During a working visit to the Portuguese Republic, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Ihor Zhovkva met with the country's top political leadership.
During a conversation with Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa, Ihor Zhovkva expressed gratitude on behalf of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the strong support for our state in combating full-scale armed aggression. The interlocutors reaffirmed their willingness to enhance cooperation in the context of Ukraine's implementation of its intentions to become a full member of the European Union.
"I had a good opportunity to make sure that Portugal, which is geographically far from Ukraine, understands the concerns and needs of Ukrainians very well - we are sincerely grateful for the help provided. This means that it will definitely not be against a symbolic decision for Ukraine - the status of a candidate for EU membership," said the Deputy Head of the President's Office.
During the meeting, special attention was paid to the prospects of involving Portugal in the post-war reconstruction of destroyed facilities in the regions of our country.
"It will be a good opportunity to build a part of Portugal in Ukraine - with its sun, warmth and always positive attitude to life," said Ihor Zhovkva.
In a conversation with President of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic Augusto Silva, the role of the parliamentary dimension of bilateral cooperation in ensuring support for Ukraine was highly praised. The parties highly noted the importance of the historic address of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Assembly of the Republic and the people of Portugal on April 21, 2022.
"I am glad that after the formation of the new Assembly of the Republic you have already begun to actively engage in a constructive dialogue with your Ukrainian counterparts and clearly condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine," said the Deputy Head of the Office of the President.
The whole spectrum of bilateral relations was discussed in detail with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal João Cravinho. The interlocutors focused on increasing the sanctions pressure on the aggressor, accelerating the provision of heavy weapons to Ukraine, receiving financial assistance, as well as the prospects of Ukraine obtaining the status of candidate for EU membership.
"The support of the world community, in particular Portugal, is important for the consolidation of fundamental principles of international law, the task of which is to guarantee the security of sovereign countries," said Ihor Zhovkva.
The Deputy Head of the Office of the President and the Foreign Minister of Portugal also discussed the prospects of deepening Ukraine's integration into the EU internal market, which will allow the Ukrainian economy to gradually recover.
During a meeting with Minister of National Defenсe of the Portuguese Republic Helena Carreiras, the current security situation resulting from Russia's armed aggression was discussed in detail. Ihor Zhovkva thanked the Portuguese partners for their practical assistance and stressed that in order to liberate the territory temporarily occupied by the occupiers, the supply of weapons from our international partners should be much larger.
"Every day of delays in the supply of weapons costs too much for our society, so we are hopeful that Portugal will be able to approve appropriate decisions as soon as possible," said Ihor Zhovkva. The issue of available facilities for the treatment of wounded Ukrainian servicemen in Portugal was raised separately.
The conversation between the Deputy Head of the President's Office and Secretary of State for European Affairs Tiago Antunes focused on Ukraine's practical steps towards European integration. Ihor Zhovkva expressed hope that after the positive conclusion of the European Commission in June, the relevant decision on granting our country the status of a candidate country for EU membership will be made by the leaders of the member states.
"Ukraine has not stopped working on the Copenhagen criteria for a single day, so we hope that the member states will recognize the importance of Ukraine's integration, which will only strengthen the European Union, in particular in the field of security and economy. In this context, the support for Ukraine's accession to the EU by the citizens of Portugal, which reaches 87%, is very important," said the Deputy Head of the Office of the President.
Tiago Antunes said that the Portuguese side is ready to share the experience gained in the process of Portugal's accession to the EU.
Pursuant to the agreements reached between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Kyiv, Ihor Zhovkva met with Portuguese Minister of Education João Costa and Parque Escolar Head Luis Silva Andrade. The Portuguese side was provided with information on the situation resulting from the destruction of more than 1,888 educational institutions, and was invited to join the rebuilding of the educational infrastructure. Ihor Zhovkva also thanked the Minister for providing study opportunities for Ukrainians who arrived in Portugal after February 24, and for preparing for holding the Ukrainian National Multidisciplinary Test in Lisbon.
"We appreciate that in difficult times, Ukrainian citizens have found a safe haven in Portugal and have the opportunity to attend secondary schools and study the Portuguese language," said Ihor Zhovkva.
The Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine also met with President of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Party in the Assembly of the Republic Eurico Dias and former Chairman of the Portugal-Ukraine Friendship Group, Member of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic Diogo Leão. The parties expressed confidence that the newly formed Portuguese Parliament would continue to develop close cooperation with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, in particular within the parliamentary assemblies of numerous international organizations.
"We have high hopes that after the formation of a new friendship group with Ukraine in the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, bilateral inter-parliamentary cooperation will be significantly intensified," said Ihor Zhovkva.
During a meeting with Head of the Civil House of the President of the Portuguese Republic Fernando de Melo and Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the Portuguese Republic Maria Amélia Paiva, support for the Ukrainian people was expressed on behalf of President of the Portuguese Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The Deputy Head of the Office of the President informed his Portuguese colleagues about the steps that Ukraine will take to restore its territorial integrity and expressed hope for increased support from Portugal in this regard.
During a visit to Cascais, Ihor Zhovkva met with its mayor Carlos Carreiras. Gratitude was expressed for providing proper living conditions for 2.5 thousand Ukrainians and the care they receive from the local community. The Deputy Head of the Office of the President visited the Emergency Aid Center built and fully equipped in Cascais in record time as part of the SOS UCRÂNIA campaign in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
"I am really impressed by what I saw and by the living conditions organized with the active help of Mr. Carreiras," said Ihor Zhovkva.
During a meeting, the ceremony of signing the Memorandum of Intent between the Municipality of Cascais and the city of Bucha took place (the mayors signed the document online). This Memorandum formalizes the close ties that have already been established between the two cities.