On 2-4 December 2017, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij, on the invitation of UWC member organizations Union of Ukrainian Associations in Latvia, Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Society in Latvia “Dnipro” and Congress of Ukrainians in Latvia, fulfilled a working visit to Riga, Latvia, with the aim of strengthening cooperation with governing structures and Ukrainian communities in furthering topical Ukrainian issues on the international stage.
During meetings with high-ranking officials the UWC President expressed gratitude to Latvia for recognizing the Holodomor of 1932-33 as genocide of the Ukrainian people and for today’s assistance for Ukraine in the battle against Russian aggression and humanitarian aid, particularly the medical care and rehabilitation provided to Ukrainian wounded soldiers and care for children with family members in the Donbas conflict zone.
Eugene Czolij highlighted the magnitude of the hybrid war of the Russian Federation, which poses a serious threat to both the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and peace and security in the world. In conjunction, the UWC President called for the strengthening of sanctions against the Russian Federation until it fully complies with the Minsk agreements and de-occupies Crimea, and the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to Eastern Ukraine and an OSCE monitoring mission to illegally occupied Crimea. Also discussed was the Latvian sanctions act, which provides for measures similar to the Magnitsky Act. The UWC President also encouraged support from Latvia for an economic aid package for Ukraine modelled on the Marshall Plan to help overcome the devastating consequences of Russian aggression and to further reforms. In this context, Eugene Czolij noted the positive reforms in various spheres of life in Ukraine.
On 2 December 2017 Eugene Czolij delivered a keynote address on today’s main UWC priorities regarding support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people during a community event on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UWC organized by the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Society in Latvia “Dnipro” chaired by Ivan Nalivaiko, Union of Ukrainian Associations in Latvia led by Iryna Dukule and Congress of Ukrainians in Latvia led by Mikola Pavluks. Guests also had the opportunity to view an exhibit about the history of the UWC.
That day the UWC President visited the Ukrainian booth of the Christmas Market on Unity Square.
On 3 December 2017 Eugene Czolij attended Divine Liturgy in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Riga following which he spoke to parishioners about the need to support Ukraine and discussed Ukrainian religious life with the parish priest, Fr. Roman Sapuzhak.
In addition, the UWC President laid flowers at the monument to Taras Shevchenko.
On 4 December 2017 Eugene Czolij visited the Riga Ukrainian school and met with the director Lidija Kravčenko, teachers and students.
Before concluding his visit, the UWC President met with Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in Latvia Alisa Podolyak and the Embassy staff.
During his meetings the UWC President was accompanied by officials of the Embassy of Ukraine in Latvia - Chargé d'Affaires Alisa Podolyak and First Secretary Ruslan Tsekov, and the president of the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Society in Latvia “Dnipro” Ivan Nalivaiko.
“The meetings in Riga offered an opportunity for constructive discussion on important Ukrainian issues and the means of continued cooperation,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.