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PARIS, June 28 /ITAR-TASS/. The decision of the Verkhovna rada (Ukrainian parliament) to ban Russian as a regional language was a mistake, President Pyotr Poroshenko said in an interview with the Figaro newspaper published on Saturday, June 28.
“I always said before and I repeat this again now that the Verkhovna rada’s decision to ban Russian as a regional language was a mistake. I stressed many times during my presidential campaign that this law would never get my approval,” he said.
Poroshenko expressed hope that “never again in the history of Ukraine will the issue of language or culture endanger national unity”.
Speaking about the future of the south-east of Ukraine, Poroshenko said, “I am well aware that we will never succeed in bringing these regions back by force. We should be fighting there for the minds and hearts of their people. We have absolutely no objections to the use of Russian as an official language.”
He also reiterated commitment to “advanced decentralisation”. “We are ready to pay out of state funds for the repair of all buildings damaged during the conflict. We are ready to start immediately restoring infrastructure in the eastern regions and making investments in industry,” the president said, adding that the government would use for this purpose the funds promised by the European Union and the United States.
“It is of paramount importance that industry resume operation as this will give job to young people,” he said.
Poroshenko said his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Normandy in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was important. “Those talks provided an excellent opportunity for restoring peace,” he said. “Unfortunately, the Russian side took no concrete steps after that, except for the Federation Council’s decision to cancel its resolution allowing the use of Russian troops in Ukraine.