President Viktor Yushchenko has congratulated the nation on the 16th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, President's press office reported.

In an address delivered in Kyiv’s Sofiya Square on Friday, Yushchenko said this historic day “will always be the triumph of our freedom” and added that Ukrainians “have done much” over the past sixteen years despite many problems but “will have to do much more.” “Our failures have not stopped us and will not stop us.”

Yushchenko remembered Ukraine’s glorious and tragic history, asking God to send blessings to “each citizen of Ukraine, the nation, our whole state.”

The President said he was “full of determination” to continue changing the country. He described an upcoming snap election as his firm “response to an attack against Ukraine by corrupt politicians” and reiterated his demands that it was important to repeal legislative immunity, renew the system of government and adopt a new constitution.

“I know how to restore order in our Ukrainian house. ...I will establish a constitutional council to draft a new constitution. This process will take longerthan a day but nobody will be able to make it too long. It also cannot be a hostage of the [September 30] election, as it is very important for each of us. I firmly repeat what I said two months ago on Constitution Day: our constitution will be adoptedat a nationwide Ukrainian referendum.”

Yushchenko insisted that the government must introduce social reforms and implement new social policies. “The state must support everyone who really needs help and create conditions for those who can care for themselves and their families.”

He said Ukraine “has again forgotten” its millions of labor migrants abroad, adding that their return “will be one of the first signs of real changes in the country.”

Yushchenko said Ukraine "needs a modern strategy of cultural renewal" and wantedto be an "influential and constructive participant” of European and global processes.

“We are moving forward. We can do more. Together we can do everything,” he said.

Accompanied by Security and Defense Council Secretary Ivan Plyushch, Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha, Kyiv Governor Vira Ulyanchenko, Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky, Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Security Service Head Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and National Bank Chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh, President Victor Yushchenko and his family attended an Independence Day service in Kyiv’s Saint Sofiya Cathedral on Friday.

The leaders of Ukraine’s many confessions officiated at this annual religious ceremony topray for Ukraine.


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