Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba took part in the meeting of the chief diplomats of the Central Five at the invitation of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Ivan Korčok.
Ukraine joined the activity of the regional format of cooperation between Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for the first time.
“Ukraine and Central Europe share common history and identity. We have strong political and economic ties. That’s why I didn’t hesitate when I received an invitation to take part in this meeting,” Kuleba said.
The head of Ukrainian diplomacy proposed three priority areas of cooperation between Ukraine and the Central Five: vaccination of the population, safe travel for citizens, and support for business amid the pandemic.
He paid special attention to improving the mobility of citizens.
“COVID-19 has paralysed the movement of citizens in Europe and the world on the whole. It is important that we join forces to restore safe international travel. This will not only improve mobility but also strengthen our economies,” Kuleba stressed.
The ministers discussed the possibility of concluding agreements on the recognition of vaccination certificates.
The interlocutors paid special attention to the security situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the build-up of the armed forces of the Russian Federation near the Ukrainian borders.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine underscored that the withdrawal of troops announced by the Russian side was only partial and was done only in the direction of the temporarily occupied Crimea. According to him, a significant number of units and equipment of Russian army is still positioned near the border of Ukraine.
“Strong international support for Ukraine made Russia stop rattling the sabre. At the same time, the threat of new military provocations remains. We must take additional measures to deter Russia from further aggressive actions,” Kuleba emphasised.
In this context, the foreign ministers discussed steps to strengthen security in Eastern and Central Europe.
Kuleba also touched upon the national strategy for de-occupation of Crimea and the launch of the Crimean Platform. He invited Central European partners to take part in its inaugural summit in Kyiv on August 23.