The new Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman has been speaking to euronews during his visit to Brussels on Wednesday. It was his first official visit where he met with the heads of the EU institutions to discuss, amongst other things, the Minsk agreements, energy and visa free travel.
Natalia Richardson-Vikulina, euronews: Europe is having a very difficult time – Brexit, terrorist attacks, the influx of refugees. Do you think that events in Ukraine have taken a back seat?
Volodymyr Groysman, Ukrainian Prime Minister: The questions that you’ve listed are very important. But what is happening today with Russia in relation to Ukraine cannot be moved to third or fourth position. This applies not only to Ukraine, it refers to the entire civilized world. It is important that at this difficult time the civilized world is united.
euronews: What is the best solution for the conflict in Donbass?
Volodymyr Groysman: The first thing to do is to make sure that Russia starts to fulfill the Minsk agreements. They should withdraw their troops, to withdraw their weapons from the territory of a sovereign state. You know that in Ukraine there was no internal conflict, all of this was introduced by our neighbors. So we are talking about the withdrawal of troops, the introduction of a special OSCE police mission, this is a very good mechanism that makes it possible to ensure peace, on the one hand, and the reintegration of these territories.
euronews: Will Ukraine join NATO?
Volodymyr Groysman: As a result of the summit (NATO summit in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016), we received quite a serious joint action programme. We believe that our task today is to modernise the armed forces of Ukraine according to NATO standards. You know that Ukrainians have a good enough attitude to NATO but there is a certain procedure. And during the last few years in such difficult circumstances the Ukrainian army is reviving and the army is actually becoming a very effective and strong one.
euronews: You have discussed here this issue of visa-free travel. When can Ukraine get it?
Volodymyr Groysman: Ukraine has taken all the necessary steps to introduce visa-free travel for Ukrainians. We expect the decision of the European Union, this process is ongoing. We expect that in October the relevant institutions of the European Union will take a positive decision.
euronews: When will Ukraine be ready to join the EU?
Volodymyr Groysman: In 10 years we will finish the road that will lead us to the point where we can apply to become a member of the European Union. There is a set of reforms to achieve that, this set is absolutely clear, so everyone understands what to do. We must simply act quickly.