Kyiv, 24 March 2014 – During a briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Vice Prime Minister for Social Affairs Oleksandr Sych stressed that the Ukrainian Government continues to provide vital support to the Ukrainian society despite the extremely difficult situation in the country. According to Mr. Sych, “The government is now working hard in the dramatic conditions of Russia’s aggression, while the country is practically in the state of war and the state treasury is devastated by theft, amidst calls for separatism aimed at the secession of a part of Ukraine and further liquidation of Ukraine as a sovereign state.”
Vice Prime Minister reiterated that the Ukrainian Government is legitimate as it was formed by the legitimate Ukrainian Parliament comprising representatives of all regions of Ukraine, including the southern and eastern regions, as well as Crimea.
Commenting on the language issue, Mr. Sych emphasized that “the language issue was not the underlying cause but one of the excuses for Russia’s aggression which had been in preparation for the last 3-5 years or even more.” He also voiced the government’s position on the language issue as follows: “Ukrainian should be the official language, serving as an integration factor. At the same time, the languages used by each and every national minority have the right to fully function enabling the national minorities to express themselves.”
Mr. Sych also underscored that today the Ukrainian society is suffering from gaps in the information policy and that soon the tactical and strategic directions of the country’s information policy will be determined. “Problems in Crimea were caused, among other factors, by the wrong humanitarian and ethno-national policy. Ukraine’s information shield has holes in it, we are receiving false information from the Russian media. Russia is following a classic war scenario: first, you manipulate your own society to prepare it for the war and then you manipulate the society that is subject to aggression. Up till now, we have been losing this war,”- he noted.
Commenting on the government’s work in the social sphere, Mr. Sych said that the Ministry of Education of Ukraine is currently preparing for the external independent evaluation and issuance of education certificates, also for Crimea’s educational establishments. “Crimean children have the right to get Ukrainian diplomas,” – he noted. In the area of healthcare, according to Mr. Sych, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine is working to ensure that people receive uninterrupted medical care and are provided with medication. Vice Prime Minister also stressed that the healthcare system today needs reforming and said that “the law passed by the Verkhovna Rada imposing a moratorium on the reorganization of healthcare establishments contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine and local self-governance legislation.”
As for culture, Mr. Sych said that, among other things, the government today is “making sure that the museum items exhibited abroad are returned to Ukraine” adding that the Russian government was trying to send Ukrainian museum pieces currently exhibited abroad to Hermitage and other Russian museums.
Oleksandr Sych is a Ukrainian right-wing politician, Head of the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Council as a member of the All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” (till October 2012), a candidate in 2012 parliament elections, nominated a number of opposition parties (Svoboda, Batkivschyna, Front Zmin, Gromadyanska Pozytsiya and others). On 27 February 2014 he was appointed the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine.