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10 May, 2022 17:19

Ukraine's first president dies – media

Leonid Kravchuk, 88, passed away after a long illness, Ukrainian media reported
Ukraine's first president dies – media

Leonid Makarovich Kravchuk, the first president of the post-Soviet Ukraine, has passed away at the age of 88. 

Kravchuk died on Tuesday afternoon “after a long illness,” his family told the Ukrainian News Agency. The former president was hospitalized in June 2021 and placed in intensive care after heart surgery. 

Born in the western Ukrainian region of Rovno, Kravchuk joined the Communist Party of Ukraine in 1958 and rose through the ranks of the propaganda department. In 1990, he became the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR. He became the acting president of Ukraine in August 1991, after the Supreme Rada in Kiev adopted the Ukrainian constitution, and was formally elected on December 5, 1991.

Just three days later, he met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Belarusian parliament chair Stanislav Shushkevich at a dacha in Belarus, and signed the infamous Belovezh Accords that dissolved the Soviet Union. Shushkevich passed away earlier this month, at age 87. Yeltsin died in 2007.

Kravchuk lost the re-election race to Leonid Kuchma in 1994, but remained active in politics, first as an independent member of the Rada and then representing the Social Democratic Party (United) between 1998 and 2006, when he retired. 

In 2020, Kravchuk was appointed head of Ukraine’s 'contact groupfor negotiating the peaceful solution for the Donbass conflict – replacing Kuchma, who had held the post since 2014.