First president of independent Ukraine dies († 88)

He was the first President of Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. Now the message came: Leonid Kravchuk is dead. The co-architect of the CIS was 88 years old.

According to media reports, the first president of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, is dead. Kravchuk died at the age of 88 after a long illness, Ukrainian media reported on Tuesday, citing the politician’s family. “This is sad news and a great loss,” wrote the head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, in the Telegram news service.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union signed

Kravchuk was elected head of state in early December 1991 and a few days later signed an agreement with the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) and Stanislav Shushkevich from Belarus, declaring the Soviet Union dissolved and founding a new alliance of the three republics became: the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Shushkevich died last week at the age of 87.

During Soviet times, Kravchuk held various posts in the Ukrainian Communist Party. He remained President of Ukraine until 1994. In 2020-2022 he was involved in the ongoing talks on the settlement of the conflict in Donbass as chairman of the Ukrainian group.

Leonid Krawtschuk at a meeting with the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn (archive photo).
Leonid Krawtschuk at a meeting with the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn (archive photo). (Source: bonn-sequence/imago-images-pictures)

Messages of condolences on Twitter

Defense Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov
wrote on Kravchuk’s death: “Thank you for the peaceful renewal of our independence. We are now defending it with arms in our hands.” Anton Herashchenko, once Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister, called Kravchuk a historical figure who played a major role in Ukraine’s independence. Estonian President Alar Karis regretted that the former head of state would not be able to see his country win again in history.

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