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Ukrainian opposition leader plans to visit Taiwan again

2023-01-24
Focus Taiwan
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Kira Rudik when she visited Taiwan. CNA file photo
Kira Rudik when she visited Taiwan. CNA file photo
Rudik taking delivery of the generators. Photo courtesy of the Office of Kira Rudik
Rudik taking delivery of the generators. Photo courtesy of the Office of Kira Rudik
Photo courtesy of the Office of Kira Rudik
Photo courtesy of the Office of Kira Rudik

The leader of an Ukrainian opposition party who visited Taiwan last year told CNA Monday that she plans to visit again this spring to thank the island for its recent donation that helped her country to buy generators, as well as discuss ways to boost bilateral ties.

Kira Rudik, leader of the liberal political party Holos, said in an interview that she planned to travel to Taiwan again "to thank for this great gift of generators."

Rudik last visited Taipei in October to attend the 11th Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy from Oct. 25 to 27.

The upcoming trip is also meant to explore ways of establishing Taiwanese "representation" in Ukraine, despite the lack of official diplomatic relations between the two, she added.

She said that in her upcoming visit, she plans to talk with members of the parliament from Taiwan on the next steps and how both sides could establish a stronger relationship.

The end goal would be to have a Taiwanese representative office established in Ukraine.

"I do not think it will happen fast. But I think once we push, it will get underway," she said.

Ukraine's purchase of high-capacity generators was made possible after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) made a US$1 million donation to Kyiv in December to help it deal with power outages after Russian air strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure.

The first batch of two generators bought with the funds arrived in the Ukrainian capital in the first week of January, with the second batch of another two generators delivered to Kyiv on Jan. 21, according to Rudik.

As part of the project, about 20 generators are expected to be transferred to power critical infrastructure facilities in the capital.

On Jan. 4, MOFA pledged an additional US$2 million to fund emergency electricity generation to help people in three frontline cities -- Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kherson -- that have been battered by Moscow survive the winter.

Like most countries in the world, Ukraine diplomatically recognizes Beijing instead of Taipei.

Due to the lack of diplomatic recognition, Rudik said that opening a Taipei office in Kyiv would be a complicated process which her government would not be able to provide much help in.

She said she understood that at the governmental level, the situation was much more complicated because her government was still trying to remain "neutral" by "not to annoy China."

But she said that as an opposition leader, she truly believed that the idea "we should not annoy China" has proven to not be practical.

She noted that Kyiv knew that Beijing had been helping Moscow overpass sanctions and they were not giving any significant aid to Ukraine to support it.

Not only were they not helping, the parliamentarian said, but her office also received a note from the Chinese embassy in Kyiv warning them that they should never accept Taiwan's donations.

On the other hand, Rudik said, people in Ukraine are extremely grateful for the help Taiwan is offering to them and the donation of funds to purchase generators is critically important to know that "we are not alone in this fight."

As a result, though she respects the decision of her government to stick with China, Rudik said she would make sure that "every single person in Ukraine knows that Taiwan people are our friends who are not only supporting us with words, but support us with actions and deeds."

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