By Ruslan Nimchynskyi

Over three decades ago, Ukraine decided to embark on the path of freedom and democracy, a course it has maintained to this day. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became an independent state, formalised by the national Referendum in December 1991.

The Republic of Cyprus recognised Ukraine’s independence on December 27, 1991 and on February 19, 1992, in New York, Ukraine and the Republic of Cyprus signed a Protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations. From that point bilateral relations between our two countries have developed in the spirit of mutual understanding and trust. At the same time, we should not forget that ties between our peoples existed long before the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Our bilateral relations have deep historical roots and good traditions.

Today as we mark the 30th anniversary of excellent relations, we acknowledge the spiritual closeness of the Ukrainians and Cypriots and their shared values particularly with respect to numerous issues of international concern. The two countries have a lot in common. We have become important partners and reliable friends through the years. We belong to the same Orthodox community, we share common European democratic values, we practise tolerance and compassion while defending our freedom, traditions, distinctiveness and independence.

From the very beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, the Republic of Cyprus has remained steadfast in its unwavering and strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-recognition of the temporary occupation of Crimea as well as our country’s European aspirations.

In view of the recent massive Russian military build-up at the Ukrainian border, which is the continuation of the eight-year hybrid war waged against Ukraine, we very much appreciate the solidarity and support for Ukraine in this difficult time. We feel it is particularly sincere when speaking to ordinary Cypriots who feel our pain like their own.

Today, Ukraine along with its friends and partners, including those in the European Union, are closely working on de-escalating the security situation and on reviving a political settlement with Russia. We remain vigilant and resolute about lowering tensions and keeping Russia on the diplomatic track. Over the past 30 years, our bilateral relations have continuously developed, and our cooperation has expanded and deepened. Ukraine and Cyprus maintain strong diplomatic ties and have enjoyed three decades of good relations.

In recent years, our close ties have been expanding steadily and strengthening in all areas. Our cultural ties extend to economy and trade, science and technology, and people-to-people exchanges. We are also set to make some significant steps in our inter-parliamentary dialogue.

For the first time since 2013 we have conducted our Intergovernmental Commissions’ meeting focused on a comprehensive list of bilateral goals. A number of our ministries and governmental agencies have reinvigorated their interaction in various spheres, including tourism, IT and digitalisation, maritime issues and higher education.

As we mark the 30th anniversary of our relations, we will use this as an opportunity to achieve even better results in areas of mutual interest to bring bilateral relations to a new level for the benefit of both states and their peoples.

I would like to conclude by reiterating Ukraine’s strong commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. Ukraine has always backed the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus within its internationally recognised borders and strongly supports the negotiation process between the two communities of Cyprus under the UN auspices in accordance with all relevant UN resolutions on Cyprus.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to wish our Cypriot friends, peace, prosperity and every success.

Ruslan Nimchynskyi is the Ambassador of Ukraine to Cyprus