President of Ukraine

A real, honest end to the war cannot happen without fully restoring justice – address by the President to the participants of the U.S. Helsinki Commission's hearing on "Holding Russia Accountable for War Crimes Against Ukraine: Lessons from Nuremberg".

20 February 2024 - 15:45

A real, honest end to the war cannot happen without fully restoring justice – address by the President to the participants of the U.S. Helsinki Commission's hearing on

Dear Chairman Wilson! 

Dear Members of the Helsinki Commission and all the defenders of justice!

First of all, I want to thank the Commission and everyone supporting its work for organizing this crucial hearing. This event is significant not only for the Commission’s efforts, nor is it solely about our shared goal of holding all Russian war criminals accountable. Your work also serves as a vital signal to people worldwide. Today, the hearings take place in the same room where, after World War II, justice helped lay the foundations for a new and lasting protection of life and human rights. In Courtroom 600, the site of the groundbreaking Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officials, American Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered his famous opening statement. And it’s terrible news that even after so many years and lessons, humanity must revisit the Nuremberg principles to punish a new, large-scale Russian evil following Hitler’s footsteps. But, on the bright side, it’s good news that there are still those ready to return to these principles and administer justice. Our unity works for the good of our nations and all the people in the world.

First human rights fall, then wars arise. This is a fact. And it should become a universal truth that a real, honest, and reliable end to the war cannot happen without fully restoring justice for all those whose rights and lives have been shattered by the war. No war can be truly ended without bringing to justice those thugs responsible for sparking this war, killing and torturing, deporting children and adults, and who attempted to brutally extinguish the flames of freedom and resistance in occupied territories.

There is no crime against humanity and life that Putin’s Russia and those serving its insane dictator have not committed. The world has seen Ukrainian cities and villages burned to the ground by the Russian army. Everyone has at least heard about the mass killings that inevitably follow the Russian flag across occupied territories. It is impossible to reconcile with the pain of families torn-apart by Putin’s war and the deportation of Ukrainian children. We know the names of nearly 20,000 children who have been deported. And this is likely just a part of the larger number – potentially hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children could have been deported. Children whom Russia refuses to return to their families and homeland, children who are now being taught to hate liberty. And we must also not forget about millions of Ukrainians surviving under the Russian occupation, deprived of even the most basic human rights.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Let there be no obstacles on the path to justice! Just as Nazism was condemned, Putin’s state must face the same fate. He places himself alongside Hitler, justifying his actions in the Second World War. He is trying to plunge the entire free world into the same suffering he has brought to Ukraine and our people. Various nations have united to help stop Russia’s aggression. And I thank every nation, every leader, and all political figures worldwide who are helping to protect Ukraine. You are truly on the right side of history. At the same time, I urge everyone who can hasten the arrival of a real peace. A peace that will free all Ukrainians from Russian domination across our entire land. A peace that, like after World War II, will be based on condemning the war criminals and their ideology. A peace that will ensure a happy and safe life for generations to come. We can bring such peace – together, in unity, and with all the support needed.

And, of course, I want to thank each and everyone in the United States who cherish freedom just as Ukrainians do, and Mr. President Biden and the Administration, and everybody in the U.S. Congress who helps, and to all our partners worldwide. Thank you for your determination! When determination arises and justice prevails, the aggressor falls and evil gets punished. Action makes a difference.

Glory to Ukraine!