Dear Mr. President Pendarovski,
Dear Presidents, Prime Ministers, Parliamentarians!
Dear attendees! Friends!
I am grateful for the opportunity to address you and leave my arguments for discussion at your important Forum.
Now is a historic moment for Europe and European security, when everyone has to decide: what Europe is and what Europe will be like in the future. Will it be as free as it is now? Will it be as safe as most Europeans are used to? Will it be as socially and economically developed, inspiring societies outside Europe to change their way of life?
Russia has challenged us all - every nation on the continent, every region of Europe. For Ukraine, this is the most dreadful military challenge, and we have been defending ourselves for 113 days already against Russia's ambition to destroy the Ukrainian people and our culture.
Ukrainian cities destroyed by the Russian army; millions of migrants; hundreds of thousands of people deported by the Russian military; and tens of thousands of Ukrainians killed are all blatant manifestations of Russia's anti-European policy. By starting this war against Ukraine, Russia tried to create a springboard for an attack on other nations of Europe. That is why our defense in this war and our future victory are fundamentally important for the security of everyone in Europe.
But in addition to this blatant manifestation of Russia's anti-European policy, there are many other manifestations of it. Smaller, but still very vile and destructive, openly aggressive. And I would like to draw your attention to the fact that today there is not a single country left in Europe that has not suffered from at least one of the many manifestations of Russia's anti-European policy.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
All of us in a democratic world have faced an unprecedented energy crisis. For many years, Russia has been creating the impression that it is allegedly a reliable supplier of energy resources. But in reality it managed to make different European countries dependent on it. And now, when Russia decided to wage a war to conquer European nations, it used this energy chain first. It specially provoked historically extremely high gas prices. It specially restricts gas supplies, blackmailing individual countries and Europe as a whole. It violates existing contracts – requires payment for gas in rubles and artificially limits the volume of supply.
This pressure on the gas market, as well as the use of other instruments by Russia, has led to a significant acceleration of inflation. This simply would not be the case if Russia acted as a responsible supplier and did not want to create a crisis.
An even worse scenario is being implemented in the food market. It provokes not only rising prices for basic foodstuffs, but also a new migrant crisis. Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports and strikes at our agro-industrial infrastructure cause deficits in important regional segments of the world food market.
Ukrainian wheat, corn, sunflower oil and other commodities have been indispensable for global food stability. Russia knew where to hit to create this crisis. And it deliberately increases it prolonging the war against our state and refusing to make the Black Sea safe for navigation. Why is it doing this? So that a new migrant wave hits, in particular, your countries, as well as your neighbors in Europe.
How many millions of refugees will there be in Europe if Russian policy causes famine in African and Asian countries? And if the shortage of products there and the price crisis provoke political chaos and the fall of governments? Will you then be able to pursue a consolidated policy? That's why Russia wants a food crisis.
And I will mention another element of Russia's anti-European policy. Russia is perhaps the world's largest investor in propaganda - and not just for domestic audience. Russia spends billions of dollars a year to deceive foreign audience and to incite hostility. And the connection between propaganda and war is obvious: in the first months of this year, Russia's propaganda budget was tripled.
I am sure that each and every one of you knows what propaganda tools have worked or are still working against your states. And this instrument of Russia has only one task: to make it worse. In particular, worse for you.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
That is why any serious discussion of the security architecture in Europe must be based on the need to free Europe from the chains of dependence that the Russian state has been creating for decades. Security is simply impossible without it, and it is the same for the north of Europe, for the south, for the west and for the east.
That is why such sanctions are needed for anti-European policy of Russia, so that they will forever remember the price, including for the food crisis. The one who creates artificial famine must become a global outcast and suffer painful losses. This should be taken into account in the preparation of the seventh EU sanctions package. And we need to realize that sanctions packages have, in fact, become part of the continent's security architecture. They work for stability and peace - limiting Russia's ability to expand aggression.
Europe's full energy independence is needed. Any ties with Russia that it uses to make money on Europe and pursue anti-European policy must be severed. There can be no trade with Russia - you should not give money to those who seek your destruction.
And most importantly - we need to make the whole of Europe finally united. This is what Ukraine and your countries - the Western Balkans - are equally interested in. Full-fledged European integration of Ukraine, as well as full-fledged European integration of your states, is a historical strengthening of Europe and a complete dismantling of Russia's ability to beat us one by one.
The EU-Western Balkans High Level Summit will take place shortly. I sincerely wish it will be successful for your states. And I am grateful to you for the support of Ukraine that you provide at various levels, so that this June will be successful for our country in relations with the EU. By answering us about our European perspective and by answering you about your European perspective, the nations of Europe and European politicians are answering questions about the future of Europe. These are the questions I voiced at the beginning of my address.
What will Europe be like in the future? Will it be as free as it is now? Will it be as safe as most Europeans are used to? Will it be as socially and economically developed, inspiring societies outside Europe to change their way of life?
We need a positive answer – to our and your European perspective. And I am grateful to you for working together on such an answer.
I wish us all success! I wish us all victory!
Glory to Ukraine!