President of Ukraine

The President During the Special Meeting of the European Council: The Beginning of this Day Reflects our Current Key Need - the Need for Air Defense

18 April 2024 - 00:35

The President During the Special Meeting of the European Council: The Beginning of this Day Reflects our Current Key Need - the Need for Air Defense

Dear Charles, Mr. President,

Dear Ursula, Madam President,

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for your attention to Ukraine.

This morning in Ukraine began with another Russian terrorist attack. They hit our city of Chernihiv. Cruise missiles against civilian buildings. Many houses and a hospital were damaged, a hotel was completely destroyed. People were under the rubble. In total, more than 60 people were injured, including kids. Unfortunately, 17 people were killed. My condolences to all those who lost their loved ones. And this is what is happening every day. It reflects our current key need – the need for air defense.

Here in Ukraine, in our part of Europe, unfortunately, we do not have the level of defense that we all saw in the Middle East a few days ago. When, thanks to the combined power of the allies, they managed to shoot down almost all the missiles and drones that attacked Israel. We are still convincing that we need to protect Europe from ballistic missiles and "Shaheds", from cruise missiles and bombs, as it happened in the skies of Israel and other countries in the region. Our Ukrainian sky and the sky of our neighbors deserve the same security. And I thank everyone who also perceives our need for security as a need for equal security for all, because all lives are equally valuable.

And today our Defense Forces managed to hit an important military facility of the occupiers in Crimea. Thanks to the destruction of Russian equipment there, we can feel more confident about our soldiers in southern Ukraine, on the frontline. And this reflects not the first, but nor the second key issue in this war – the greater our striking capabilities, the sooner Russian occupiers will be forced to leave the sovereign territory of Ukraine. And thus – will be forced to leave each of their neighbors and entire Europe in peace.

Our ability to defend ourselves against Russian terror and the weapons in the hands of our soldiers is something that works not only for Ukraine but for all of you. And I thank each and every one of you who understands this and takes action based on that.

Now we have Germany’s urgent decision to send an additional Patriot and missiles for air defense to Ukraine. This will really help. I thank you, Olaf, for your efficiency.

However, we have a bigger need. Russia has already destroyed almost all of our thermal power generation. Dams and equipment of hydroelectric power plants, as well as gas infrastructure are under terrorist attacks. Russia is not giving up on radiation blackmail and, in particular, continues to brutally play with the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We do not rule out that the infrastructure of our other nuclear power plants and distribution networks are also under threat from Russian terror. This can only be stopped by air defense – by specific systems such as Patriot, IRIS-T, SAMP-T, NASAMS… Systems that you have. They are needed in Ukraine right now – needed to stop Putin from relying on terrorist methods. And this is your security need as well.

Next. Weapons for our soldiers. Shells for artillery. Vehicles. Drones. Everything that helps to hold the frontline. Now the Russian army feels its strength in almost everything related to the armed compоnent. And it is precisely because of this strength – in artillery, in equipment, in the ability to operate in the sky – that they are putting pressure on us at the front and are gradually moving. Putin now hopes that he will succeed in his counteroffensive, and the only root of this hope is the shortage of weapons among our soldiers.

We are actively working with the United States to get the proper decision of the Congress on the American support package. And I ask each of you to engage in communication with our American partners to make their support really happen. We also expect that European leadership in security issues will be equally crucial for Ukraine and globally. Now it is time when all parts of the world should show their leadership for the sake of common security. Because the part of the world whose unity, whose leadership, whose defense production capabilities are insufficient, will lose. Europe must win this time.

I thank each and every one of you for your initiatives and participation in coalitions to support Ukraine, our defense and security forces. I thank everyone whose efforts are really effective. But, unfortunately, we have not yet seen a million artillery shells from the European Union that were discussed so much. Also, some other initiatives have not yet been fully implemented, and this is primarily reflected in what our soldiers can use at the front and what they still, unfortunately, have to wait for.

I ask you to accelerate the implementation of our agreements with you – both on supplies and joint production of weapons and ammunition, and on financing relevant projects.

We also need special support now in terms of our energy – in every sense of this word. Primarily, in the sense of energetics. To restore normal electricity generation and distribution after the Russian strikes. We appreciate the tangible help of each of you with equipment and finances. We also need very specific support for the energy of our society – the energy of spirit, the energy of resilience. This is something that belongs to the political sphere. We need the European Union to deliver what it had promised, and our people need to see Ukraine moving closer to full membership. June is the right time to actually start negotiations with Ukraine on membership. Therefore, we need to adopt a negotiating framework and hold the first intergovernmental conference. And let’s not forget about the energy of justice, which is at the heart of our Europe. Let’s not forget how we appreciate it, and how we want to keep it. Sanctions against Russia for its terror must be strengthened. It is fair. Russian assets that are now frozen should be used to protect lives from Russian terror. This is also fair. And please work to limit Russian revenues… Europe can ensure zero tolerance for anything that gives Russia profits for terror and destabilization. This will be fair too. But it will also be effective. Every country that restricts trade with Russia, every custom duty that prevents import of Russian goods, every your business that leaves Russia – ensures peace and stability in Europe.

We all now need to outmaneuver Putin in our determination – so that this war begins to finally move towards just end.

I believe in peace and I am confident in our Europe’s strength.

Thank you all for your support!

Thank you for the strength of Europe!

Thank you, Charles!

Glory to Ukraine!