August 23, 2019
I’m very pleased to be here with you today. It’s an honor for me to join you, veterans of Ukraine.
Today, we are here to honor more than 350,000 Ukrainians who have defended their country – your country, serving in your military – during this historic period. Ukraine’s veterans represent the best of the country: its strength, its courage, its resilience.
Americans know all too well from the experience of our veterans about the challenges soldiers feel and face returning from war and adjusting to civilian life.
Men and women, including myself, who have served in combat in the United States’ armed forces share a common bond with Ukrainian veterans.
We believe it is both appropriate and necessary to honor the duty and sacrifice of our veterans and help them transition back to civilian life. We stand with and fully support the efforts to help those veterans who have served Ukraine.
We commend the work of those who have done this work, whether through helping to establish a new Ministry, continuing this Ministry as the President had said, volunteering for a civil society organization, reaching out to veterans in their own community.
The United States supports Ukraine’s efforts to ease the transition to veterans’ civilian life.
Our joint efforts are helping veterans to find new jobs and get medical care that they deserve.
Ultimately, it is Ukraine’s decision, and [for] Ukrainians to decide, how to best administer and oversee veterans’ affairs, as the president has just described. Regardless of the model, we will remain committed to partnering with Ukraine to strengthen institutions and help improve the lives of veterans.
I also want to recognize the contributions of civil society, which has done so much to help veterans and will continue to play a crucial role.
Much has been achieved; more work can be done. For example, a strong, centralized e-register of veterans would ensure that services are delivered efficiently to veterans all across Ukraine.
For our part, the United States Government will continue to support efforts like the Veterans Hub to ensure that veterans have opportunities to build skills in a safe, comfortable environment.
This forum today is another step in the process of building the trust between the veterans community, civil society, and the Ukrainian state.
From one veteran to another, thank you for your service. Your sacrifices have ensured that Ukraine remains an independent, free, and democratic country – and for that, you have our respect and our determined support. Dyakuyu vam. [Thank you.]