As part of the concept of Ukraine’s recovery, we must honour the heroism of all those who stood up to defend their country. That is why the state is formulating a new veterans’ policy now, without waiting for the end of the war. This was stated by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the VI International Veterans Forum “Ukraine. Defenders. Future”.
The event was attended online by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and in person by Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, government officials, parliamentarians and international partners.
In his speech, the Prime Minister focused on five key elements of the new veterans’ policy. The first is the creation of an infrastructure that will help veterans receive high-quality and efficient services.
“We are starting with new approaches to the work of the military medical commissions and the medical and social expert commissions. The principle of ‘certificates follow the military’, maximum digitalisation, including an electronic queue, and the involvement of as many civilian medical institutions as possible in this process. The result is an inclusive, convenient and transparent system, free of bureaucracy and corruption,” said Denys Shmyhal.
At the same time, the Government is already establishing the institute of a veteran’s assistant. This will provide individual support to defenders on issues of vital importance to them. According to the Prime Minister, special structural units will operate under the regional military administrations, and service offices for veterans’ affairs will be established on the ground. Their role will be to coordinate the implementation of state, regional and local support programmes.
“The second element of the new veterans’ policy is economic engagement. Six Veterans Development Centres have already been opened at the country’s leading universities. There will be more. These are platforms for developing professional skills, retraining and acquiring new knowledge,” the Head of Government said.
Denys Shmyhal emphasised that the state would encourage the creation and development of veteran businesses. In particular, the programme of non-repayable grants eRobota has a veterans’ component, which allows veterans to receive up to UAH 1 million for the development of their own business.
“The third element of the new veterans’ policy is successful rehabilitation. We are talking about creating a network of modern rehabilitation centres throughout Ukraine. They will provide comprehensive assistance: physical rehabilitation, overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder, support for the families and loved ones of the defenders,” the Prime Minister said.
Affordable housing is the fourth element of the new policy for veterans. According to Denys Shmyhal, the Government has recently expanded the eOselia mortgage programme. Now, preferential loans at 7% are available to veterans and their families.
“Veterans are priority participants in the eVidnovlennia programme. Accordingly, they are the first to receive funds with which they can repair their homes or buy a new apartment,” the Head of Government added.
The fifth element of the new veterans’ policy, according to the Prime Minister, is to honour the feat of the military. He stressed that perpetuating the memory of fallen soldiers was a cross-cutting state policy.
“The most symbolic place will be the National Military Memorial Cemetery, where the Heroes who gave their lives for Ukraine will be buried. The feat of the veterans will be part of the national and patriotic education of young people – in kindergartens, schools and universities. Heroes are with us, and everyone should know and honour them,” said Denys Shmyhal.
As part of the forum, the Prime Minister also visited an exhibition of veteran businesses and talked to the defenders of Ukraine.