Zelenskyy Says Last Farewell to Kravchuk, Ukraine's First Post-USSR President.

️Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends the funeral of country's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, who died Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at the age of 88.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has paid tribute to the country's first president Leonid Kravchuk, who died last week at the age of 88.

Kravchuk led the country through the tumultuous early years of independence and agreed to give up its Soviet nuclear arsenal.

Zelenskyy on Tuesday described Kravchuk as a "historic figure" and praised his role in steering the nation through the painful period of the Soviet break-up.

"He was a person who could always find wise words and say them in such a way that all Ukrainians would listen," Zelenskyy said in an address to the nation. "It's especially important in moments of crisis, when the future of a whole country can depend on the wisdom of one person."

Zelenskyy added: "Leonid Kravchuk was always with Ukraine."

A former powerful Communist party official, Kravchuk was known for his cunning political style, which helped him become the first leader of post-Soviet Ukraine but did not save him from popular discontent.

A grey-haired man with a sly smile, Kravchuk proved to be a master of political intrigue when in the chaos of the Soviet break-up he gave up his top Communist post just to emerge in a matter of weeks as the leader of a new state called Ukraine.

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