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HomeNewsLeonid Kravchuk, First President of Ukraine, Dies at 88

Leonid Kravchuk, First President of Ukraine, Dies at 88


Leonid Makarovich Kravchuk, who shepherded Ukraine out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and signed off on giving up the nation’s nuclear arsenal as its first popularly-elected president, died on Tuesday. He was 88.

A member of the family reported his dying to the Ukrainian Information Company, and it was confirmed by Ukrainian officers, together with President Volodymyr Zelensky. His well being had declined final 12 months, when he underwent coronary heart surgical procedure after which spent an prolonged interval in intensive care.

Previous to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Kravchuk was a pacesetter of Ukraine’s Communist Get together and later successfully led the nation itself. A longtime ideologue, he was dedicated to quashing any burgeoning nationalism.

Nonetheless, as an skilled statesman with a knack for well-timed evolution, he noticed the winds of change within the late Nineteen Eighties and ultimately took up the mantle for independence.

He stop the Communist Get together in 1991, after hardliners tried a coup in opposition to Mikhail S. Gorbachev. That December, he was elected president in a landslide victory in unbiased Ukraine’s first well-liked election. “Ukraine has been born,” he exulted.

Days later after his election, he signed a multinational settlement that formally declared the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Mr. Kravchuk was its final surviving signatory — Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia died in 2007 and Stanislav Shushkevich of Byelorussia, who grew to become the primary chief of unbiased Belarus, died final week at age 87.

Mr. Kravchuk’s dying comes because the nation he helped set up is locked in a probably existential conflict with Russia.

“Leonid Makarovich knew what freedom prices, and with all his coronary heart he wished peace for Ukraine,” Mr. Zelensky stated in a video deal with on Tuesday, vowing the nation would achieve securing that peace.

The Ukrainian protection minister, Oleksii Reznikov, saluted Mr. Kravchuk on Twitter for disintegrating the “Evil Empire,” and thanked him for the nation’s independence. “We’re defending it now with weapons in our fingers,” he stated.

None of these weapons are nuclear, as a result of Mr. Kravchuk agreed to relinquish the arsenal Ukraine had inherited from the Soviets in trade for safety ensures. On the time, Ukraine was the third-largest nuclear energy on this planet, and that deal is now the supply of some remorse.

Mr. Kravchuk established a peaceable switch of energy in Ukraine after shedding the 1994 presidential election.

He remained concerned with the nation’s battle to take care of its sovereignty. In 2020, Mr. Zelensky appointed him to characterize Ukraine within the Trilateral Contact Group, which was shaped in 2014 with Russia and the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Europe within the hopes of discovering a diplomatic finish to battle with Russian-backed separatists within the jap area of Donbas. President Vladimir V. Putin used components of that battle to justify his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Mr. Kravchuk was born in 1934 within the Rivne area’s village of Velyky Zhityn. He was the son of a farmer who was killed in World Conflict II, and went to a vocational faculty earlier than learning Marxist political economic system at Kyiv College. He graduated at 24 and have become a political economic system instructor in Chernovtsy earlier than coming into politics.

He’s survived by his spouse, Antonina, who additionally taught political economic system at Kyiv College, and their son and grandsons.

Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, was one in all many outstanding Ukrainians who saluted Mr. Kravchuk on Tuesday and praised his love of Ukraine.

“We’re nonetheless preventing for our independence and freedom,” Mr. Klitschko wrote on Telegram, including, “However we’ll protect the sovereignty and freedom we gained greater than 30 years in the past!”



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