Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Before 2014 many Indonesians were unfamiliar with Ukraine. Now we are known all over the world. Our country is currently facing what we once saw as unthinkable in the 21st century.
An unabashed unprovoked aggression from a once-friendly neighbor - the largest country in the world, wielding great resources and great influence within the international community.
We separated from this neighbor, Russia, 23 years ago, when the USSR collapsed. It was on August 24th 1991 that the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence from the Soviet Union, which was followed by a peaceful nationwide referendum, confirming the legitimacy of the independence process with the support of 92.3% of Ukrainians. This national consensus was a source of pride for Ukrainians, as were the following 23 years of our peaceful existence.
The said national consensus also demonstrates the true situation in Ukraine today - Ukrainians are united. What do we call a war where the so-called "rebel" forces are led by foreign military men and consist mostly of foreign mercenaries wielding foreign weapons - a civil war? Or an aggression? Ukrainians know that when the supplier of those foreign mercenaries and weapons stops - the fighting will end.
And Ukraine will go back to being a dynamically developing, progressive, modern country with an educated, ambitious, optimistic population. Ukraine is the fourth space nation in the world, it gave history the first constitution in its modern form (the Pylyp Orlyk Constitution of 1710), and is home to countless scientific, artistic, and sports talent, along the lines of Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the helicopter, artist Andy Warhol, author Mykola Gogol, footballer Andriy Shevchenko - to name a few.
Ukrainian-Indonesian relations started on a high note in 1945 when Ukraine, still a Soviet Republic, but with UN representation of its own, raised the issue of Indonesian independence before the Security Council. For independent Ukraine, Indonesia is a great partner in commerce - before this crisis the trade turnover between our two states reached one billion USD annually. Today, Indonesia is supporting Ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity through votes in international institutions, including the UN General Assembly and UNESCO. It is in tough times that we find our true friends. Our gratitude to Indonesia and all our international supporters is immeasurable.
As our country commemorates its independence day amid a violent conflict, we are reminded that this is what most countries go through to gain independence - whether from a colonial or an imperialistic power. Few get by with just a peaceful referendum. For most Ukrainians this process, although laden with tragedy, is an extension of our struggle for independence that leads to the strengthening of our statehood, our defense capacities, and finally, to the consolidation of our national identity against a foreign intruder.
It is becoming clear that Ukraine will come out of this conflict a stronger and more united state. Despite the grim situation on our countrys eastern borders and the illegal occupation of our Crimean peninsula by a foreign state, we managed to elect a new President in a free and fair vote, secure a 17 billion international loan, and take a bold step towards Eurointegration by signing the Association Agreement with the EU.
Even in the current conditions, we Ukrainians have plenty of reasons to look towards the future with optimism.