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You're reading: Yanukovych: Ukraine stays true to European choice, but does not need integration at any cost

Ukraine stays true to its European choice, but integration into the European space should not take place through interference in the country's internal affairs, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said. 

“We are confidently moving toward our goal of building a modern European state. But it is an extremely difficult process. We are looking for our road into the community of developed states, but integration achieved at any cost, at the expense of losing independence, having to make economic or territorial concessions and allowing someone else to interfere in our internal affairs is not the path we will ever agree to follow,” he said at an Independence Day ceremony in Kyiv on Friday. 

Freedom and independence are the main components of Ukraine’s prosperity, Yanukovych said.

“Like a free person, a free state can make mistakes and suffer defeats. But it always has a chance to win in the future,” he said.

In the past few years, Ukraine has been subject to harsh external pressure and has encountered economic difficulties, which have posed a serious challenge to the country, the president said.

However, other countries of the world faced similar problems amid the global economic crisis, he said.

“The specifics of our situation can be explained by the willingness of both external and internal forces to take advantage of the current difficulties to politically capitalize on Ukrainian society’s problems,” Yanukovych said.

The “destructive opposition” will place its bets on destabilization and chaos, seeking to escape punishment for previous mistakes, he said.

“They are ready to stage provocations in Ukraine and abroad for the sake of political revenge. They have nothing else to offer to society,” he said.

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