Today, the Verkhovna Rada worked quite effectively and, in particular, endorsed several important laws and ratifications that bring us closer to the European Union. No matter how difficult it is - even in the conditions of such a war - we are moving step by step towards full membership in the EU.
I have just signed these documents - on accession to the Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods and to the Convention on the Common Transit Procedure. They are the actual implementation of the customs visa-free regime. We did it in record time and in a completely coordinated manner - all branches of government.
And I want to thank all our diplomats, government officials, deputies who ensured this result. Ukraine will be a full member of the EU - and we are already closer to Europe than at any time in previous decades.
Representatives of the IAEA have already arrived in our country and are to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It's an important mission, and we're doing everything we can for it to be safe and work at full capacity.
Unfortunately, Russia does not stop provocations precisely in those directions from which the mission is supposed to arrive at the station. But I hope that the IAEA mission will be able to start its work.
The situation at the ZNPP and in Enerhodar, in the surrounding areas, remains extremely threatening. The occupiers do not leave the plant, continue shelling and do not take away their weapons and ammunition from the territory of the NPP. They intimidate our plant’s staff. The risk of a radiation disaster due to Russian actions does not decrease for a single hour.
Tonight I spoke about it with President of France Emmanuel Macron. We coordinated our positions in protecting Ukraine and Europe from Russian radiation blackmail. In the afternoon, I discussed the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the dispatch of the mission to the plant with IAEA Director General Grossi. I hope that together with international organizations, with all our partners, we will be able to return the plant under the full control of Ukraine and force Russia to withdraw all its military personnel and weapons from the plant. Immediate and complete demilitarization of the ZNPP is needed.
Only Ukraine can guarantee that all processes at the Zaporizhzhia plant will take place in accordance with standards and under control. Russia simply does not need it.
Today I also held a meeting with American senators - Mr. Portman and Ms. Klobuchar, who arrived in Kyiv. These are people who have done a lot to protect our state and generally freedom in Europe and the world. I thanked them for the bipartisan support.
The key topic of the negotiations is, of course, our interaction with the United States of America and the necessary steps for our joint victory in this battle for freedom.
In particular, we discussed the strengthening of support for Ukraine - financial and security, strengthening of sanctions against Russia - these sanctions should grow like a snowball in order to demolish the terrorist potential of this state.
Over this day, the occupiers brutally shelled Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and our other cities. And almost everywhere - civil infrastructure exactly.
Only one Russian shelling of Kharkiv took the lives of 5 people today, another 12 were wounded. There are also victims as a result of other shelling occasions... Eternal memory to all those whose lives were taken away by the occupiers!
The Armed Forces of our country, our special services, our intelligence are doing everything possible and impossible for every Russian military to necessarily feel the Ukrainian response to this horrible terror that Russia has brought to our land.
Throughout the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, from Crimea to the Kharkiv region, the Russian army does not have and will not have a single safe base, a single quiet place. Our defenders will destroy all warehouses, headquarters of the occupiers, their equipment, wherever they are located. Near Sevastopol - then near Sevastopol. Near Luhansk - then near Luhansk. This is Ukrainian land, and the occupiers can do only two things - flee or surrender. We leave them no other options.
Currently, active hostilities are taking place almost along the entire frontline - in the south, in the Kharkiv region and in Donbas. Today I especially want to thank the warriors of the 56th and 110th brigades, who are showing maximum resilience and heroism in the Avdiivka direction. The warriors of the 53rd and 93rd brigades, who are defending the Bakhmut direction, defending courageously, intelligently, heroically.
The Russian military command was instructed to capture the Donetsk region by the end of August. The end of August is already tomorrow. And in Donbas there are the Ukrainian flag and the Ukrainian heroes. Despite everything - despite the round-the-clock Russian fire, despite the occupiers' efforts to send various mercenaries and convicts there...
I thank each and every one who stands firm, who defends positions and who accurately "subtracts" the invaders, their equipment, logistics and ammunition.
Also, today I want to once again draw the attention of all our people in Crimea - please stay away from Russian military facilities, do not stay near Russian bases and military airfields, inform the special services of Ukraine of all the information you know about the occupiers, so that the liberation of Crimea can happen faster.
Eternal glory to all our heroes!
Eternal glory to all those who help in the fight for life, for independence!
Glory to Ukraine!