President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the world needs to unite in an effort to overcome new global challenges together, which will be more and more difficult each time, because the on-your-own policy ends with the all-against-all struggle. The head of state said this during his speech at the YES Brainstorming event organized by the Yalta European Strategy in Kyiv.
The President said that two years have passed since the last YES meeting, but we have had a two centuries' worth of global events and shocks in this period.
"This is really our new reality. And, in my opinion, either the world will really understand its essence, or it will be really difficult for it to survive, it will be unrealistic. What the complexity of the new reality is? That it will always be new to us. We do not keep up with it," Zelenskyy said.
According to the head of state, over the past two years, even such a fundamental and basic concept as happiness has changed for humanity. And if in 2019 hundreds of different people with tears of happiness in their eyes hugged and kissed, meeting liberated Ukrainian sailors and political prisoners at the airport, then a year later, the health of their relatives, the absence of fever, and even going to a movie or a cafe became happiness.
The head of state said that the entire world was not ready for the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and sometimes fear took over people.
"Some lost not only taste and smell, some lost their humanity when stones were thrown into the buses of our Ukrainian citizens in the city of Sanzhary. Then fear conquered. But later some took flowers, candies and toys instead of stones and came to these people in the hospital. Then conscience won. We forgave each other and hugged each other and we won because we understood that we can defeat all," the president is convinced.
According to him, Ukraine not only coped with the challenges of the pandemic, but also provided assistance to other countries, for example, sent its doctors and the necessary funds to Italy.
"We are always ready to help everyone without exception, while this does not mean the same attitude towards your country. For a long time, we did not have enough vaccines for millions of people. Then we got millions of vaccines, but suddenly millions of those who wanted them disappear because someone has spent millions on propaganda both inside our country and outside," Zelenskyy said, noting that this issue was also resolved, and today there are millions of vaccination certificates in the Diia application.
"Did we do it perfectly? And I will say no. And it is true. But I can also ask you: is there at least one country that coped with it perfectly? And you say no. And this is also true. No country, no matter how successful, developed, rich, technological it is, has passed the COVID-19 exam," the head of state said.
At the same time, the President said that the test of the pandemic has brought new experiences to the world.
"I believe that the main message of COVID-19 is not that it is worth strengthening biosecurity, developing medicine and being more flexible in business. All this is important, but it is not the symptoms that need to be treated, but the prime cause. And this is the modern policy of the world. I believe that this is the main problem, the main reason for COVID-19. New viruses, new threats, new bombs will always appear in the world because it continues to compete in arms and to fight for markets, influence, the economies of other states," Zelenskyy said.
According to him, the world runs the risk of not understanding anything from the COVID-19 lesson, even defeating it. After all, declaring solidarity and unification for the sake of solving the problems of war, climate change, nuclear weapons, hunger, poverty, the countries continue to defend, first of all, their interests.
"Everyone posted words of support during the fires in Australia, the floods in the United States, everyone unanimously sympathizes with Afghanistan or Ukraine, against which Russia is waging a war. But this is virtual reality. And for seven years in a row, the Yalta European Strategy Forum has been held in Kyiv. Therefore, Yalta is still far from Europe, it is occupied, and we do not know whether the world has a strategy to change this and restore respect for international law," the head of state said.
He said that the main takeaway from the coronavirus pandemic is that, in fact, everyone is on his or her own.
"COVID-19 finally said what politicians-diplomats think, but are embarrassed to say. This is actually your place. And in small countries there are very small chances of surviving if really big problems begin on the planet. It is far from the fact that you will have help. It is not the fact that you will be saved. All countries are not equal. And the COVID-19 showed it," the President said.
At the same time, the head of state said that the COVID-19 showed that it can equalize everyone's rights, regardless of the presence of nuclear weapons and the level of GDP.
"And by this it hinted to the world – you are all the same. So unite, otherwise, new lessons will be terrible," the President believes.
In his opinion, if the world does not understand these hints and does not draw necessary conclusions, it could lead to disaster.
"Each "on-your-own" ends with "all against all." To prevent this from happening, the world does not need new viruses, new rules, new vaccines. The world needs leaders, new, real, who do not rely on the strength of their weapons and whose weapons are their own strength, the power of words, the power of wisdom and the power of will and the real desire to change the world, to create a new reality and end wars among humans on the planet. Until the reality has become so that wars have done away with the planet and humanity," Zelenskyy said.