Kravchuk was the first president of independent Ukraine from 1991 to 1994. Last week, another signatory of the Belovezhskaya Accords died – the first leader of independent Belarus, Stanislav Shushkevich jpg” alt=”The first president of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk died” />
The first president of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk died after a long illness, Ukrainian News reported. citing a family source. He was 88 years old.
Kravchuk's death was confirmed by MP Irina Gerashchenko, UNIAN reported.
The ruling Servant of the People party expressed condolences to his relatives and noted that Kravchuk made a great contribution to the development of Ukraine.
“During his presidency, the Ukrainian emblem, flag, anthem were created, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were formed, and the independence of Ukraine was recognized by the whole world,” — said in a message in Telegram.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko described Kravchuk as a talented person with a strong character and knowledge. “We will preserve the sovereignty and freedom that we received over 30 years ago,” — he wrote on Telegram and thanked the first president for his love for Ukraine, wisdom and courage.
At the end of June 2021, Kravchuk underwent a complex heart operation. After the operation, he spent more than a month in intensive care on a ventilator. He was sent for rehabilitation to Germany, in November he began to recover, writes “Strana UA”.
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Leonid Kravchuk was born on January 10, 1934 in the village of Veliky Zhitin near Rivne. Graduated from Kyiv State University with a degree in Political Economy. He was a candidate of economic sciences.
In March 1980 he was elected to the Supreme Council of the Ukrainian SSR. From June to September 1990 he was the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine. Since July 23, he headed the Supreme Council, but after the August coup in 1991, he left the party.
Under his leadership, the Supreme Council of the Republic adopted an act declaring the independence of Ukraine on August 24, 1991. Until December 5, he was chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.
In November, he refused to sign the draft of the new Union Treaty, which, in his opinion, had no prospects.
On December 1, Kravchuk became president of independent Ukraine with 61.6% of the vote. A week later, on behalf of the Ukrainian state, he signed the Belovezhskaya agreement on the termination of the existence of the USSR together with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the head of the Supreme Council of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich. The latter died on May 4 due to the coronavirus.
During his tenure as president, Kravchuk signed a law excluding references to the USSR from the Constitution of Ukraine, the Helsinki Final Act on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Massandra Agreement on nuclear weapons deployed in Ukraine and the Black Sea Fleet.
On January 14, 1994, he agreed to sign the Tripartite Statement of the Presidents of Ukraine, Russia and the United States on the immediate removal of all nuclear weapons to Russia, which ended on June 1, 1996. At the same time, it did not document security guarantees and financial compensation to Ukraine.
In July 1994, Kravchuk lost in the second round of early presidential elections to Leonid Kuchma, gaining 45.1% of the vote. The elections were held against the background of the economic crisis and after the strike of miners in December 1993, who demanded payment and increase in wages, the establishment of special economic ties between Donbass and Russia.
After the presidential term, he was a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the “Social and Market Choice” faction, the deputy group “Constitutional Center”, “Social Democratic Party of Ukraine”.
In 2015, Leonid Kravchuk became chairman of the public organization ” “Movement for Ukraine in NATO”. From July 28, 2020 to February 21, 2022, he was the chairman of the contact group for resolving the situation in Donbass.
In March 2021, the first president accused the Kremlin of wanting to destroy Ukraine, and later called Ukraine an enemy of Russia, and Belarus— “slack” Moscow. He promised to “shoot to the last” if a paratrooper with a Russian flag parachuted into his yard.
A few months later, Kravchuk said that his biggest mistake— trust in Russia, which he thought was changing and would use diplomacy rather than force. The first Ukrainian president said that after he came to power, Russia prevented him from building an independent Ukraine. He also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to falsify history in order to justify territorial claims against Ukraine.
On February 27, together with former presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko, he published an appeal to Ukrainians about Russia's military actions in Ukraine . “Together we will win. We will stand,— they wrote.
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