President George Vella received the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Mr Oleksandr Kornienko, at Sant’Anton Palace in Attard.
Mr Kornienko conveyed the strong appreciation of the people of Ukraine to Malta for the outstanding support it has been providing since the invasion by Russia on 24 February. He explained how Ukraine was impressed with the overwhelming show of support extended to it by the general public in Malta, adding that size and distance clearly did not stand in the way of solidarity.
The tangible help provided by the Government of Malta was highly valued, especially when it came to the provision of medical supplies, humanitarian assistance, the welcoming of Ukrainian refugees as well as the medical attention being provided to Ukrainian children who need it urgently.
Moving on to the situation on the ground, Mr Kornienko stated that it is worsening by the day, especially on the eastern side. Millions have been displaced and left without homes or access to basic facilities. Ukraine is hopeful that its call for accession to the European Union will be given due consideration.
President George Vella reiterated his full solidarity with Ukraine and his condemnation of the war by Russia. This was his position on the very first day of the war, and he underlined this conviction at every possible opportunity. President Vella observed that Malta’s neutrality does not imply indifference toward attacks on our shared principles and the deplorable loss of life.
President Vella expressed hope for all atrocities to cease and for the full observance of international law. He also reasserted the need for negotiations to resume and commended the constructive approach of Ukraine to remain engaged in talks.
On the issue of accession to the European Union, President Vella stated that Malta looks forward the European Commission’s assessment and that this will be considered accordingly at the June European Council. He added that it is not that long ago that Malta had been through this process. It is undoubtedly a political issue but also one that is underpinned by a technical process that is also very taxing on resources, systems, and structures.
Upon departure, Mr Kornienko presented President Vella with a picture featuring the maps of Malta and Ukraine, together with national symbols, painted by Ukrainian children.