On October 14, accompanied by Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko, Culture Minister Ihor Likhovy and NSDCU Secretary Vitaly Haiduk, Victor and Kateryna Yushchenko visited Sumy region, the presidentpress office reported.
Victor Yushchenko opened a Petro Kalnyshevsky museum in the village of Pustovyytivka, Sumy oblast.
The President and the first lady then laid flowers on the monument to the last Cossack ataman. They also honored WWII soldiers.
President Yushchenko attended a church service in the Saint Trinity Church, whose construction was started under Kalnyshevsky and which is now being restored. He gave the church an icon.
In his speech, the President said it was important to preserve the memory of Petro Kalnyshevsky, who was born in Pustovyytivka and struggled for Ukraine’s independence.
“This land gave birth to the giant whose fate greatly affected the history of our fatherland, so millions of people should know this glorious history of Pustovyytivka,” he said.
Victor Yushchenko declared that one of the greatest challenges now, as well as in the times of Kalnyshevsky, was the country’s unity.
“We must have no things disuniting the country. I want us all to spare no effort to stop national hatred,” he said, adding that the creation of Ukraine’s united church would help promote this cause.
Victor Yushchenko told reporters in Sumy oblast he will demand that the Verkhovna Rada pass a bill to rehabilitate the soldiers of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-URA).
“As President, I do not define this status but can insist that the government and parliament consider the issue and make a relevant decision. This is the main objective of a decree I signed in the morning,” he said.
As far as the reconciliation between the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Red Army, President Yushchenko said “this conflict is caused by the perverted knowledge of history,” adding that it must be resolved as soon as possible.
“We must give answers to the question of historical justice and pay tribute to every fighter for this land,” he said.
The President said, a year ago, he had ordered the government to create a commission to study the role the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Ukraine’s history. He believes results of their research should be used by parliament when discussing the bill.
Victor Yushchenko also told reporters he will accept changes into the law on the fundamentals of Ukraine’s home and foreign policy, which was passed thirteen years ago, if they are “truly significant” and concern issues that have become topical in the past years. Among such issues, he said, were new political, economic, social and humanitarian priorities.
The President, however, said he would deny changes aimed at “turning the document in the direction of conservation, especially of those political outlooks and activities that have recently appeared in Ukraine.”
Yushchenko added he would appreciate if these amendments were consistent with the principles of the National Unity Pact.
Victor Yushchenko has inspected a recently built orphanage in the village of Khoruzhivka, Sumy oblast.
They also visited the Nadryhailivka District Hospital, which is now being built.
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