Dear friends and readers!

Every New Year's holiday is the time for reflecting on the old and welcoming in the new. We all really hope that the coming year will be better than the last. We all want to believe that only peace, goodness, joy and love await us.

The past year has been very difficult for all of us. Whether you are a major industrialist or an owner of a small cafe, a retired employee or a factory worker, a pupil at school or a doctor at a clinic: everyone felt all those burdens brought to us during the outgoing year. Yet, I am convinced that God sends us only those trials and tribulations that we are able to endure.

There were many good and promising events in 2016. For me personally, and I am sure for millions of Ukrainians, the brightest event was the religious procession for peace and unity in Ukraine, organized by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which brought together a total of not less than one million believers, linking the East and the West of Ukraine through a living spiritual chain. Another event was the Minsk process that keeps moving forward, however slowly and painfully. There was also an exchange of prisoners. There were fewer shootings. And most importantly - fewer people were killed. Every death is a tragedy, but, thank God, there were fewer of them this year. Finally, during the course of 2016, the international situation changed, creating the conditions for the final settlement of Donbass issue.

The mood of the people in our country has also been changing. At the same time, the Ukrainian economy has managed to survive, which cannot but be encouraging. So, let us thank the outgoing year and look to the coming year with optimism.

I wish you peace in your hearts, peace to your friends and peace to your families and homes! Peace, happiness and prosperity to Ukraine!