President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered the annual Message to the Verkhovna Rada on the internal and external situation of Ukraine.
From the rostrum of the Parliament, the Head of State emphasized that this year, thanks to Ukraine, the world believed that values give strength, and was convinced that tyranny will lose, and freedom will definitely be victorious.
“It was Ukraine that united the European Union. It turned out that it is possible! And now Europe defends itself. Europe overcomes crises. And this is despite the colossal resources thrown by Russia to break our continent,” he said.
According to the President, now the world is interested in what else Ukraine can give to it and to Europe.
“Ukraine cements. It cements the European Union and the entire free world with the struggle for freedom and peace. This is our main achievement in foreign policy for the past year,” the Head of State noted.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that the majority of citizens in the countries of the European Union supported the idea of Ukraine joining the EU, so the time has come to start negotiations on our country's membership in the European Union.
He urged to thank the Ukrainian warriors who are gaining peace for Ukraine and who are the hope of millions of people for life, Europe's hope for peace, and the world’s hope for the fact that the time of empires has passed.
The President noted that the Ukrainian army managed to liberate more than 1,800 cities and villages from Russian occupation. The Head of State noted that the world helps Ukraine, in particular by providing advanced weapons.
“A year ago it seemed impossible that our country would have Patriot air defense systems. Now we have such an agreement. I am grateful to our strategic partners! This is a special sign of trust in Ukraine. This is a true alliance with the United States of America. We have achieved this,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
At the same time, the President expressed his conviction: the time will come when Ukrainian weapons brands will be of interest to the world as well.
“We are capable of producing our missiles, our naval drones, we are already doing it, armored vehicles, aircraft and other types of weapons. We are already doing it,” he said.
In order to achieve all the set goals and to realize all the possibilities of Ukraine, the President called to preserve the unity of society despite any personal emotions and interests.
In order to strengthen security, according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine must constantly look for new friends and alliances, new growth for the economy and society.
In particular, according to him, the Ukrainian state should become a leader in the development of modern "green" energy, which will make it possible to create a decentralized energy system that cannot be destroyed by missile strikes.
Also, according to the Head of State, Ukraine should become a leader in the digital transformation of the state and society: complete the total digitization of all permits and public services and start spreading positive experience in the world, which will help our country secure new alliances, new political and economic ties, in particular with African states and other countries of the Global South.
In addition, Ukraine will be a leader in global efforts to guarantee the world's food security. This will be facilitated by the implementation of the grain export initiative and the "Grain from Ukraine" program, which have already returned vital food stability to the world and made it possible to save millions of jobs for Ukrainians, the President stated.
Another important security element, according to the Head of State, is business and taxes. Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked everyone who maintains the functioning of their business, provides jobs and pays taxes. He emphasized that the financing of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is primarily an internal resource from Ukrainian taxes, duties, bonds and other similar sources.
“Of course, the existing tax system is convenient neither for those who pay taxes nor for those who collect taxes. It is also not convenient for those of our people who receive salaries and pensions from these taxes. But it is extremely important for us to reach a national agreement on this issue,” the Head of State noted.
The President emphasized that the reconstruction of Ukraine after hostilities is a component of justice.
“We have to raise from the ruins the territory entered by the Russian invaders after February 24. In the same way, we will restore the normality of life in the territory of Donbas and Crimea, which were illegally occupied in 2014 and have been brought to the point of disaster by the occupiers over the time that has passed,” he stressed.
In this context, Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on people's deputies, together with the government and the President's Office, to develop a legislative framework for giving priority participation in reconstruction projects to those companies and businesses that were in Ukraine or came to our country during the war, or left the Russian market after the start of a full-scale invasion.
In the context of ensuring justice, the Head of State mentioned the creation of a tribunal for the crime of aggression, as well as the development and implementation of an international compensation mechanism.
“No crime committed by the occupiers in Ukraine can go unpunished,” he stressed.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also emphasized: The goal of restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine always goes hand in hand for us with another goal of freeing all Ukrainians who are held in Russian captivity or in prisons, as well as all those who were forcibly deported from our land. The President reminded that after February 24, Ukraine managed to free 1,456 people from Russian captivity, but there is much more work ahead.
In addition, according to the Head of State, Ukraine should ensure that millions of our citizens, who found refuge from the war abroad, do not become refugees, but want to return home.
“We have to make sure that when the world sees the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag of ours, they will know that it is about freedom and about people who have a strong home and who will always be helped - no matter what happens to them. Because we are all Ukrainians,” the President said.
The Head of State also presented commander of the HIMARS battery, Captain Pavlo Cherniavskyi, who was present in the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada, who presented his award "Cross of Combat Merit" to President of the United States Joseph Biden, with a special symbol - Command Coin, which the leader of the United States gave to the Ukrainian military in return.
“Mr. Captain! Pavlo! I have to give this Command Coin to you now. Once again, I want to thank President Biden, both parties of Congress and every American family for the historical support of Ukraine and our citizens,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
After delivering the Message, the President of Ukraine presented state awards to Ukrainian defenders who were invited to the Parliament.