British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons in KYIV NOT KIEV

On the Crimea Platform initiative

The Ambassador mentioned that the UK was the lead convener for Crimea until the Platform idea came up.

"I think it's very exciting that it is Ukrainian led," stated Ms Simmons. The Ambassador hopes the expert level conversation going under each of the pillars to educate foreign partners of Ukraine on the true situation in Crimea.

Thus, we can target the conversation away from the general #CrimaIsUkraine towards "this is the effect of the annexation, this is what's going on". "Sanctions can become even smarter because we can apply them to very specific scenarios", said Ms Simmons.

On Partnership for a Strong Ukraine Fund

According to Ms Simmons, the Partnership for a Strong Ukraine Fund (initiated by The U.K., Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S.) is dedicated to the east of Ukraine.

"What I expect it will do is engage with the communities, women and girls, professional people who have left the region and would like to return," said the Ambassador.

Representatives of the said countries will see what matters the most for these people in terms of security and what sort of support they need.

On the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO

The Ambassador reminded that the question of Ukraine’s membership in NATO is resolved in principle. But for that to become a reality, Ukraine should work hard. "It's struggle. It takes a long time. It does not work that well for TV," highlighted the Ambassador implying reforms implementation in Ukraine.

On anti-oligarchic law

"There is a common position which is – something has to be done with oligarchs," stated the Ambassador. This law does its part. But it can only work effectively with other legislative norms, like energy market liberalization, anti-monopolist commission, equal access to investment, judicial reform. Foreign investors should know that the law isn't tilted towards vested interests.

On post-Brexit Ukraine-UK relations

"There was never going to be any change," emphasized Ms Simmons.

Brits have decided on Brexit believing their future to be best determined outside the European Union. But it has nothing to do with political ambitions of British allies. That's why Ms Simmons speaks so consistently in favour of Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Moreover, according to the Ambassador, Brexit opened new opportunities for cooperation between London and Kyiv. Especially in agricultural sector where Ukrainian potential is huge.

On the perception of Ukraine in Great Britain

"The high number of people in the UK still associate Ukraine with Soviet Union the others thinking of it through a prism of corruption and war," said the Ambassador.

Ms Simmons suggests Ukraine highlighting the country’s achievements rather than fighting negative attitudes. Ukrainian female referees conducting a football match between England and Andorra is the best basis for improving Ukraine's image, said the Ambassador.

The investment climate is no less important. "There is not a businessperson alive who hasn't said to me: Ukraine has fantastic potential but I'm not investing until I know that the rule of law has my back,” shares Ms Simmons.