All our defenders!
Exactly eight years ago, on May 26, the Donetsk airport stopped working. There is still a message about this: "Attention! From 7 am, Donetsk Airport will temporarily suspend flights. The resumption of the airport’s functioning will be announced additionally."
On that day, apparently, no one foresaw how events in Donbas would develop over these years. And then - throughout Ukraine after a full-scale invasion. No one predicted for how long the word "temporarily" would be delayed in this announcement.
But that day and any day later, and today, two things can be said with confidence.
First. Ukraine will always be an independent state and will not be broken. The only question is what price our people will have to pay for their freedom, and Russia - for this senseless war against us.
And second. The catastrophic developments could have been stopped if the world had treated the situation in Ukraine as its own. If the strong of the world had not played with Russia, but really pressed to end the war.
Just look at the situation now. Look at the number of weeks the European Union has been trying to agree on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. So far, it receives almost a billion euros a day from Europeans for energy supplies.
Of course, I am grateful to our friends who are promoting new sanctions. But where did those who block the sixth package get so much power? Why are they still allowed to have so much power, including in intra-European procedures?
Look at the number of weeks the world has not dared to block the Russian banking system - all banks without exception, to deprive the aggressor of the opportunity to finance not only the war against us, but also the policy of creating splits and crises around the world.
Look at how long we have been struggling to provide Ukraine with all the weapons it needs to change the nature of hostilities and start moving faster and more confidently to the expulsion of the occupiers. All weapons, including MLRS. The systems that are really needed to stop this aggression. We are confident that thanks to our efforts we will still be heard.
Starting from May 26, 2014, and even more so from February 24 this year until today, there have been many opportunities for those who really have the strength to do so to put an end to it and say: now Russia will really feel the full price for what it is doing against Ukraine, against European unity and against freedom as such.
The current offensive of the occupiers in Donbas can make the region uninhabited. They want to burn Popasna, Bakhmut, Lyman, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk to ashes. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol. In cities and communities closer to the Russian border, in Donetsk and Luhansk, they gather everyone they can to fill the place of those killed and wounded in the occupation contingent. All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia.
Today, the occupiers shelled Kharkiv again. At the moment, the list of the dead includes nine people. 19 wounded. All civilians. A child (five months) and a father were killed. The mother is in grave condition. Among the wounded in Kharkiv is also a nine-year-old girl.
Missile strikes again in the Sumy region, in Donbas again. Significant intensification of the occupiers' artillery in the Zaporizhzhia region again. Again, their efforts to burrow into the ground in the south.
Pressure on Russia is literally a matter of saving lives. And every day of delay, weakness, various disputes or proposals to "appease" the aggressor at the expense of the victim is new killed Ukrainians. And new threats to everyone on our continent.
I addressed the Latvian parliament and people today. Expressed gratitude for the help Ukraine received, including the defensive one. And for the help which the Latvian state and the Latvian people provide now. If everyone in the world had the same determination to defend our common freedom as Latvia and other partners who do not hesitate, there would simply be no evil that the Russian state has done to Ukraine, Europe and the world.
I spoke today with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. I informed him about the situation on the battlefield, about the intensification of the occupiers' activities. We discussed how we can adequately enhance Ukraine's ability to defend itself and repel these attacks.
I signed a new decree on awarding our heroes. 180 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were awarded state awards, 28 of them posthumously. The total number of awarded servicemen as of today is over 16,000. Precisely - 16 thousand and 44. In 92 days. But it is clear that there are hundreds and hundreds of times more feats and victories of our defenders.
I am grateful to everyone who holds the defense. Who helps the army and all our defenders.
And finally. Usually these days in May we celebrate the last bell in schools and congratulate boys and girls on the beginning of a new stage in life. Frankly, a brighter stage than childhood. Because finally opportunities in life emerge. Adult opportunities. But childhood is still not over yet.
This year there is no traditional school holiday in Ukraine. And this is understandable. Such a time. Such a situation. And not all schools in Ukraine finish the education process in May this year. And not all graduates are now in our country.
But the constant thing is whatever the time and whatever the situation, we must not lose our opportunities. We have to fight. We have to develop. We have to defend our freedom and be able to use that freedom.
So, we have to be educated and brave. Don't lose a single day in your life. Know what you live the day for. And be sure to believe in Ukraine. Because it is here that Ukrainians have the best chance of success. And especially - after our victory. Which we will definitely gain. And we will definitely remove the phrase "temporarily occupied" in relation to our land, which will be liberated forever. No matter how difficult it may be.
Eternal glory to all who stood up for Ukraine!
Eternal memory to everyone whose lives were taken by the occupiers.
Glory to Ukraine!