President of Ukraine

More security, more cooperation, more opportunities to restore peace – Volodymyr Zelenskyy after negotiations with Giorgia Meloni in Rome

13 May 2023 - 19:39

More security, more cooperation, more opportunities to restore peace – Volodymyr Zelenskyy after negotiations with Giorgia Meloni in Rome

As part of his official visit to Italy, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with Prime Minister of the Italian Republic Giorgia Meloni.

The head of the Ukrainian state expressed his gratitude personally to Meloni, the President of Italy, and the entire Italian people for their comprehensive support, decisions saving the lives of Ukrainians, and for shelter in Italy for Ukrainian families with children who suffered due to the aggression of the Russian Federation. He said that Ukraine will never forget this.

At a meeting with media representatives, Zelenskyy said that the primary topic of today's negotiations with the Prime Minister of Italy was the issue of security.

"Today, we discussed our cooperation, in particular, security and defense. We have a very important decision about protecting our sky," he said.

The president told the head of the Italian government about how this night, the Ukrainian defenders of the sky repelled another Russian attack with the Shahed suicide drones on the territory of Ukraine.

"First of all, I want to thank you for your help in saving people's lives. Everything we do together for the sake of security is what protects Ukrainian families, protects children, protects the homes of our civilians and the lives of our soldiers," the President said.

Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Meloni, and to former Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi for visiting Ukraine and personally seeing the devastating consequences of the bloody war unleashed by Russia.

The head of the Ukrainian state also invited all political leaders of Italy and all public figures to visit our country, talk personally with ordinary Ukrainians and see with their own eyes what the regime of Vladimir Putin has done there.

The second topic of discussion by the President of Ukraine and the Prime Minister of Italy was the implementation of the Peace Formula, designed to stop Russian aggression and prevent its repetition in the future.

"Unfortunately, Russia again responded to our Peace Formula with missiles and artillery. It is not interested in peace, we should all realize that. They don't want peace. But peace is of great interest to us, Ukrainians, first of all. And our partners – I see it – Italy in particular. The Ukrainian Peace Formula has 10 points that comprehensively eliminate threats to peace. 10 very specific steps," Zelenskyy said.

In particular, he said that one of the points of the Peace Formula provides for the return of all Ukrainians held captive in Russia to Ukraine, and all children and adults, who were forcibly deported to the territory of the Russian Federation.

"It is an extremely sensitive topic for me, for us: thousands of Ukrainian children were taken to the territory of the aggressor state. It is known for sure about 19,393 children – these are concrete data with names and last names. They are stolen by Russia. But the real number could be much higher, at least 200,000 children were in the territories currently occupied by Russia, so we do not know the fate of all these children," the President of Ukraine said.

He emphasized the need to act as quickly as possible to return small Ukrainians kidnapped by Russia to their homeland.

In addition, as the head of the Ukrainian state said, the European states should continue reducing their dependence on Russia, in particular, on its energy carriers so that the aggressor has no opportunity for manipulation.

"One of the elements of this is sanctions. I thank you for supporting sanctions against Russia's aggression," he said.

Touching upon European integration, the President of Ukraine said that, despite the war, our country is binding to implement the recommendations of the European Commission, which it received last year.

"For us, it is a great motivation to be among equals, to become a member of the European Union. It will be right when the European Council approves the decision to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU already this year," Zelenskyy said.

As for Ukraine's interaction with NATO, the Head of State emphasized the importance of bringing political decisions in line with real cooperation.

"We are already more substantive in defense and cooperation than the political borders currently existing for Ukraine and NATO. Ukraine already defends common freedom as any member of the Alliance would do. So it will be right if political decisions follow reality," he said.

Zelenskyy said he expects the NATO Summit in Vilnius to determine the algorithm for Ukraine's accession to the Alliance and a clear understanding of security guarantees for our country before joining NATO.

"So as the result of today's negotiations, first of all, my personal and Ukrainian people's gratitude to you. The second: more security, more cooperation, more opportunities to restore peace," the President of Ukraine said.

As for the post-war rebuilding of Ukraine, the parties discussed preparing the ground for Ukrainian and Italian businesses' participation in recovery projects. "We are very interested in this. This will add prosperity and strength to both Ukrainians and Italians," the President said and thanked Meloni for the Conference on the Reconstruction of Ukraine held on April 26.

For her part, the head of the Italian government said that her country would support Ukraine as much as it would be necessary. According to her, Italy and the Italian people will continue providing assistance to Ukraine within bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Meloni said that Italy fully supports all sanctions against Russia for the sake of achieving a just peace, and will also work together with partners to provide support to Ukraine with weapons.

"No unjust peace can be imposed on Ukraine, and Ukrainian people's consent to any peace accord must be received. We will reach peace only when Russia stops conducting military operations and attacking civilian targets," she is convinced.

The Prime Minister of the Italian Republic said that Italy supports the Peace Formula proposed by the President of Ukraine.

Meloni said that today, in Ukraine there is a struggle, in particular, to defend European values, which are common to citizens of all European countries. "Therefore, we will continue providing our full support to facilitate the gradual integration of Ukraine into the EU," she said.

According to her, it is necessary to strengthen Ukraine's cooperation with NATO, which will be discussed at the July summit of the Alliance in Vilnius.

Meloni declared further support for the Black Sea Grain Initiative to ensure world food security, restoration of critical infrastructure of Ukraine, cooperation between our countries in the medical field, and protection of Ukrainian cultural heritage.

"Our interaction, personal friendship is a guarantee of all these areas of cooperation. I'm convinced that Ukraine will prevail, will be reborn even stronger and more prosperous," Meloni said.