Ukraine's future belongs in Europe, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said.
"In this climate of global uncertainty and competing geostrategic interests, the connections between Europe and Ukraine are all the more important. Ukraine needs Europe. Just as important, Europe cannot afford to leave Ukraine behind," Yanukovych wrote in an article for The Wall Street Journal published on the newspaper’s Web site.
However, the Ukrainian president said he believes that Ukraine will not be able to achieve this goal alone, and called on "our European friends to support our efforts."
At the same time, the Ukrainian president said that Ukraine’s historical connection to Russia would continue to be very important.
"The key to prosperity for our people and the development of our natural and human resources lies in a deeper and more developed integration with Europe and the West," the president wrote.
Yanukovych said that Ukraine serves as a bridge connecting European, Russian and Asian markets.
"With a territory larger than France, one that is home to a third of the world’s most fertile soil, Ukraine has often been referred to as the "breadbasket of Europe," the head of state said.
He also noted that Ukraine’s strong economic ties with the EU would only increase after they finalize an Association Agreement later this year, which will be "a springboard to future EU membership."
The president also stressed that the reforms that are going on in Ukraine are aimed at bringing the country’s economy in line with European standards.
"There is more work to be done in our transformation. Replacing the remnants of Soviet corruption with transparency across all areas – including government administration, business and the judiciary – remains a challenge. No person should be immune from the consequences of his actions regardless of political standing or social stature. Without accountability, Ukraine’s transformation will be unattainable. Without the rule of law, Ukrainian citizens will have their daily lives complicated," Yanukovych said.
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