Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Indonesia Mr. Volodymyr Pakhil gave an interview to the leading Indonesian publication “The Jakarta Post”, in which he informed about the main achievements and challenges facing Ukraine during the years of independence, as well as concerning the current state and prospects of development of Ukrainian-Indonesian Relations.
Ukraine enjoys excellent ties with RI
The Ukrainian Embassy celebrated its 28th Independence Day in Jakarta, recently. Ukraine’s ambassador to Indonesia and the dean of Diplomatic Corps, Volodymyr Pakhil, gave an interview with The Jakarta Post. The following are excerpts of the interview.
The Ukrainian Embassy recently held a reception on the occasion of the 28th Independence Day of your country. How would you briefly introduce Ukraine to our readers?
You may be aware of the long journey Ukraine went through to acquire its independence. Before the glorious moment on Aug. 24, 1991, there had been 74 years of authoritarian yoke, imposed on us by the communist Soviet Union. With the popular HBO series Chernobyl, the world has gotten a glimpse of the price we paid to be a part of the Soviet Empire. And not only that, there were many more like Holodomor 1932-1933, Stalin repressions, World War II, that dealt bloody blows to my nation. What I want to say by recalling these dark times is that we are to do our best to prevent such events from occurring again.
Nowadays, Ukraine is a modern, democratic European state with functioning institutions, a stable economy and freedom of speech and conscience.
Ukraine has inventive and gifted people, advantageous geographical location, numerous natural resources, and, of course, the exceptional quality of work, products and services. Not so many countries match this description. But Ukraine, for sure, does.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Ukraine has always been the homeland of scientists and engineers: People who built the first helicopters, the world’s biggest cargo planes and rockets.
Ukraine became the 13th ranked country in the Science and Technology category, according to the Good Country Index (In total, 124 countries were taken into account).
Ukrainians are intellectually competitive and inherently innovative. History keeps proving this fact: Max Levchin and Alexander Galitsky, PayPal’s cofounders come from Ukraine; the world-known founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, is Ukrainian as well.
At the same time, when we are speaking about the modern world, the digital sector brings the largest share of innovations. Ukraine maintains first place in Europe and fourth place in the world with its number of IT professionals. The country is one of the global top 10 software development players and is home to more than 1,000 local IT service companies and more than 100 R&D centers for global tech giants.
What is the current state of relations between Indonesia and Ukraine.
I am happy to stress that Ukraine and Indonesia enjoy excellent bilateral relations.
I cannot but mention here one historical parallel pointing that relations between Ukraine and Indonesia were informally started in the 1940s, while your country fought for Independence and sought international support.
It was Ukrainian diplomat Dmytro Manuilsky, the head of the delegation of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to the United Nations, who communicated in January 1946 to the United Nations Security Council the situation in Indonesia and proposed investigating it in accordance with the UN Charter, in particular, from the point of view of the right of the Indonesian nation for self-determination.
One cannot exclude that the abovementioned act gave certain impulse for further international recognition for the newly born republic of Indonesia.
Coming back to our days, let me stress that the state visit of the president of Ukraine to Indonesia in 2016 and his fruitful meeting with the president of Indonesia witnessed significant mutual interest in strengthening bilateral political, trade, investment, educational and tourism cooperation.
As a follow-up to the state visit, the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation, bilateral consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of Ukraine and Indonesia, as well as a bilateral business forum were conducted in 2018. Arrangements reached during the mentioned events cover nearly all aspects of Ukrainian-Indonesian relations.
I may also mention with pleasure the intensification of the bilateral inter-parliamentary collaboration in the aftermath of the mentioned presidential visit.
Let me highlight that both parties extend unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other. It is particularly important for my country given continuous foreign hybrid aggression, which started with the occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine highly appreciates the fact that Indonesia voted in favor of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, which affirmed the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and underscored the invalidity of the 2014 Crimean referendum.
Given the current situation on the ground, we particularly request Indonesia’s support of United Nations General Assembly Resolutions regarding the human rights situation and militarization in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea.
I would like to emphasize that Ukrainian Muslims - Crimean Tatars - are among those whose rights are being violated the most by the authorities in the occupied territory.
What is the present state of economic cooperation between our two countries?
Trade and economic cooperation between Ukraine and Indonesia is on the rise. I’m pleased to note that Indonesia is the largest trade partner of Ukraine in Southeast Asia.
According to Indonesian statistics, bilateral trade turnover between our countries exceeded US$1 billion in 2018. This positive dynamic is being maintained during the first half of this year.
Ukraine’s main export to Indonesia is wheat and main import is palm oil.
Being one of the largest among the world producers and exporters of wheat, maize, soybean and other processed agriculture commodities, Ukraine can offer support and assistance with regard to food security challenges in Indonesia. And besides traditional agricultural commodities that we have been trading, Ukrainian fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products and honey have good potential to enter the Indonesian market.
In terms of investments I need to say that both sides are still considering concrete areas of cooperation. Besides agriculture, I may note that infrastructure, energy, tourism and digital economy are promising sectors for investment.
According to you, what should be done to enhance economic cooperation between Ukraine and Indonesia?
First, we attach significant importance to interaction within the framework of the Ukrainian - Indonesian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Technical Cooperation.
In order to increase economic cooperation, we also encourage the exchanges of business delegations, conducting bilateral business forums and mutual participation in trade and investment exhibitions.
Ukraine can become Indonesia’s reliable and effective partner in many fields of economics such as metallurgy, heavy engineering, food industry, pharmaceuticals, military equipment production, and aeronautics and the energy sector.
I am convinced that the military and technical sphere can become yet another priority of bilateral cooperation.
I believe that both our countries have large untapped potential in fostering bilateral trade of highly technological goods. To my mind, we can particularly explore mutually beneficial collaboration in the spheres of IT and digital economy.
What is your expectation for comprehensive Indonesian-Ukrainian cooperation in the near future?
I expect Ukrainian-Indonesian cooperation to flourish further for the benefit of both countries.
It goes without saying that maintaining political dialogue and strengthening economic ties will remain the basis of our cooperation.
For example, Ukraine is deeply interested in exchange of experience in the sphere of digitalization where Indonesia becomes one of the global leaders.
As a country with powerful scientific and technological potential and vast experience in the field of technoparks development, Ukraine, from its side, is ready to offer assistance in setting up new technoparks in Indonesia. We could also offer the best services and solutions for Indonesia’s new capital infrastructure projects.
I believe that Ukrainian-Indonesian cultural, tourism and people-to-people links will continue to develop steadfastly. As an example, more than 30,000 Ukrainians visited Indonesia last year, compared to only 4,000 in 2015.
Ukraine has made several bilateral legal proposals, including the exchange of scholarships, which will facilitate contacts in the education field.
I believe that shared democratic values as well as unconditional support of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity will continue to be the solid foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation between Ukraine and Indonesia in the years to come.
Ukraine has a newly elected president and a new parliament and government. What are the priorities of Ukraine’s new government?
Through the recent successful elections, Ukrainians have once again demonstrated to the world their strong will for freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
The newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky and the government and parliament of Ukraine are committed to implementing important reforms, including developing an attractive investment climate, driving a culture of innovation, promoting digital economy, speeding up Ukraine’s European Union and NATO integration.
Rest assured that Ukraine’s ambitious transformative journey will continue despite ongoing Russian aggression. The Ukrainian side is doing its utmost to halt it through diplomatic means.
A promising step forward in this direction was made with the recent exchange of prisoners with Russia, when 35 Ukrainian political prisoners returned home.
We do count on the wordl's support, diplomatic pressure and sanctions against the foreign aggressor to end the war and liberate the occupied Ukrainian territory.