President of Ukraine

Russia deliberately deepening crisis of cost of living in many countries, that is why we must jointly resist its aggression – address of President of Ukraine to university community of Chile

17 August 2022 - 21:33

Russia deliberately deepening crisis of cost of living in many countries, that is why we must jointly resist its aggression – address of President of Ukraine to university community of Chile

Dear Mr. Rector!

Dear students and university teachers who joined our conversation today!

Dear journalists and everyone present!

I am grateful for the opportunity to address you and tell you what is happening in Ukraine and why the Russian war against our country is still going on. Why there is no peace.

A full-scale war, a full-scale Russian invasion of the territory of Ukraine has been going on for 175 days. For 175 days, millions of Ukrainians have defended the independence of our state.

But not only independence. This is a struggle not only for the state and not only for the opportunity of our people to independently decide their future.

Indeed, the primary motive of Russian aggression against Ukrainians is purely colonialist – the Russian leadership wants its domination over Ukrainian land and over our resources. And for a long time it was heard in Moscow that they would not restore the Russian empire without seizing the territory of Ukraine.

However, it became a much deeper struggle than any imperial or geopolitical intentions. Russia is literally waging a war against the lives of our people, against the very right to life of Ukrainians.

And this war started not 175 days ago. On February 24 of this year, Russia switched to massive aggression – to attacks from the north, from the east, and from the south at once; all our ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov were blocked; massive missile strikes were launched throughout the territory of Ukraine.

But it was a continuation of the war. The war that began in 2014. It began when Russia occupied the Crimean peninsula, ignited the confrontation in Donbas, which claimed thousands of lives. They were thousands.

Therefore, when we talk about Russia's war against Ukraine, we are talking about eight years and 175 days. And when we talk about the victims of this war, about Ukrainian losses, we do not start the story from February 2022. We start it in 2014, when Ukrainians began to be killed simply because they were Ukrainians.

For the Ukrainian flag. For a pro-Ukrainian position. For defending the Ukrainian territory. Even simply for the suspicion that a person supports the Ukrainian state.

Today I want to tell you about one such person. About a guy who would have turned 25 this fall, and he would probably be a lot like you right now.

His name was Stepan Chubenko. He was from the city of Kramatorsk in Donbas. Bright young man. He was remembered as kind and very active – if he had entered a university similar to yours, he would probably have become one of the student leaders. Perhaps he would not have betrayed his dream and chosen the path of a sports career – and he would have been able to become the goalkeeper of one of the teams you know.

I ask you to look at these photos now – that's the kind of guy he was.

He was killed on July 27, 2014. He was killed by militants – one of those whose hands Russia used to wage a hybrid war in Donbas and whom it is now using in the full-scale war.

They detained Stepan when he was returning home. They saw a yellow and blue ribbon on his backpack – the colors of our flag. And that was reason enough for them to grab the boy. He was beaten for several days, tortured, and shot.

Only in the middle of August of that year, weeks after the murder, Stepan's mother managed to find out what happened to her son. But she was not given his body.

Only in November 2014 it was possible to bury him.

Stepan's mother has the last text message from him: "I'll call you later, I love you."

His killers hid in the territory of Russia and Crimea occupied by Russia. They received sentences from the Ukrainian court. But the terrorist state Russia protects them from being prosecuted.

Them and thousands of other such murderers.

Those who shot people simply because they were Ukrainians. Simply because they were Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Those who shot men and women in the back of the head for the mere suspicion that the person was defending our state.

Those who shot at residential buildings, at schools and hospitals point blank from tanks.

Those who used artillery to bombard peaceful cities.

It started back then – in 2014, and 175 days ago it reached the maximum scale that the Russian army, Russian mercenaries from the so-called military companies, which are de facto part of the secret services of the terrorist state, are capable of.

Russia really wants to seize the territory of Ukraine. And it needs this territory without Ukrainians.

The destroyed Mariupol and dozens of other cities and villages of Ukraine, the Bucha massacre and other cities in the occupied territory are not exceptions to the general Russian strategy, this is what it is – the Russian strategy towards Ukraine and Ukrainians.

Tens of thousands of our people are kept for months in the so-called "filtration camps" set up by the Russian military.

Thousands of Ukrainian children were deported from the territory entered by the Russian army. They are taken to Russia, and Russian officials are trying to do everything so that these children lose all contact with their families and simply forget who they are.

Monuments and museums that simply remind of Ukraine are being destroyed on the occupied territory. They destroy books. They do everything so that people are forced to give up their national identity, their aspirations, dreams, and obey violence and robbery or die.

Ukraine has already lost the lives of tens of thousands of its people in this war. Very small children – one-month-old babies, who were killed by Russian missiles, shells and bullets. Teenagers. Men and women. Elderly people.

Russia does not care who to kill and who to abuse. Everyone is equally its target. And these are not excesses of war. This is its conscious policy.

Therefore, we have no other choice but to fight for the lives of Ukrainians, so that in Ukraine they are not killed for a yellow-blue ribbon on a teenager's backpack. And this struggle can last only until victory.

I can't count how many times before February 24 I suggested to Russia to end the war and negotiate peace. In different formats, through different mediation.

It took many years to negotiate.

But the leadership of Russia chose terror, not an agreement. They chose what they did in Mariupol, in Bucha, not peace. And when Moscow saw that the world would not turn a blind eye to Russian atrocities, they wanted to bring the whole world to its knees.

That is why the food crisis has become so acute. That is why Russia is deliberately destabilizing the energy markets. That is why Russian policy is deepening the crisis of the cost of living in many countries for mercenary motives. And this is why we must jointly resist Russian aggression.

When a state turns energy poverty or hunger into a weapon, it is a blow to everyone in the world. When a state tries to conquer another because it wants to be a colonizer, it is a threat to all who value their independence. And when people are killed simply because they are, because they belong to their people, because they do not give up their homeland, it is a threat to humanity as such.

Can you stay away? Can you stay indifferent? I don't believe that.

That is why you are here today, because you value the truth.

And I'm not asking too much of you. I ask you to spread only the truth – spread the truth about this war in your country and in your region. It is necessary to oppose Russian propaganda.

Demand full accountability for Russian murderers and executioners. Every war crime must receive its verdict by a competent and honest court.

Support sanctions against Russia – because the aggressor must pay the highest price for aggression.

And most importantly, value peace, value life, value your freedom and always, when you have such an opportunity, help defend peace, life and freedom by protecting those from whom they want to take it.

I am very grateful to each of you, thank you for your attention!