Distinguished colleagues, fellow Ukrainians.
Day after day, russian terrorists continue to attack our cities. They are targeting hospitals, residential buildings and energy facilities.
Yesterday, a drone hit a residential building in Kyiv. Constant shelling of our eastern regions, towns and villages continues.
Ukraine's energy sector remains one of the main targets of the russian army. However, thanks to the work done to prepare for the winter, the power system is now operating stably. There are no scheduled outages in any region.
And for this we are grateful to our power engineers who are celebrating their professional holiday today.
We are grateful to the brave and professional men and women who ensure that Ukrainian families have electricity and heat in their homes and keep the economy running.
Our power engineers are doing a titanic job, and the whole country is grateful to them.
This year, for the first time, we will celebrate Christmas according to the new style on 25 December. After the war, this day will be a holiday and a day off.
But now we are at war. Therefore, 25 December will be a working day for all government agencies and state-owned enterprises, as well as for critical infrastructure companies. Private businesses, on the other hand, can set their working hours for this day at their own discretion.
We keep strengthening our economy. And one of the key elements of this strategy is the development of logistics.
Over the past 1.5 years, we have made fundamental changes here.
Firstly, we signed a "transport visa-free regime" with the European Union, which eliminated the need to obtain permits for freight transport.
At the same time, we are modernising border crossing points and opening new ones.
The main objective for the next year is to launch joint customs and border control with our European neighbours. This will help us achieve greater integration into the European space, speed up logistics and minimise corruption.
Ukraine’s Danube ports have become an integral part of the new logistics strategy. Over 11 months, transshipment at these ports totalled 31 million tonnes, which is an absolute record.
Total investments in the infrastructure of the Danube ports have already amounted to about USD 100 million. We have opened 23 new cargo transshipment terminals at the expense of private investments.
This year we have finally closed a 20-year conflict case with Romania on the implementation of the requirements of the Espoo Convention during the construction of the Danube-Black Sea Canal.
This story had a negative impact on European integration and the development of infrastructure projects. We have taken a systematic approach to this issue, fulfilled our European integration commitments and unblocked the development of infrastructure in the Danube region - both for Romania and Ukraine
To conclude the topic of logistics, it is also worth mentioning the success of the new Ukrainian corridor through the Black Sea, which exported 10 million tonnes of cargo. The ports of Greater Odesa have received more than 330 new vessels for loading, and about 80 more are preparing to receive them in the near future.
It is significant that we have expanded the range of cargoes. These are not only the products of Ukrainian farmers, but other goods as well.
Next year, we will allocate about UAH 40 billion to support economic activity, investment and Ukrainian producers.
We will continue our successful programme of eRobota non-refundable grants. Today, we are to adopt a decision to increase the microgrant funding programme by UAH 1.3 billion. The total amount of the programme will now amount to UAH 3.2 billion.
We also adopt a decision to create three new industrial parks. These are two new industrial parks in Khmelnytsky and one in Lviv.
These sites are expected to create approximately 1,500 new jobs, with total investments exceeding UAH 5.5 billion.
In 2024, we will extend the eOselia affordable mortgage lending programme, which is one of the main incentives for the construction industry to recover.
Today, we are making certain changes to this programme, in particular, we will provide for the possibility of obtaining a preferential mortgage for the purchase of private houses or townhouses. We will also expand the opportunities for war veterans to benefit from the programme, clarify the issues of home insurance and make other changes that will improve the programme's operation.
Strengthening our defence capabilities is constantly on our agenda.
Today we are to extend the VAT and duty exemption for a number of military goods until 1 January 2025. In particular, these include drones, optical sights, night vision sights, monoculars and binoculars, portable radios, anti-drone guns and much more. All of this is needed to better equip our Security and Defence Forces.
At the same time, we keep strengthening security in civilian life. We make changes that will allow the guard police to be involved in strengthening security in Ukrainian schools.
In the near future, 500 police officers will serve in educational institutions. They will ensure public order, interaction with school administrations, and access control.
Along with the creation of reliable and comfortable shelters, this is one of the key elements of improving the safety of the educational process.
Finally. I would also like to congratulate Ukrainian diplomats on their professional holiday.
Today they have a great responsibility. We must consolidate the pro-Ukrainian coalition in the world. We must provide our country with everything it needs to defend itself and win. I am grateful to every employee of the diplomatic service for their daily work in this direction.
Thank you for your attention.
Glory to Ukraine!