Petr Poroshenko sworn in as president of Ukraine
7 June 2014, 12:44 -- An inauguration ceremony began in Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, at 10:00 local time (11:00 Moscow time) on Saturday. The ceremony featured 56 foreign delegations, where 23 countries were represented by their heads, prime ministers, parliament speakers and heads of international organisations.The ceremony has been broadcast live in six languages. Russia was represented by its Ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov.
President Petr Poroshenko's oath-of-office was taken by Yuri Baurlin, head of the country's Constitution Court, who has also handed over the official presidential symbols: a reference sample of the official seal, mace and the president's sign in the form of a sash chain. Poroshenko has sworn allegiance to the Constitution of the people of Ukraine and Peresopnytsia Gospel.
During the ceremony, the parliamentary speaker, Alexander Turchynov, said various deputies, members of the government, and Ukraine's former presidents - Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko were present in the hall.
On relations with the country's south-east
Poroshenko says about his determination 'to go to the east of the country with peace' in the near future.
Switching from the Ukrainian to the Russian language in his inaugural speech at the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday, Poroshenko said: 'What will I bring with me as president when I visit you in the near future? Peace. A project of the governance system's decentralization. A guarantee of the free use of the Russian language in your region. Firm determination not to divide Ukrainians into right and wrong ones. A respectful attitude toward specifics of regions, and the right for local communities to have their nuances concerning historical memory and religious traditions.'
Poroshenko has vowed to call early local elections in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, a territory known as Donbass, to settle the crisis in the region.
On economic association agreement with EU
Ukraine's newly elected President Petr Poroshenko says in his inauguration speech he is ready to sign immediately the economic part of the agreement on Ukraine's association with the EU.
'I am ready to sign immediately the second part of Ukraine's agreement with the EU on association. The pen is in my hand already,' he said.
'Ukraine's aspiration is to become as soon as possible the EU's full-fledged member,' he added.
On visa facilitation with EU
The Ukrainian government will do its utmost to complete the implementation of a visa facilitation action plan with the European Union by the end of 2014, Poroshenko said. He insisted that the liberalization of visa regulations with the EU is among his top priorities.
'We have already completed the first phase of visa-free travel and will complete the second one very soon, so that Ukrainian citizens could have the opportunity to travel to Europe without visas starting January 1, 2015,' Poroshenko said in his inaugural speech at the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday.
On form of government
Poroshenko says Ukraine has been and will remain to be a unitary state.
'Dreams about federalization have no grounds in Ukraine,' Poroshenko said in his inaugural speech at the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday.
On the language issue
The Ukrainian language will remain the only official language in Ukraine, Poroshenko said, Interfax reports.
'Living in a new way means that you cannot ignore the people's will, and living freely means speaking freely in the native language and being guided by Article 10 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the Ukrainian language is the only official language, which guarantees free development of the Russian and other languages,' he said.
On parliamentary elections
Petr Poroshenko has called for holding early parliamentary elections.
'The full reset of the governance system, including early parliamentary elections, is an important element of public aspirations,' Poroshenko stated.
On security issue
Kiev should sign a new international agreement guaranteeing its security to replace the Budapest Memorandum, says Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko.
'I will use all my diplomatic experience to secure the signature of an international agreement that would come instead of the Budapest Memorandum. Such an agreement should provide reliable guarantees of peace and security, including military support in case of a threat to our territorial integrity,' Poroshenko said in his inaugural speech at the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday.
Poroshenko says he considers Crimea Ukrainian territory.
'There can't be any compromise with anyone regarding Crimea, the European choice, and the governance system,' Poroshenko said.
Poroshenko's inauguration kicks off in Kiev amid ongoing punitive operation in east Ukraine
Lawmakers and representatives of foreign delegations arrived in Ukraine's parliament Verkhovna Rada, where the ceremony of inauguration of the president-elect Petr Poroshenko is taking place. An unprecedented number of foreign visitors is expected to attend the ceremony.
The security is tightened around the Rada building and in the nearby streets in the center of Kiev. According to the MP of the Party of Regions billionaire Vadim Novinsky, Poroshenko's first actions as president should be to initiate a dialogue with the south-east of the country, where Ukrainian troops conducted a special operation against opponents of the Kiev new authorities.
Meanwhile on the eve of Poroshenko's inauguration a woman was killed in Slavyansk when the Ukrainian army swept the central part of the city with fire. In one more south-eastern city Lugansk he self-defense says it has repelled an air raid on the city, the Lugansk People's Republic press-service, Vladimir Inogorodsky, told TASS.
'There has been an attempted air raid by two drones and two warplanes. An air alert was announced and fire opened. The planes - Sukhoi-27 fighter jets - left. They had approached from Chuguyev, a base near Kharkov. The drones are still roaming around,' Inogorodsky said.
The US has recently pledged $5 million military aid to Ukraine and potential training of its law enforcement and military personnel to facilitate its operations in the southeast. Meanwhile, Kiev has reportedly used tanks to attack the city of Slavyansk. And its president-elect has been asked to declare a state of emergency in the eastern regions of the nation.
The Poroshenko's press service reported on Wednesday the president-elect told Polish president Komorowski on June 3 he would put forward peace initiatives and involve representatives of the east in the dialogue.
The dialogue will require 'the soonest election of the Verkhovna Rada and local councils,' Poroshenko said.
Poroshenko was elected president of Ukraine on May 25. 54.7 percent of Ukrainians supported his candidature.
Presidential election was held amid a deep political crisis in the country and conducted by the Kiev authorities large scale military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine's east, which resulted in killing of civilians.
Moscow called this special operation 'punitive' and urged the Ukrainian authorities to immediately stop it.
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