Ukraine Marks 20th Anniversary Of State Sovereignty

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian leaders met Friday in Parliament to mark the country's 20th anniversary of state sovereignty.

Leonid Kravchuk

The first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko attended the event.

"Ukraine made a decisive step towards its independence by approving the Declaration of State Sovereignty twenty years ago," President Viktor Yanukovych said in a video message.

"To approve the Declaration was not an easy decision to make, because most of the lawmakers of the Parliament of Soviet Ukraine could not change their old mentality. But finally they voted in favor of the document that opened a new page in the history of Ukraine," Yanukovych added.

Kravchuk said the current parliament should immediately regain its lost authority.

"The parliament in 1990 used to be the real epicenter of country's political life. It formed the foundation of the state in a great way," he said.

The Declaration of State Sovereignty was approved by Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Parliament on July 16, 1990. The document identified the key directions of domestic and foreign policy and economic development.

Ukraine fully gained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Source: Xinhua