Thursday 16 March, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Speaker of the Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) Ruslan Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during an official visit to Kyiv (Ukraine). During the meetings with the highest state officials of Ukraine, the Prime Minister confirmed Latvia’s unwavering support for Ukraine in the war against Russia and its future in the European Union and NATO.
The Prime Minister stressed in a meeting with President Volodimir Zelenskyy that the whole Latvian society supported Ukraine. Latvia is one of the countries that has provided Ukraine and its people with wide variety of support relative to GDP, in the amount of almost half a billion euros.
K. Kariņš welcomed Ukraine’s progress in carrying out significant reforms on its way towards the European Union, despite the war. Latvia will strongly support the opening of the EU accession negotiations with Ukraine already this year. The Prime Minister also confirmed his support for Ukraine’s efforts towards NATO. “When the war is over, Ukraine must be able to join NATO. This is the only way to ensure peace and stability in Europe," said K. Kariņš.
During the meeting with Speaker of the Parliament of UkraineRuslan Stefanchuk, the Prime Minister stressed that while in Europe democracy and freedom are often taken for granted, Ukraine is fighting for these values in the war field. Russia has committed crimes of war and aggression, and its officials will have to assume liability for it. Latvia will continue to advocate the establishment of an ad hoc international tribunal to ensure accountability of Russia.
The Prime Minister confirmed in a conversation with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal that Latvia will continue to support the reconstruction of Ukraine, focusing in particular on Chernihiv Oblast, as well as provide humanitarian, military and other kind of support. K. Kariņš and D. Shmyhal agreed that economic cooperation between the two countries should be further strengthened, including in the field of military industry. The Prime Minister noted that we have to realise that our relations with Russia will not change in the foreseeable future, therefore we should advance in the European economy and trade the North-South direction , incl. by using the potential of Rail Baltica in the future.
The Prime Minister also visited Irpin and Bucha within the framework of his visit. These cities suffered severely during the first months of the Russian invasion, but the Ukrainian army managed to free the cities. K. Kariņš got acquainted with the reconstruction works in both cities, and honoured the victims of Russia’s war. The Prime Minister visited Mikhailovskaya Square in Kyiv and laid flowers at the Wall of Remembrance.