Meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Speaker Andriy Parubiy

John Kerry
Secretary of State
The Rada
Kyiv, Ukraine
July 7, 2016

PRIME MINISTER GROYSMAN: (Via interpreter) Esteemed Secretary of State, esteemed Victoria Nuland, Mr. Ambassador, this is extremely pleasant to welcome you to Ukraine with your working visit. We are meeting today in the Ukrainian parliament. A few months ago, for me, it was a customary place of meetings. And unfortunately, currently our parliament is in session and our speaker will join us shortly. But for us, it’s a great honor to greet our strategic partner.

You know that we had a serious political crisis a few months ago. We have been able to regulate it and maintain the coalition and create a new government which is completely oriented toward changes and reforms. And I would like to underline that the role of the United States in strengthening our independence and support for our sovereignty, economic cooperation, has tremendous significance. And I have to say that after my visit to the United States, I again – I was again convinced in that.

And here is the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Andriy Parubiy.

SPEAKER PARUBIY: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon. Mr. Secretary of State, I apologize for being late, but the parliament is in session and we have passed two very important bills on the cooperation with IMF. And despite great challenges and political tensions in our country, I would like to assure you that the Ukrainian parliament is not only working fine but also passes revolutionary decisions for reforming our country.

Quite recently, the parliament has passed amendments on the reform of the judiciary, which are very systemic, and rather revolutionary steps to combat corruptions in Ukrainian courts. We have passed a package of laws on cooperation with the IMF, and practically the entire package of anticorruption laws, which are necessary to combat the number-one evil in Ukraine – namely, corruption. Some laws have been passed, some are being already implemented all that – under conditions when the Putin power and the Russian aggressor continues its invasion in Ukraine. We also are aware that the hostilities in the occupation army will step up in the nearest future. And with regard to international events, this activity will be stepped up for destabilizing the situation within our country.

We will not allow for that and we would like to count on our strategic partner, the United States of America, to help us to stop the occupation powers, the occupation troops, and we will have a steady partner as we used to have in the person of the United States of America. And I would like to thank you on behalf of the Verkhovna Rada for all the assistance the Ukraine has gotten in the hardest period in its history from the U.S.A. And I would like to assure you that Ukraine will not be stopped on the road to reforms.

Welcome to Ukraine, and thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Speaker, thank you very, very much. Thank you for taking time from a very busy legislative schedule. You have nothing to apologize for at all. I spent 28 years in Congress and I know what it’s like – when the votes are there, the votes are there. So I really appreciate your making some time on a busy day.

Mr. Speaker, you mention being able to count on the United States. I just delivered a message to President Poroshenko from President Obama that the United States is deeply committed to Ukraine. I think you know that. We want to congratulate you on the reforms that you have undertaken.

The legislative reforms are (inaudible) critical, whether it’s been the justice system or your efforts with businesses in order to privatize or do rule of law (inaudible), any number of (inaudible) energy sector, a whole bunch of things that you are tackling, and I know how difficult it is. So we have great respect for that.