President of Ukraine

We can restore peace throughout Ukraine, but for this we must be together - speech of Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an online meeting with German students

17 January 2023 - 21:28

We can restore peace throughout Ukraine, but for this we must be together - speech of Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an online meeting with German students

Dear friends!

I am grateful to you for those kind words about our people, our students and for everything that Germany does to support our country.

Now the attention of many Ukrainians is focused on what is happening in our city of Dnipro. You have just spoken about it.

A few hours ago, the rescue operation on the ruins of a house that was destroyed by a Russian missile was completed there.

An ordinary residential building. Destroyed by an anti-ship missile - an aircraft carrier killer, which was developed back in the days of the Soviet Union.

44 people were killed. Including 4 children.

Yesterday, a woman was rescued from the rubble - she spent 20 hours under the concrete, under the fallen slabs. She survived. But she lost her family...

Her husband and child - a boy, he was only 11 months old - he could not be saved.

And this is an unspeakable horror.

And this is a routine. Unfortunately, this is the routine of the war that Russia brought to our land.

Ukrainian cities and villages are subjected to such and similar attacks every day. Every day the news from the south of our country is about Russian indiscriminate shelling of the city of Kherson. Every day - shelling of the cities of Donbas and the east of Ukraine. Every day, the terror of border communities - those areas that are unlucky enough to border with Russia - they are shelled with mortars and artillery.

I want you to understand Ukrainians - to understand what we are fighting against.

We want to interrupt the routine of war. And restore the routine of peace.

But we can do it only by winning the war. There is no other way.

Most of you present here are very young people. You did not see the time when the Soviet rulers controlled a huge European space. In particular, part of Germany.

However, the memory of that time - of how the Soviet empire existed and how it collapsed - is quite well worked out by historians and publicists. People know what happened.

When the past is known, there is always a temptation to project that past onto the present.

Especially when it comes to the actions of the same entity - the Kremlin.

We have seen the attempts to integrate Moscow into the economic interdependence with Europe in the same way as it was done in the 1970s - 1980s of the XX century. 

Unfortunately, relations with Russia's neighbors have been viewed by some European politicians through the Russian optics for too long.

For many years, the policy of European states - not all, but those with the greatest influence - has been based on the principle of caution towards Russian ambitions and dialogue with Russia - no matter what.

This became political fertilizer for the audacity of Russian imperialism.

For the confidence of the current master of the Kremlin that Europeans are allegedly weak. And that the missile legacy of the Soviet authorities allegedly outweighs international law, democracy, the strategic goal to unite Europe, namely the need to guarantee peace on our continent.

Russia was wrong in its assessment of Ukraine and the whole of Europe. We haven't been taken aback. We have united. We have shown that Russia will never again control the European space and dictate to people how to live and what to value.

Russia does not admit the mistake - and continues the war.

But this is always the case with dictators.

Democracies are stronger. Democracies can say that some previous policy was wrong. And that changes are needed.

This is exactly what is happening now in Europe - in particular, thanks to German leadership.

I am grateful to Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his determination to admit that the past is over.

This Kremlin is not capable of being a partner in any variations of détente. It is impossible to coexist with it.

Because it is impossible to coexist with terror.

That is why Germany is becoming one of the leaders in supporting Ukraine - and we greatly appreciate it.

We appreciate the assistance of your state both in protecting our skies from Russian missiles and in protecting social stability for our people. 

We appreciate the fact that German policy is being freed from Russian optics in relation to Ukraine and other countries-neighbors of Russia.

But the page of European history, on which the Russian belief in the weakness of Europe is based, has not yet been turned. There is still a feeling in Moscow that it is possible to use threats or bribery to persuade European states to take the decisions Russia expects.

I am sure that this page of history will be turned forever when we will be able to liberate our cities and villages from Russian terrorists with the help of German "Leopards", "Marders", "Gepards".

This will be the time when Europe will be finally liberated from imperialism.

It will be one decision - and how much fidelity to principles will be in it!

Perhaps it will be the greatest in the history of Europe after the fall of the Soviet empire.

Dear friends!

I would like you to draw one conclusion from my words now. Exactly as students, as young people.

As those who have to bring novelty to life, to your chosen professions.

And this conclusion is to never be afraid to change the optics. To never be hostage to something that has become obsolete.

To remain free, we must always rediscover what freedom is. 

To be strong, we must always see what mistakes were made.

And to maintain leadership, we must always admit the reality. 

The Ukrainian reality now is that we can win this war.

By the way, just today I spoke about this with Federal President Steinmeier.

We can restore peace on our entire territory without leaving any pieces of land to the Kremlin for further experiments on people and history. 

But for this we must all be together - Ukraine, Germany and the whole free world. I believe that we will!

Thank you for your attention! 

And I want to thank all university communities that are with us today! Thank you to all students and lecturers! Thank you - Madam President Professor von Blumenthal, and you - Madam President Professor Kocher! And special thank you to those who help the Ukrainian community in Germany and our students who study at your universities!

I am waiting for your questions.

Glory to Ukraine!