Ukrainian Institute marks 20 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and the UK

The Ukrainian Institute in London hosted a talk on Thursday, January 26th 2012, by H.E. Mr. Sergiy Komisarenko,

H.E. Sergiy Komisarenko, Ukraine's 1st Ambassador to the UK, speaking at the Ukrainian Institute in London

H.E. Sergiy Komisarenko, Ukraine's 1st Ambassador to the UK, speaking at the Ukrainian Institute in London

Ukraine’s first ambassador to the court of St James’s, the first Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom(from 1992 to 1998), and to Ireland (from 1995 to 1998).

Diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Great Britain were established on 10 January 1992, with the Ukrainian Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Ukraine opening later that year. Two decades ago, in 1992, Dr Komisarenko was selected and posted to London to take on one of the most important and prestigious roles in Ukraine’s foreign policy and international representation.

During his presentation, Mr. Komisarenko recollected ‘behind the scenes’ events of setting up the Embassy in London exactly 20 years ago, the reactions from  Foreign and Commonwealth office representatives and how the UK Government in 1992 viewed the future development of Ukraine as a new independent state. Mr. Komisarenko recalled how he had to set up the Embassy from scratch in 1992 with no premises, car, secretary and limited finances. All of the 40 buildings in London that were owned by the Soviet Union were inherited by the Russian Federation, which took over the embassies and trade missions owned by the Former Soviet Union. Ukrainian Diaspora organisations in the UK provided support and assistance to the newly established embassy.

H.E. Sergiy Komisarenko recalled how, during the annual gathering of ambassadors at Buckingham Palace in 1992, he spoke with H.M. Queen Elizabeth and offered her the support of Ukrainian craftsmen and builders to help restore Windsor Castle after the devastating fire. Her Majesty expressed her sincere gratitude for this offer of assistance and was genuinely moved by this kind proposal.

During his tenure as ambassador, Komisarenko negotiated the transfer of the Farraday Antarctic Station at Marina Point on Galindez Island from the UK to Ukraine. It is now called the Vernadsky Research Base and it continues a program of meteorology, upper atmospheric physics, geomagnetism, ozone, seismology, glaciology, ecology, biology and physiology research.

Sergiy Komisarenko is a distinguished scientist, politician, and diplomat. He is currently chairman of the Palladin Institute of Biochemistry and Academic-Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

For photos of the event click here