President’s appeal to the people
An official appeal of the President of Ukraine to the people is being circulated in the Internet. Here is the full, unabridged text.
We have faced different challenges. But today’s challenge is probably the most difficult. A disaster has happened – people have died. It is a great pain and tragedy for all of us. However, we must endure and overcome it together.
Being strongly against forceful variants let alone bloodshed, I have been calling for dialog from the very beginning of current confrontation. It is my life principle – no power is worth even a drop of blood shed for it. I was guided by this principle in 2004 when I prevented my supporters from clashes with supporters of my opponent. That’s why I relied on dialog in current conflict. God gave people language for them to reconcile with one another. I have to say that there was a certain dialog. We implemented two amnesties. The first one was implemented after December events. The second one entered into force on February 17. The next day, on February 18, oppositional leaders called on radical part of Maidan for armed confrontation.
Opposition not only didn’t wait for the opening of the parliamentary session that would have voted for the laws to change Ukraine, but also blocked the Verkhovna Rada eliminating the opportunity to adopt these changes. They have set a demand – all power to the opposition, immediately. These, so to speak, politicians tried to seize power without mandate of people, illegally, violating the Constitution of Ukraine, resorting to riots, arsons and murders.
Oppositional leaders neglected the main principle of democracy – the power is gained not on the streets or squares, but at the polls. I have repeatedly told them – the elections will be soon. If people vote for you, you will have power. If people do not vote for you, you will not have power. But it should happen legally, under the Constitution of Ukraine.
They have crossed the line after calling people for weapons. It is a flagrant violation of law. The perpetrators must stand before the court that will determine their punishment. It is not my whim, it is my duty as a guarantor of the Constitution — to ensure public peace in the country and justice for everyone.
In this regard, I once again call on the leaders of the opposition who assure that they also strive for peaceful settlement to immediately disassociate themselves from the radical forces that provoke bloodshed and clashes with law enforcement bodies. Otherwise, they should acknowledge that they support radicals and we will have a different conversation with them.
Frankly speaking, I have advisors who are trying to persuade me to use force. I have always considered this variant a mistake. To find a common language and compromise, to reach an agreement is a better and more efficient option. I have told already that both government and opposition will lose something in that case but Ukraine will win. I have strongly urged to refrain from radical actions but I haven’t been heard.
I repeat and appeal again. It is not too late to hear me. It is not too late to stop the conflict.
Yes, we will not bring victims back. Yes, we have already paid an extremely expensive price for the ambitions of those who are eager to get power. But for the price not to be even higher I urge – get over yourselves! We must sit down at the negotiating table and save Ukraine. Future generations will not forgive us if we destroy the country that should belong to them – our descendants.
Dear compatriots! Dear people, who lost their friends and relatives in this senseless conflict, please let me express my deepest condolences. I know that words cannot help in grief. I understand that you have suffered a terrible tragedy. But I would like you to feel my support and sincere regret in these moments. Now we must all understand one thing – even the toughest confrontation will be finished. But Ukraine should remain forever. It is our task, our main and the very first goal.”