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Rebuilding in Ukraine

By Hanna Hopko - posted Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A few weeks ago here in Kyiv, I was introduced to a tall, blonde and impressive Australian.

Doug Trappett, the newly assigned and inaugural Australian Ambassador to Ukraine, met for the first time with a wide group of Ukrainians including Cabinet Ministers, parliamentarians, community activists of the former Maidan, and young people directly from the front line of our resistance to Putin's aggression, and talked to us about Australia's strong support for Ukraine's national sovereignty and democracy.

Also recently, a further tranche of Australia's economic and financial sanctions against the Putin regime, aimed at curtailing it's on-going illegal actions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, came into effect. For this, we thank Prime Minister Abbott, Foreign Minister Bishop and the bipartisan support they have in their actions.


Taken together, these two milestones characterise the growing relationship between Ukraine and Australia. It is a relationship born of both shared horror in the tragic loss of Australian lives on Ukrainian soil due to MH17 and shared democratic values as embodied by our Maidan 2014 revolution.

Our countries may be geographically distant, but we are close when it comes to what we have suffered and, I believe, what we hope for.

With some 70 other colleagues who participated on the Maidan and have now been elected to parliamentary life, and millions of other Ukrainians, we look at Australia as a great example of what our own future can be.

Australians have all the benefits of an ultimately stable and transparent democratic system, a dynamic civil society, a well-governed and truly competitive business sector, successful multiculturalism, and unquestioned respect for human rights.

We are grateful to Australia for recognising our past, including your Government's acknowledgement of the Holodomor artificial famine of the 30s, and our current struggle for dignity.

When it comes to the future, it's timely to say to our Australian friends: Ukraine absolutely does have one and when you help us move toward it you can also help yourselves.


While an imported war exists in the east, as noted by the United Nations and many other third parties, and takes the lives of innocents, the clear fact is that Ukrainians have actually withstood much of the violence that Putin has thrown at our determined young people.

Less than a year ago, we had virtually no self-defence capabilities. Ukraine overcame that and has significantly held Putin in check – not only from some 95% of Ukraine's territory, but Europe beyond that. It says a lot.

Putin is failing in eastern Ukraine through the combined efforts of young Ukrainians on the ground and assistance from the international community. Further short-term help from Western democracies, including for the growth of Ukraine's economy or specialist assistance for our self-defence personnel, helps us make sure he continues to fail and cannot redraw the world's – not only Ukraine's – geopolitical map.

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About the Author

Dr Hanna Hopko is an elected People’s Deputy and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Ukraine’s parliament (Rada). She was the lead candidate for the Self Reliance Party in the 2014 election.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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