At the outset, I would like to join all previous esteemed speakers in congratulating Ukrainians on the Day of the National Flag and the Independence Day that will be celebrated tomorrow. For 18 months now, Ukrainians have been defending their national symbols, identity, dignity, freedom, and independence in an epic struggle against the illegal, immoral, unjust, and brutal aggression of the RF. We wish Ukrainians every success in this existential fight to uphold their nationhood. And we call on you to stay strong and united!

Ukrainian people, in the repulsion of this aggression, manifested exemplary bravery and courage, unbreakable spirit, will, and resilience. At the same time, the nation is paying a very high price in this battle of survival with human lives and the destruction of cities, towns, villages, civilian infrastructure, the economy, etc. For me, based in Kyiv, it is heartbreaking and painful to live through and witness all the atrocities and crimes committed by the aggressor on Ukrainian soil. I want to extend my deepest condolences to all the Ukrainian families who suffered in this war.

I would also like to express our firm solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We confirm our unwavering support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including territorial waters. Our member states stand firmly with the Ukrainian people providing humanitarian aid and multi-faceted assistance.

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I want to congratulate Ukraine on convening the Third Summit of the Crimea Platform here in Kyiv amid a full-scale war. It is gratifying to see that the Crimean Platform is gaining momentum and expanding into new dimensions focusing on specific issues. It is also growing in number of countries and organizations joining the initiative. The latter is a clear sign that more and more governments and organizations are united around Ukraine in defence of the rules-based order that should have an unshakable foundation for the peaceful coexistence of nations, big and small.

We wish further success to this initiative and are ready to contribute to its objectives in the fields of our competence. GUAM organization supports the goals of the Crimea Platform, aiming at the restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, as well as post-war rehabilitation, reconstruction, and regional cooperation.

As an interstate full-fledged regional organization with a developed organizational setup, instruments, and mechanism of cooperation, uniting four friendly nations and strategic partners, and covering the area of increasing strategic significance, GUAM can be instrumental in shaping the region as the zone of peace, stability, and cooperation, thus becoming a pillar of regional security and development.

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In my interventions at the previous Crimea Platform Summits, I was referring to our flagship initiative – GUAM Transport Corridor, which can be instrumental in achieving Crimean Platform objectives. Our joint initiative aims at establishing a modern, safe, reliable, competitive multi-modal transport link based on the EU’s TEN-T norms and standards and stretching from the Eastern borders of the EU to the shores of the Caspian Sea. The Black Sea and Azov Sea connections with free navigation are crucial parts of this corridor.

We firmly believe that this corridor can become a vital transportation artery serving trade flows between Europe and Asia, thus serving the interests of the wider international community. This corridor can become an essential part of new emerging connectivity and security architecture in the wider Black Sea and Caspian Sea region and contribute to peace and stability in our volatile space.

Today it is a matter of urgency to address the issue of its practical implementation in a holistic and coherent manner. The transport and logistical infrastructure of the GUAM MS is experiencing enormous pressure as a result of the redirecting of cargo flows from the land routes that are currently under the sanctions. Routes passing through GUAM countries are becoming the main alternative to the East-West land connections.

Our nations are undertaking measures on national and regional levels to address mounting challenges. However, more is needed to cope with the exponential traffic growth. A special study needs to be done that would take into consideration evolving geopolitical realities, mounting challenges and suggest policy responses with adequate support. The most critical factor in our case is time as we must get prepared for the post-war rehabilitation and reconstruction of Ukraine. We are keen and ready to start preparing such comprehensive Feasibility Study incorporating new geopolitical realities and demands. However, the task is beyond our capacities. Therefore, we seek cooperation with interested partners and stakeholders in the region.

I can report today, though with caution, some advancement in this respect. With the support of the incumbent Ukrainian Chairmanship in the GUAM, the first consultations were held with the EC officials in Brussels. I would like to thank Ukraine for its leadership in this matter and call on all our members to increase efforts in this direction. With the GUAM Member States aspiring for a close, mutually beneficial relationship and cooperation with the EU and our geography being a part of wider Europe, I believe we have a good chance to succeed.

Using this opportunity, I would also like to appeal to the leaders of the EU member states present here to reciprocate our endeavours, support our efforts in this regard, and expedite a favourable consideration of the matter in the EU.

We firmly believe that the realization of this initiative, together with other strategic projects in energy and communication, will transform the region’s geopolitical landscape, ensuring its integration into the European and global economies. Thus, we will contribute to peace, security, and cooperation in the area and eventually to the objectives of the Crimea Platform. All parties, having gathered around Ukraine to assist it in withstanding and winning this war, must join efforts in practical, result-oriented endeavours. We are ready and looking for close cooperation.

Thanks for your kind attention, and Glory to Ukraine!