President of Ukraine

Russian terror must lose, Ukraine and all of Europe must win - President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to the European Council

20 October 2022 - 20:06

Russian terror must lose, Ukraine and all of Europe must win - President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to the European Council

Thank you very much, Charles, thank you very much, dear Mr. President!

Dear colleagues!

I am glad to greet all of you and want to immediately, without wasting time, move on to issues that are vitally important now not only for Ukraine, but also - I am sure - for the entire European Community as well.

There is a new escalation in Russian terror. And this requires us to take new steps in response - quick steps in solidarity. Steps that will protect both Ukrainians and all Europeans.

The current leadership of Russia has been working for years to turn energy resources into weapons. Fortunately, this plan of theirs fails.

Despite the critical dependence of some European countries on Russian gas, oil and oil products, the European Union managed to ensure energy independence thanks to effective leadership both at the EU level and at the level of national governments.

European gas storages are full, alternative supply to the continent is established. This is your absolute success.

Unfortunately, the very serious challenge of the price crisis, which Russia ignited and fuels to provoke social tension in European countries, still remains. This is Russia's calculated pressure on the family budget of every European family. But I believe that socially just solutions can be found to overcome this challenge as well.

You know that Ukraine offered its help so that we could all get through this winter together in better conditions. In particular, we started exporting electricity to the EU - and this was a very significant contribution to Europe's energy and price stability.

However, such help of ours became an obvious target of Russian terrorists. Unable to use energy resources as a weapon, the current leadership of Russia has given the order to turn the energy system itself into a battlefield. The consequences of this are very dangerous – again for all of us in Europe.

Attacks by Russian cruise missiles and Iranian combat drones have destroyed more than a third of our energy infrastructure. Because of this, unfortunately we are no longer able to export electricity to help you maintain stability.

However, this is only part of the problem.

Russia also provokes a new wave of migration of Ukrainians to EU countries. Russian terror against our energy facilities is aimed at creating as many problems as possible with electricity and heat for Ukraine this fall and winter so that as many Ukrainians as possible move to your countries. The terrorist state has already worsened the social conditions in your countries - but it wants to worsen it further by provoking a wave of resettlement.

This should be answered immediately.

The first answer is fundamental - it is air defense and anti-missile defense. We must do everything possible to make it completely impossible for Russia to destroy our energy system with missiles and drones.

We have already received a very effective IRIS-T system from Germany. I thank Mr. Chancellor for that. This German system protects not only Ukrainian skies. It protects European stability, limiting Russian terror, which strikes both our country and, in the future, your countries. But we need more air defense and anti-missile defense systems to create a truly reliable air shield.

I know that some EU countries have already confirmed their participation in this work. And I urge you to accelerate the implementation of decisions as much as possible. I am now turning to France, Italy, and our other partners – not only in Europe, but also in the United States of America. Not only to those who produce air defense and anti-missile defense systems, but also to those who have the necessary systems. The more protected Ukrainian skies are, the more stable life will be in all of Europe. We have to ensure it.

The second answer should be sanctions. New powerful sanctions against Russia and Iran for collaboration with the terrorist state. Although we have destroyed more than two hundred Iranian drones this month alone, and dozens have hit various targets, Iranian representatives are still lying as if they did not provide the drones to Russia.

Russia must pay for this terror – and this must be reflected in the ninth EU sanctions package. Iran must be deprived of any possibility or even desire to supply such drones to anyone.

It is good that the first step has already taken place - new individual sanctions against Iranian figures and companies have been approved. But a few individuals and companies are not a responsibility yet. More systematic steps are needed.

We can, and therefore must, do everything to ensure that this terrorist plan of the Russian leadership also fails. Never again should the energy system of any country turn into a battlefield. Right now, using the examples of Russia and Iran, we can show what awaits any terrorist state if it tries to attack Europeans or any other people like this.

Anyone who calls for the mitigation of sanctions against Russia for terror or tries to politically torpedo the sanctions mechanism is not only trying to make Russian terror go unpunished, and not only betrays the memory of the victims of terror, but also makes the entire European Community dependent on the most anti-European power in the modern world. Pay attention to such voices in Europe - they are against Europe.

Please do not forget about the aspect with Belarus. You know very well that we are doing everything to prevent the involvement of the people of Belarus in a war against our state. But since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, missiles have been launched against Ukraine from Belarusian territory, and now Iranian drones have been added. Therefore, sanctions should be added for such an accomplice.

And our proposal to send international observers to the border of Ukraine and Belarus to monitor the security situation is becoming more relevant every day.

But that's not all.

Russia is deliberately creating the grounds for a large-scale disaster in the south of Ukraine. We have information that Russian terrorists mined the dam and aggregates of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. This is one of the large power facilities. The dam of this hydroelectric power plant holds about 18 million cubic meters of water. If Russian terrorists blow up this dam, more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in the zone of rapid flooding. Hundreds, hundreds of thousands of people may be affected.

The water supply of a large part of the south of Ukraine may be destroyed. This Russian terrorist attack could leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant without water for cooling – water for the ZNPP is taken from the Kakhovka Reservoir. Even the operation of the canal, which was built to supply water to Crimea and which is periodically allegedly "cared about" by Moscow, will be completely destroyed. This is the real attitude of Russia towards our Ukrainian Crimea. And in general, the devastating environmental, humanitarian, man-made consequences of this single Russian terrorist attack may become such that it will be called a historical disaster.

According to our information, Russia has already prepared everything to carry out this terrorist attack. Ukrainian workers were kicked out of the Kakhovka station - only Russian citizens stay there. They have complete control over the station. It is necessary to act immediately so that Russia does not have the opportunity to realize this catastrophe.

An international observation mission to the Kakhovka HPP is needed. It is necessary to return the Ukrainian personnel there and ensure immediate and professional demining of the aggregates and the dam.

Russia is doing this in order to organize another false flag operation - to carry out a terrorist attack and blame Ukraine for it. But we know what the truth is.

We know that this territory is controlled by the occupiers and what they were capable of already. They themselves will stop at nothing. But we can stop them. We can stop the onset of catastrophic consequences. We can, and therefore we must!

And one more thing. Reconstruction.

Whatever terrorist plans Russia and its accomplices may have, we must care about life. When we have reliable protection of the sky - that is, a sufficient number and quality of air defense and missile defense systems - we will be able to guarantee a normal economic and social life in Ukraine. These are opportunities for our cooperation with you - and therefore for economic growth and new jobs. Jobs not only in Ukraine, but also in your countries.

When we can guarantee that the Russian terror at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant stopped, we will be able to return to a stable energy supply for Ukrainians, and therefore to the export of electricity to our European neighbors.

Under these conditions - a protected sky and protected energy sphere - we will be able to proceed to a larger scale of reconstruction in Ukraine. And it is not just about the economy and the social sphere. It is not just about security. It is also about the prestige of Europe.

I hope that in the near future, namely on October 25 in Germany during the Ukraine Recovery Conference, we will discuss how we will together prove that the effectiveness of our unity and our institutions is much more powerful than any anti-European terror. Russian, Iranian or any other.

But without waiting for the next week and the start of the Conference, I would like to point out today that we need more support in the implementation of our Fast Recovery Plan. That is, in the priority measures for the reconstruction of Ukraine after the terrorist attacks.

You have all this data - what we need exactly. We already have an understanding of the necessary funds. This is 3 and a half billion euros this year and about 14 billion euros next year. And so far we have received zero from these funds. And they are vital. As well as the next tranches of macro-financial aid for Ukraine are vital.

Thank you for the funds that have already been allocated, but a decision has not yet been made on the remaining 6 billion from this package - which is critically needed this year. And it is in your power to reach a principled agreement on the provision of this assistance to our state today already.

Terror must lose. Ukraine and all of Europe must win.

I thank you for your attention! Thank you for your support!

I look forward to prompt and effective decisions of the European Community.

Glory to Ukraine!