukrainians for their sacrifice in the days in the prologue to and during the Revolution itself that broke out on February 18, 2014, adding that he had come to Ukraine not only “as the EC head but also as a Pole, [Ukrainians’] closest neighbour and a cordial friend.” Mr Tusk gave his speech in Ukrainian.

“I want to say it here and now … that there can be no just Europe without an independent Ukraine. That there can be no safe Europe without a safe Ukraine. To put it simply: there can be no Europe without Ukraine,” stressed Mr Tusk, adding that a person may only call him or herself European if he shows solidarity with Ukraine. “One who sells off Ukraine sells off the future of Europe,” he said, stressing that the Ukrainian people may hope for Europe’s solidarity with their nation.

“I wish to reiterate that Europe will never recognise the Russian aggression on Crimea and will not resign from sanctions until Russia does not comply to its obligations. The EU will not reconcile with any act of Russian aggression on the Azov Sea. I will do everything so that the European Union remains united in this regard,” stated Mr Tusk, adding that “the EU welcomes Ukraine’s choice [to join the EU].”

According to Mr Tusk, Europe does not forget about the heroic martyrdom of the Heavenly Hundred, which is some over 100 protesters who perished during the events taking place in the autumn and winter of 2013–2014. “The Heavenly Hundred entered not only the Ukrainian pantheon but also the European one,” said Mr Tusk.

The Dignity Revolution, preceded by a series of protests in December 2013, erupted on February 18 and lasted five days, saw an ousting of the elected Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, the overthrowing of the then pro-Russian Ukrainian Government, a consequent annexation of Crimea by Russian forces and the eruption of conflict in eastern Ukraine in the Donbas region.

‘Steer clear from the temptation of radical nationalism and populism’

The EC head also gave pieces of “friendly” advice to Ukraine, not to “lecture” Ukrainians but to forewarn them against “internal conflicts” that have been re-emerging in the history of both Poland and Ukraine. “Internal conflicts are the greatest gift for the third party,” he said.

“Steer clear from the temptation of radical nationalism and populism, just as you have continued to do so far … egoism and isolation will ruin our political community,” stressed the EC head, adding that reconciliation should prevail instead of vengeance, solidarity instead of selfishness, spreading historical truth instead of propaganda, and that “Ukraine is too great to retreat to the drug of populism in order to embrace this greatness.”

In the midst of his speech, Mr Tusk read out Ukrainian poet Galina Kruk’s poem entitled “Usi mi, Yevropo, tak hliboko sturbovani” (Eng. We all, Europe, are so deeply concerned) written in the days of the Ukrainian Revolution.

Ukraine’s pro-European news website Evropeyska Pravda called Mr Tusk’s speech historic.