President Viktor Yushchenko on Friday spoke at celebrations to mark the 75-year anniversary of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, praising its role in the country’s economic and state development, President’s press office reports.

“Ukraine is proud of the Donetsk region,” he said in a speech, describing it as “the land of hard work” and “the big and powerful region among Ukraine’s powerful regions.”

Donbass is one of the country’s industrial, scientific and innovational leaders and has exceptional economic and intellectual potential which should be “preserved and developed,” he said. “You region offers jobs to millions of people and they build Ukraine as a powerful industrial state,” he said, adding that the region boasted colossal national resources and internationally famous companies and factories, among them Azovstal, Azovmash, System Capital Management, Industrial Union of Donbass and many others.

“It is important to make sure that results of this work benefit the people, your region and our country instead of disappearing in big pockets,” he said. “You deserve more than what you have. You are capable of changing your life and the Government will obey you.”

Yushchenko said the region’s mission was to be “the locomotive of Ukraine’s progress, the driving force of practical and rational national policies, the protector of each worker’s rights and freedoms.”

Speaking about the country’s recent political crisis, the President said the Ukrainian people need new and fair rules and responsible Government.

“Parliament must work to protect your interests instead of being an assembly of barons who hide from the law,” he said, reiterating his demand that lawmakers must repeal their legislative immunity and give up their unreasonable privileges.

Yushchenko then urged Ukraine’s “responsible” political forces to adopt a new constitution and introduce social reforms.

“The role of the Donetsk region in these processes is crucial. I really hope your position will as always be supportive, active and sensible,” he said.


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