I wish good health to all esteemed Ukrainian men and women!
The main event of the day.
Today, I awarded state honors, including "Crosses of Military Merit" and orders of the Golden Star, to our warriors. Soldiers, sergeants, officers, and generals. The heroes of this war. Those who are already in the history of our state. Among them is Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Vyacheslav Aheiev. It was his unit that, in May 2023, for the first time, destroyed a Russian ballistic target missile, which Moscow always boasted about, claiming no one could shoot it down. Ukrainians succeeded.
I awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to General Valeriy Zaluzhny and Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov. Grateful to everyone. And overall, since the start of the full-scale war, over 70,000 soldiers from various units of Ukraine's Defense and Security Forces have been awarded state honors. It is the bravery that gives strength to Ukraine.
Today, I held meetings with the command of our Defense and Security Forces of Ukraine and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. Here are the results of the meetings: first, I replaced the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I thank Lieutenant General Serhiy Shaptala for his service during these two years of war. Upon the proposal of Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi, I appointed Major General Anatoliy Barhylyevych as the new Chief of the General Staff. An experienced individual, he understands the tasks of this war and Ukrainian goals.
Today, Commander-in-Chief Syrskyi identified candidates for deputies, and I will sign the corresponding decrees. Deputies for the Chief of the General Staff have also been determined. All the guys are battle-hardened, professional, each with a clear understanding of the front line and the real needs of Ukrainian soldiers.
It is also crucial that the Commander-in-Chief, along with the Defense Minister, held talks with partners – Germany, France, and the United States. I know that everything is being meticulously addressed: supplies, filling deficits, ammunition, weapons.
Today, I held a meeting with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. During my trip to Kropyvnytsky and the regional meeting there, I tasked the Prime Minister to promptly address critical issues in the region. Regarding the stability of water supply, the operation of uranium mines, and the social protection of workers. Also, security issues, including the possibility for regional and local authorities to purchase means of electronic warfare to defend infrastructure at their own expense. These are entirely practical matters. Each issue has been assigned, and we will monitor their implementation.
In addition, we coordinated our work with partners regarding the confiscation of Russian assets with the Prime Minister. We continue to communicate at all levels – official, expert, and public – to expedite all necessary decisions.
For every manifestation of Russian madness and terror, no matter what they may be, the best response is losses for the terrorist state. Painful and tangible losses. The more losses the instigator of the war suffers, the closer we can bring the return to peace. A just peace and reliable security.
Today, I met with a bipartisan delegation of congressmen from the United States, led by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. I briefed them on the current situation on the battlefield, critical threats, and the necessity of continuing support for our defense. We primarily discussed three issues: the need for support this year and a new U.S. package, which is still under discussion. The critical issue... Also, missile defense systems – specifically the Patriots. And the third key issue – I emphasized the importance of the range of our weapons, especially ATACMS with the 300 km range, for which, unfortunately, there is still no decision.
We appreciate American leadership and its contribution to the defense of Ukrainian independence and democracy from the early days of the full-scale war. America helped Ukraine stand firm at a decisive moment. And now, this year, the time of war has not become easier. The challenges are extraordinary, and in Europe, there are increasing voices about how the Kremlin is preparing to expand aggression. The continuation of American support is necessary. And I thank all our American partners who understand this. We cannot allow the spread of war and Russian evil. Putin sobers up only when he sees strength before him. Strength is needed. Thank you to everyone who increases our strength.
And one more thing.
Today, I met with members of the High-Level Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of the War. It is one of the points of the Ukrainian Peace Formula – a point on countering ecocide. Russia, through this war, has caused catastrophic environmental damage to Ukraine and our Black Sea region. This concerns everything – from the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant to the widespread contamination of our land with mines. We must address this issue now – together with everyone in the world who is willing to help. We cannot leave any aspect of this war to our children, no frozen or deferred problems – everything needs to be resolved. And I thank everyone who has the energy and determination to ensure that there are solutions.
Glory to all who fight and work to ensure that Ukraine wins! Glory to all who help!
Glory to Ukraine!