U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said this in her speech at the opening of the 12th Annual Civil Society Development Forum "May the Strength Be With Us," according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
"Today, Ukraine finds itself at a point of inflection, a moment of transformation. From the endemic corruption of the past, you are moving toward a more transparent, more equitable and European future. We know that civil society will play an essential role in shaping that transformation and creating the future that you are demanding," Brink said.
She noted that these demands are not new - ten years ago, Ukrainians gathered on the Maidan and peacefully gave voice to those aspirations.
"They called for an end to corruption, an end to abuse of power, an end to the influence of oligarchs. The Revolution of Dignity would not have begun and could not have been successful without the hard work of Ukrainian civil society. Voices from across the country demanded a better future, and these voices have prevailed," the ambassador said.
Brink noted that now Ukrainians are fighting another difficult war in the context of Russia's full-scale invasion. She added that civil society remains a vital force for transparent and equitable recovery and the essential reforms that will see Ukraine move toward European integration.
"Civil society and government each have a role - neither can succeed without the other. As a critical part of any democracy, civil society provides an important source of information for citizens and for government. You hold the government accountable for results. You advocate for smart policies. You add to government efforts to deliver services and fill critical gaps," she said.
At the same time, she noted that with this great power also comes responsibility, especially in the context of an external battle and an external enemy that Ukraine faces.
"Your professionalism is important. It means holding to the highest standards to create the change you advocate and the future you want. The Ukrainian people have a clear vision for its future. We have heard you loud and clear - a strong democracy, rule of law, integration into Europe, joining NATO. I am here today to affirm that the United States proudly supports the voice and power of Ukrainian civil society. […] This is a partner that is always in our interests, our collective interests, one that is strong, one that is democratic and one that is free," Brink said, addressing the forum participants.