We have pretty intensive dialogues with Mrs. Chancellor. We have counted more than 60 phone conversations since my inauguration, more than 11 meetings. Today is my first official visit to Germany. Thank you for an amazing organization of the visit and increasingly useful, intensive and fruitful negotiations.
Never have Ukrainian-German relations been at such a high level as now. Never have we felt such a powerful and firm support from Germany and the entire EU.
I would like to particularly underline the crucial role of the Federal Chancellor and President of France Francois Hollande in the signature of the Minsk agreements of September 5, Memorandum of September 19 and Minsk agreements of February 12 achieved in exhausting 17-hour negotiations.
Our clear and common position is that there is no alternative to Minsk. Minsk must function and all the parties must strictly comply with the undertaken commitments. In this regard, Ukraine clearly emphasizes: we are fulfilling the ceasefire regime. I, as Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, issued an order on comprehensive and unconditional ceasefire on February 15. You remember that powerful offensive operations, including Debaltseve, have been carried out against Ukraine.
In clearly defined term and under clearly defined procedure in cooperation with the OSCE SMM, Ukraine has started the withdrawal of heavy weaponry demonstrating locations to which it will be withdrawn, routes to be used, places where the weaponry will be kept and serial numbers of the weaponry withdrawn. It is extremely important for the procedure to be steadily complied with.
The same approach is in humanitarian issues. Together with the European Union, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ukraine is constantly sending humanitarian cargoes to relieve an extremely difficult and critical humanitarian situation in the occupied territories of Ukraine, in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
I'd like to emphasize, that on March 14, I submitted a draft resolution to Verkhovna Rada to establish a line where the effect of the Law on special regime of local government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be applied. It has happened on the 30th day since the signature of our Minsk agreements in full conformity with them.
The issue of economic and cultural cooperation is also being solved separately. Unfortunately, we can only state that Russia and Russian-backed militants mostly don’t comply with undertaken commitments. This is also related to the ceasefire regime, which is confirmed by the OSCE SMM representatives. Declared yet not fulfilled regime of heavy weaponry withdrawal also doesn't meet the procedure. The issue of termination of the so-called humanitarian convoys is also unsolved. These convoys cross the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border and we insist that the given procedure should take place in full conformity with the Ukrainian legislation. Hostages haven't been liberated yet. Moreover, they are being exploited brutally, in violation of all humanitarian norms, at the barrel of guns in the area of Donetsk airport and in the Monastery. The broadcast of Ukrainian TV channels and radio stations in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions has been disconnected. We insist that the Russian party and militants should be brought back to the fulfillment of the undertaken commitments as a result of efficient and coordinated actions.
Ukraine has clearly proved that it is fighting not only for peace, independence, freedom and democracy, but also for the European and global security. That's why this issue is extremely important and we are expecting respective efficient decisions at the session of the European Council that will take place on March 19 and that has been discussed in details by me and Mrs. Chancellor in the course of our today's meeting.
Also, in the course of today's meeting with the President of Germany, I have reminded that 25 years ago, on March 18, 1990, citizens of former German Democratic Republic had an opportunity to participate in free democratic elections for the first time. Today, we hope that the elections in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will also be held in full conformity with ODIHR standards.
Also, I and Mrs. Chancellor had an opportunity to discuss economic and humanitarian cooperation.
We are very grateful to the German Government for the decision to allocate EUR 500 million for the support of Ukraine, inter alia, 200 million for macro-economic aid. We hope that the agreement will have been signed by April 1. Tomorrow, we are expecting the German delegation in Kyiv. The work in this direction is being held pretty efficiently and rapidly.
Also, I'd like to touch upon the topic which is not often raised in the EU. Ukraine is persistently struggling not only to de-escalate the situation in the East, but also to implement reforms. Ukraine has made an extremely important decision on the implementation of the Memorandum with the IMF. We have made an extremely important decision on the judicial reform and anti-corruption steps. We have clearly coordinated measures on the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU. I have been repeatedly emphasizing: war is not an excuse for the failure to conduct reforms. Our resolute steps are being strongly supported by Germany and the entire EU. It is increasingly important for us.
And the last remark. I would like to express gratitude to Mrs. Chancellor for a very powerful humanitarian assistance from Germany. Yesterday, in Dresden, I had an opportunity to visit our soldiers and officers that are undergoing treatment in German medical institutions. These are the most complicated cases and we are grateful to our German partners for this fundamental humanitarian assistance.
Soon, medical equipment will be transferred to Zaporizhzhya military hospital with the assistance of the German Government. Only 10 days ago I was in Zaporizhzhya and visited that hospital. Such a rapid reaction from the German party on the supply of equipment and the steps that will help us heal our warriors is a great pleasure for me.
We have discussed the positions on the Eastern Partnership Summit that will be held in Riga, in May. We have discussed this issue with the President of Germany. I count on the support of the Chancellor. A very important decision on the introduction of visa-free regime for the Ukrainian citizens is to be made there. In our turn, we are doing everything to prepare for this summit properly and count on the support of all 28 member-states of the EU.
Summing up, once again, Mrs. Chancellor, thank you for your very strong support of Ukraine in these difficult times.