Today, a new academic year began in our country, as it should be. Despite everything. More than six months of full-scale war. Extraordinary destruction caused by the occupiers. But the education of Ukrainian children continues.
It takes place in various formats, yet systematically and professionally everywhere. And I am grateful to all our educators who continue their work and guarantee with their attention to children that all young Ukrainians have an opportunity to become educated and live a decent modern life. More than 300,000 first-graders, almost 4 million pupils - this is the scale of September 1 this year.
So, in addition to many other conclusions, a very important political conclusion can be made today - about the resilience of our state, about the strength of our society. Our educational institutions are effective. Our state and local communities ensure the restoration of education even in those areas where schools were destroyed during the occupation.
Today I was in Irpin, Kyiv region. I saw the beginning of the work of such a restored school. 1,300 pupils will get their education there. The children went to the first grade, as is customary. I was happy to see them starting to study and to see the conditions it happens in. A good, comfortable, humanly warm school. And it will be the same on the entire territory of our state, which we will definitely oust the invaders from.
No matter what they destroyed, we will restore everything, we will rebuild everything. No matter how much they want to destroy Ukraine and anything Ukrainian, our children will still go to their schools and universities and get an education absolutely freely. National education. Humanistic education. Education built not on lies and propaganda spread by the terrorist state, but on real knowledge, openness to the world and the best human values.
Today, the IAEA mission arrived at Zaporizhzhia NPP. It's good that it happened. The fact itself despite all the provocations by the Russian military and the cynical shelling of Enerhodar and the territory of the plant. Ukraine did everything to make this mission happen. But it is bad that the occupiers are trying to turn this IAEA mission - a really necessary one - into a fruitless tour of the plant. I believe that this will be prevented.
It is good that the IAEA representatives have an opportunity to draw objective conclusions about the risks that have arisen at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for the first time in history. Moreover, the risks that have arisen precisely because of the occupiers. The main thing is to have the will to draw objective conclusions. Constant shelling, the presence of Russian military and weapons at the plant, tormenting Ukrainian personnel and attempts to put the plant under the control of Rosatom representatives who are not at all capable of a responsible attitude towards such an object... These are the reasons for the risks.
We have clear evidence that Russia did a lot of cynical things to deceive the mission. In particular, with the help of intimidation of residents of Enerhodar. The occupiers forced people to lie to the IAEA representatives - to hand over some papers, sign something, say something.
When we met with Mr. Grossi and members of the mission in Kyiv, we agreed that the mission would be accompanied by journalists from Ukrainian and international media. Independent journalists. For the world to see the truth. To see what is really happening. Unfortunately, this wasn’t done. Although it was promised. Unfortunately, the occupiers did not let the journalists in, but organized a bunch of their propagandists. Unfortunately, the IAEA representatives did not protect the representatives of independent media.
We are hopeful that the mission will nevertheless draw objective conclusions from the circumstances at the plant. For more than three decades, 5 facilities have been under the control of our specialists - the Chornobyl plant and 4 operational nuclear power plants. The IAEA never had any claims regarding the activities of any of these facilities until Russia invaded our territory and brought its madness here.
When the Russian military finally leave the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, when they take away their weapons, ammunition, when they stop shelling Enerhodar and neighboring areas and cease their provocations, the Zaporizhzhia plant will be able to return to a completely safe functioning, which has always been the case under the control of Ukraine.
And the key thing that should happen is the demilitarization of the territory of the plant. This is exactly the goal of Ukrainian and international efforts. And it is bad that we have not yet heard the appropriate calls from the IAEA. Although we talked about it with Mr. Grossi at our meeting in Kyiv. This was the key - the key! - security point of our agreements. It was clearly stated: demilitarization and full control by Ukrainian nuclear specialists.
Today I had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark who arrived in Ukraine. I thanked him for the support, which is a very useful support, in particular in the field of defense. We discussed further steps to defend Ukraine and the entire united Europe, the sanction policy and the restoration of our state after hostilities.
I held the first conversation with the new Prime Minister of Israel Lapid. I emphasized the necessity of Israel’s accession to the sanctions on Russia, sanctions for all the evil brought by this war. The evil that should have never returned again.
I addressed the Polish people - September 1 is the anniversary of the beginning of World War II. I said an important thing in this address: just as that aggressor was defeated and convicted, this aggressor will inevitably be defeated and convicted as well. When the free world is united and the victim of aggression is not left alone, when no one signs disgraceful pacts with evil, the war ends with the victory of the forces of good.
I signed another decree on awarding our warriors. 155 combatants were awarded state awards, 22 of them posthumously. In total, since February 24, 28,042 Ukrainian warriors have received state awards. Those who heroically defend our state in all directions. Who ousted the enemy from the north, who are beating the occupiers in the east, who are destroying them in the south and, what is very important now, are working for the liberation of our Crimea.
And today I especially want to express gratitude to our defenders in the Kharkiv direction - the 92nd brigade, all warriors and сommanding officer of the brigade Fedosenko. Thanks for your bravery guys!
And also to our Air Forces. Yesterday, the anti-aircraft troops in the Donetsk region did a very good job - shot down another helicopter of the occupiers, already the 205th during the full-scale war, and two UAVs. In total, more than 800 Russian drones have already been destroyed. Today, our Air Forces did a good job against enemy missiles - thank you for the result!
I am grateful to everyone who defends Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!