"I, being the representative of the country where the language issue has been often the subject of various speculations, have something to say on this topic. In our state Russian language is widely used in the field of mass communication. I would like to emphasize that Ukraine has never had any problems with the Russian language or its use," Yelchenko said.
He noted that in any corner of Ukraine there has always been an opportunity to study and improve Russian, read Russian-language books and magazines, watch Russian television. This opportunity is enjoyed not only by those citizens who consider Russian to be their native language, but by those who choose to study it as a foreign language and as the official language of the country, which is a neighbor and strategic partner of Ukraine, the ambassador said.
At the same time he stressed that the problem with the status of the Russian language is to be solved to the full by adoption of the Law on the principles of the national language policy.
"We hope that the adoption of this law will finally stop all the speculations on the language issue," Yelchenko said.
"Unfortunately now we cannot say there is the same positive situation with the Ukrainian language in Russia. In your vast and multicultural country, there is still no single school, which would permanently taught Ukrainian, no single edition or TV-program in the Ukrainian language," the Ambassador said.
According to him, the both aspects of the language learning, or rather the lack of opportunities to do so, are of significant importance. The first is meeting the educational and cultural needs of the Ukrainian residents in the Russian Federation, and Ukrainians are known to be the third largest minority in the country. The second is its learning as a foreign language.
"I have never heard before that for children to learn Polish or Japanese as a foreign language, their parents or the relevant embassy had to collect a certain number of applications. But it is a condition put in front of the Ukrainian side by the Russian authorities," he said.
The Ambassador assured that the preservation of the national identity and respect for the cultural needs of the member countries are particularly relevant under any form of integration. "In fact, the high-quality and the full-fledged integration interaction is impossible without the observance of these principles in the humanitarian field. Therefore, I am sure that, speaking about the role of the Russian language in the integration processes within the former Soviet Union, we should also be aware of the need to solve a whole range of the issues related," he said.
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