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Ukraine was very active on international stage in 2020 despite pandemic - Yermak.

The Ukrainian authorities have been active on the international stage in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak has said.

He wrote this in his column on the website LIGA.net, the press service of the President's Office reported.

According to Yermak, the economization of foreign policy is yielding results - despite the serious global crisis and the closure of borders, the reduction of Ukraine's exports is insignificant.

"Despite the enormous efforts of opponents, we have significantly expanded cooperation with key partners," he said.

He also recalled that Ukraine received the status of a NATO extended opportunities partner in 2020 and successfully conducted joint unprecedented large-scale military exercises in September.

According to Yermak, Ukraine's partnership with the United States has reached a new level, with the United States approving $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine this summer.

"We are talking about our country being provided with counter-battery radars, transport, medical equipment, as well as training of Ukrainian soldiers. A batch of Javelin anti-tank systems arrived in Ukraine," he wrote.

In addition, Yermak noted that the EU-Ukraine summit demonstrated that the country is confidently moving towards its full membership in the European Union.

According to him, painstaking work is underway to update the Association Agreement and to sign the [Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products], which will give Ukrainian producers more opportunities for exports.

Yermak also expressed confidence that the ambitious UK-Ukraine Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement would provide recalled that the terms of credit guarantees for Ukraine worth 2.5 billion pounds would help implement investment projects in various sectors.

"Re-equipping the Ukrainian Navy with modern missile boats will strengthen our defense capabilities. We will be able to modernize the capacities of Ukrainian shipbuilders and load them with the production of part of the ships. We are planning to build two naval bases," Yermak said.

He also sees the Ukrainian president's visit to Turkey as historic. According to him, cooperation in the field of security and defense will significantly expand - corvettes, engines and military drones will be jointly produced, air defense systems will be developed.

"Serious prospects are opening up in the energy, infrastructure, financial sector and industry, and a Free Trade Agreement is being prepared," Yermak said.

At the same time, he said that this year Ukraine was extremely active on the path to peace and, after a break of several years, Zelensky's team resumed negotiations in the Normandy format and restarted the work of the Trilateral Contact Group.

"Ukraine has been able to fully convince international partners of its desire for peace on our land, that we are doing everything possible for this, and that it is definitely not the Ukrainian side that is slowing the process," Yermak said.

He added that Ukraine had managed to free dozens of its citizens from captivity and to achieve a lasting ceasefire. According to him, dozens of lives have been saved – the lives of servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and civilians on both sides of the front line.

Yermak said that in 2020 Ukraine returned the issue of liberation of the Ukrainian Crimea to the world agenda.

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