President of Ukraine

It is not fair to resist bombs merely with bravery – the President during the extraordinary meeting of the Ukraine – NATO Council

19 April 2024 - 18:20

It is not fair to resist bombs merely with bravery – the President during the extraordinary meeting of the Ukraine – NATO Council

Dear friends,

Thank you for a prompt convocation of our Council. Speedy reaction now literally means security.

Today I was on the frontline – right where the Russian army is amassing most of its efforts for assaults. Unlike our soldiers, the occupiers have enough weapons, a sufficient number of shells, and worst of all – they, unfortunately, still have control over our sky. In these conditions our Ukrainian soldiers – real heroes – are doing everything possible to deter Russian assaults. But it is not fair to resist bombs merely with bravery, the valor of our people cannot be the only defense from drones and missiles – our positions on the frontline need real protection from air strikes. And our cities, our villages, the entire territory of Ukraine needs real protection of the skies. This morning, our cities of Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, and Synelnykove were struck by Russian missile attacks. In Dnipro, an ordinary residential building was destroyed, and people were trapped under the rubble. A railway and a bus stations were damaged… This is just one morning in one city, yet Russian terrorists strike our country daily and nightly in various cities and communities. Such cities as Kharkiv, Odesa, Sumy, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Dnipro, among others, do not have a reliable defense against Russian terrorists. When I was preparing for this conversation, they hit the sea port Pivdennyi. Several missiles struck port facilities, not only Ukrainian, but Singapore’s as well.

From the beginning of this year alone – a bit more than just three months – Ukraine has been hit with almost one thousand two hundred Russian rockets, including aeroballistic and also more than one thousand five hundred ‘Shaheds’. Part of this evil we managed to neutralize – shoot down. But only a part, unfortunately, the smaller part of the rockets, not all ‘Shaheds’ which the Iranian regime shared with Russia, and not all of eight thousand five hundred guided bombs. And Russia has resorted to more calculated massive strikes that destroy our energy system.

It is obvious that Ukraine alone does not have sufficient strength to defend itself from Russian terrorist strikes. And the truth is that the absolute majority of the world countries and of our common Euroatlantic community similarly would lack just their own strength to defend life. This is why NATO was created and this is what alliances work in the world for – when all together defend life, evil will not defeat all – one by one. And we see the effect of this principle – we see a determined alliance – there are those among you who showed it to the entire world.

Dear friends!

The world has seen so far the alliance which does not have equals in countering terror. Israel was not left alone and almost one hundred percent of the strikes against it were neutralized. It is a convincing efficiency of the air shield of NATO countries, your air defense, your combat aviation – everything that now worked in the skies of the Middle East and destroyed not only Iranian drones and rockets but also several dangerous myths. Especially the myth that NATO members’ action in defense of the third country from drones and rockets involves NATO in the war, and that shooting down ‘Shaheds’ or rockets can supposedly be treated as direct confrontation with the army that used this weapon. For allied actions in the Middle East there was no need to activate the Fifth article, and the allies were acting together to protect a state that is not a member of the Alliance.

Ukraine did not ask you to send your soldiers to fight against Russian occupiers – Ukrainians are holding the frontline on their own, receiving military assistance. But now the assistance is still very limited, and in particular, we’re still waiting for new support packages from the United States – American support has been in question for too long. Everything that is questioned for the defense of freedom is a precise answer for Putin – he is tempted to act when the West slows down. 

Ukraine has asked and asks all of you to support our actions with a sufficient number of weapons and shells – and it is a realistic request. I am grateful to every leader and every country that now, while we are waiting for a vitally important decision from the US Congress, offers their own initiatives to cope with the shortage of weapons – including artillery, drones, and other initiatives. But the results of each initiative can be measured only by real capabilities of our soldiers on the frontline – real shells, real weapons in their hands. Ukraine asks you to do everything so that the initiatives for support are realized fully.

It is obvious that now, while Russia has air advantage and can rely on its drone and rocket terror, our capabilities on the ground, unfortunately, are limited. And you have shown how it may be solved.

NATO unites not only the military strength of its member countries but also the humanitarian spirit of the nations. It is an Alliance that protects people and lives, and hence must in its actions follow the idea that people are equal in their dignity and rights, and that given by God – life is equally valuable everywhere on the Earth. That’s why the difference in determination to protect life and freedom looks so strange – somewhere it is stronger, elsewhere weaker. Somewhere ‘Shaheds’ are shot down and elsewhere the same ‘Shaheds’ can fly along the trajectory of terror. Somewhere ballistic missiles are destroyed while elsewhere, unfortunately, they reach their targets. Somewhere delivery of really modern weapons is sufficient to protect life while elsewhere twentieth-century weapons are the highest yardstick in many respects, in particular regarding aviation.

Putin must be brought down to earth, and our sky must become safe again, and it is real. And it depends fully on your choice. Choice whether life is indeed equally valuable everywhere. Choice whether you have an equal attitude to all partners. Choice whether we indeed are allies.

We are telling this directly – to defend, we need seven more ‘Patriots’ or similar air defense systems, and it’s a minimum number. They can save many lives and really change the situation. You have such systems. Please. Secondly: we are talking for quite a while about a million artillery shells for Ukraine. They must be finally delivered to the frontline. Thirdly, our long-ranged ability. It is absurd when partners are afraid of their strength. The more long-ranged weapons our soldiers have in their hands, the closer peace is. The frontline really needs long-range rockets and artillery now. Fourth: aviation. If we have a fighter jet coalition, a sufficient number of jets is needed to really overcome the Russian air fleet. It’s not about the number of promises, but the real number of jets in the sky. And fifth is speed. This year we can’t wait for decisions to be made. I ask you to consider as soon as possible our request for your determination – each of its elements.

Thank you so much for your attention and support!

And I am grateful to every country and every leader for all the support provided to us.

Слава Україні!