President of Ukraine

Speech by the President of Ukraine in the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg

2 June 2022 - 13:30

Speech by the President of Ukraine in the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg

Dear Mr. President!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister!

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the government, everyone present!

Dear people of Luxembourg!

Thank you for the opportunity to contact you.

Your state has a wise and extremely relevant motto: "We want to stay what we are." And this is now perceived in a special way. You cannot pass by these words. Because what are we fighting for? For what we are. And to stay what we are. Free, independent, open and united with all Europeans.

We have been fighting for this right, this aspiration for a very long time. Much longer than Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. By the way, tomorrow is the hundredth day of this war. And when this characteristic is used - full-scale - it is usually just a rhetorical separation of the ongoing war from the war that Russia started in 2014.

Then, 8 years ago, the Russian army invaded our land and occupied part of it for the first time. The Crimean peninsula and a third of Donbas, including the largest cities, Donetsk and Luhansk.

The fighting in Donbas lasted for 8 years. There were very hot and bloody phases of confrontation. There were also short periods of ceasefire, which cost many great diplomatic efforts.

Ukraine has lost more than 14,000 people killed - from 2014 to February 24 this year. More than one and a half million people have become internally displaced persons. As a result of the then campaign of invasion, the Russian army controlled more than 43,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. This area is comparable, for example, to the area of the Netherlands.

And for most European countries, such a scale of war would be enormous already. But on February 24, Russia showed that it was not a scale at all for it. It showed that its cruelty is much greater.

Russian troops entered 3,620 settlements in Ukraine. 1,017 of them have already been liberated. Another 2,603 are to be released. As of today, about 20 percent of our territory is under the control of the occupiers. Almost 125 thousand square kilometers. This is much larger than the area of all the Benelux Countries combined. About 300 thousand square kilometers are bestrewn with mines and unexploded ordnance. Almost 12 million Ukrainians have become internally displaced persons. More than 5 million, mostly women and children, have gone abroad.

Fighting continues on the huge territory from the city of Kharkiv in the east of our country to the city of Mykolaiv in the south. A straight line between them is 454 kilometers long. But if you look at the entire frontline, and it is, of course, not straight, this line is more than a thousand kilometers. Just imagine! Constant fighting, which stretched along the frontline for more than a thousand kilometers.

Every day Ukraine suffers from Russian missile strikes. Just yesterday, Russia used 15 different cruise missiles. And since February 24, 2,478 missiles have been used. Most of them were aimed at civil infrastructure.

We have to defend ourselves against virtually the entire Russian army. All combat-ready Russian military units are involved in this aggression.

The occupiers’ death toll is already more than 30,000 soldiers. That's greater than the death toll of the Soviet Union in 10 years of war in Afghanistan. Greater than Russia’s death toll in two Chechen wars. But this does not stop Russia. This state is still ready to lose and kill, kill people.

Because only one person in Russia doesn’t want to let us stay what we are.

The Russian army has already destroyed almost the entire Donbas. This once one of the most powerful industrial centers in Europe is simply devastated. The occupiers are destroying it city after city. Just look at the city of Mariupol. There were half a million people, ordinary peaceful life in an important industrial city. Now there are burnt out ruins. And we still don't even know exactly how many of our people were killed by the occupiers. At least tens of thousands - tens of thousands in a little less than 100 days.

This is what it means, in fact, to characterize this war as full-scale. And that is why we are so loud urging the world to support us. First of all, calling for defense support.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Ukraine has shown extraordinary bravery. We did not surrender to Russia. We have stopped and are gradually pushing the army of invaders, which was recently considered the second strongest in the world, out of our territory.

Nobody expected Ukrainians to have courage of this magnitude. But this magnitude is there. And this quality of our character, our willingness to fight for freedom and for our values - and these are the common values of all free Europeans - is now based on the support we have received from our partners.

I am very grateful to you, the authorities and the people of Luxembourg, for the historic decision to provide Ukraine with weapons. Unlike other states, Luxembourg does not have large military depots or significant defense industry. But you have shown solidarity on the scale of a great nation and provided defense assistance in a timely manner - how important it is - and without excessive bureaucracy, as befits people with a great soul.

You have proven that your potential is stronger than that of some who have remained weak even despite a much larger geographical scale.

I am also grateful to you for participating in the sanctions pressure on Russia. Only together can all democracies ensure that Russia is satisfied with the scale of its own territory and never encroaches on the lives of other countries.

We understand that no one will be able to stay away and avoid being affected when a catastrophe of such enormity occurs in the world because of the Russian state. It is reminiscent of World War II, when Nazi aggression threatened the lives of entire nations. Therefore, we must significantly increase the pressure on Russia to stop this catastrophe and prevent such aggressions in the future.

We need more weapons for Ukraine - modern weapons that will ensure the superiority of our state over Russia in this war not only through courage, intelligence, but also technologically. And I ask you to advocate this need before other European states.

More sanctions on Russia are needed for the war. As soon as the sixth sanction package is imposed, we should all prepare the seventh.

All Russian officials working for the war and all Russian judges working for repression must be subject to the sanctions. The assets of these and other persons, both individuals and legal entities, subject to sanctions, as well as the assets of the Russian state in foreign jurisdictions must be frozen. All of them.

And we need to find a legal way to confiscate them in order to compensate for the damage that Russia has done to the victims of the war. That will be fair. And - instructive for the aggressor.

We must show that European unity outweighs any doubt about Europe's ability to defend its values. Ukraine has de facto become part of the European Union. We are already cooperating both bilaterally and at the EU level on a scale commensurate with full membership. What can prove this better than the fact that we protect each other?

And I believe that your country - as one of the founders of a united Europe - will support first the candidacy for Ukraine, and later the membership in the European Union. I am sure that your specialists and companies will join the project of reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. And this will be the largest economic project in Europe of our generation.

Luxembourg's investment and technological potential and ability to organize a comfortable city life are well known. And I believe that we will see how your potential will work in Ukraine for the benefit of both our nations.

Mr. Prime Minister!

I invite you to visit our capital, Kyiv, so that we can discuss our further cooperation in detail. We will be glad to hear your speech in our parliament - in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I want to recall these words again: "We want to stay what we are." Right now, Russia's war against Ukraine is crucial for the whole of Europe as well. This is a war for values.

When we win this war, all Europeans will be able to continue to enjoy their freedom. But if the person who wants to destroy any freedom in Ukraine and Europe prevails, there will be a dark time for everyone on the continent. One that has already been in the history of Europe, which has brought the continent a lot of suffering and victims. And an echo of which can still be heard sometimes today, unfortunately, in the voices of those who are trying to undermine European unity.

Tyranny must lose. So that Europe can stay what it is. What it is now. Free, open, united and able to be strong in diversity.

And I am grateful to you for the fact that the Grand Duchy is truly defending freedom with us.

Thank you all!

Thank you Luxembourg!

Glory to Ukraine!