From now on, every year on September 7, Ukraine will celebrate Military Intelligence Day - a professional holiday of people whose contribution to our defense and future victory cannot be overestimated. Previously, we did not have such a holiday specifically at the state level, although military intelligence officers usually received congratulations on this day. I signed a decree that brings this day to a proper level.
In the morning, I congratulated our intelligence officers, thanked them for their service, thanked Kyrylo Budanov, Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, for the results Ukraine needs. Presented state awards to the best intelligence officers. And I believe that I will repeatedly award representatives of the intelligence community of Ukraine for their achievements, for operations that continue constantly, and for successes that help our Armed Forces and the entire state move towards the liberation of our entire land.
This week we have good news from the Kharkiv region. Probably, you all have already seen reports about the activity of Ukrainian defenders. And I think every citizen feels proud of our warriors. It is a well-deserved pride, a right feeling.
Now is not the time to name the settlements to which the Ukrainian flag returns. But it's time to say thank you to the 25th airborne brigade, the 92nd separate mechanized brigade and the 80th airborne assault brigade for their bravery and heroism shown during combat missions.
I also express gratitude today to the 406th separate artillery brigade for the extremely successful hits in the areas where the occupiers are concentrated in the south of our country and to the 60th separate infantry brigade, which consistently advances our positions.
Each success of our military in one direction or another changes the general situation along the entire frontline in favor of Ukraine. The more difficult it is for the occupiers, the more losses they have, the better the positions of our defenders in Donbas will be, the more reliable the defense of Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and the cities of the Dnipropetrovsk region will be, the faster we will be able to liberate the Azov region and the entire south.
I want to say one more thing today - it is very important and very sensitive. This applies to Ukrainians held captive by the occupiers. At the level of Ukrainian intelligence and other involved structures and people, we are constantly trying to achieve the liberation of our prisoners of war. This work never stopped. And the active actions of our defenders also mean the possibility of capturing a sufficient number of enemies to encourage the exchange and release of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
I emphasize: we remember all our people held captive by the occupiers.
An important decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine was made today. Sanctions have been applied to 606 individuals who belong to the ruling elite of Russia.
28 members of the Security Council of Russia, 154 members of the Federation Council of Russia, 424 deputies of the State Duma of Russia. They are all responsible for this war, for the terror against our people. And none of them will avoid responsibility - it's only a matter of time. We have already taken some of the necessary legal, diplomatic and political steps for this responsibility for them. We also take all other steps deliberately.
Today, an important operation was carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine - regarding the activities of some persons subject to sanctions on the territory of our country. I have repeatedly emphasized: there will be no place for smugglers and criminal networks in Ukraine. It seems that some of them did not understand. Well, they will understand.
The customs officials who helped the smugglers, including the leadership, have been removed from office and will receive a legal response for all their illegal actions.
As for those persons subject to sanctions, who also have foreign citizenship, in particular Russian and Romanian, based on the proposal of the Security Service of Ukraine and in accordance with the norms of the current legislation, I made a decision to terminate the Ukrainian citizenship of these persons.
I’ve held a meeting with the head of the government, the minister of finance, the relevant deputy head of the Office regarding the draft budget for the next year. It is clear that this will be the budget of a warring country. Government officials will present the parameters of the project, but I will now mention some important points - politically important points.
First. More than a trillion hryvnias will be allocated to the security and defense sector next year. That will be priority number one.
Second. Social obligations must be provided in full. In particular, I want Ukrainian pensioners to hear me: next year, as well as this year, the government is tasked with indexing pensions for all our pensioners.
Third. To withstand this period and ensure financial and social stability, it is necessary to reduce as much as possible all non-critical expenses of the state, all that does not help defense, does not help the economic development of the country, social and cultural provision of our people. Accordingly, the government should present a program to reduce expenditures on the state enterprises, on the apparatus, on the institutions that do not meet the needs of this special time. I am waiting for proposals from government officials.
Fourth. This is the intensification of economic relations. The lending program "5-7-9%" is maintained. There will also be other programs and solutions that should help businesses work, save jobs and attract new employees.
And fifth. A special recovery fund will be established, which will be filled, in particular, at the expense of confiscated Russian assets.
I expect that the draft budget will be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on time, as required by law.
I spoke today with German Chancellor Scholz. Many topics: the responsibility of the terrorist state, the further strengthening of the defense capabilities of Ukraine, and the financial support for our state.
I thanked Mr. Chancellor for confirming the €5 billion macro-financial aid from the European Union. This is an important decision. A decision that will enable us to support Ukrainians and provide social payments for our people. I also thank the European Commission and all our partners in the EU for this financial package. The provision of another three billion euros is being discussed, we are waiting for the format of the decision.
The implementation of the grain export initiative, which is an important tool for our economy and for all partners of our state, continues. Ukrainian food was exported to three continents. To Africa, Asia and Europe. In detail, 54 vessels have already been sent to Asia, 16 vessels have already been sent to Africa, 32 vessels have already been sent to Europe, and part of this volume, by the way, is again sent to Asian and African countries afterwards.
Today Russia voiced another blatantly false statement that the absolute majority of Ukrainian grain is allegedly exported to European countries. Well, words of truth have not been heard at the official level in Russia for a long time, and this does not surprise anyone.
By the end of this month, at least 3 million tons of agricultural products can be exported from our seaports. And a significant part is for the poorest and most needy countries. In particular, the first cargo was delivered to Ethiopia. The route was not easy: first by sea, then by trucks. But hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are actually saved from starvation.
Perhaps Russia is not OK with this and does not want to notice it. However, this is exactly what the world needs. It is necessary to save countries on different continents from chaos, it is necessary to save people from starvation.
Unlike Russia, we do not make a racist division of the world into those who deserve security and those who supposedly do not, into those who deserve to live without famine and those who supposedly do not. We support all people, all countries. Both those who help us and those who still refrain from helping us. Both those that are more stable and those that are less stable. I emphasize once again: Ukraine was, is and will be the guarantor of world food security.
I am thankful to everyone who defends our country!
I am thankful to each of our partners who help us fight for freedom!
Glory to Ukraine!