In the Republic of Lithuania, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska took part in an event organized as part of the "Raising the Flag for Ukraine in NATO" campaign.
President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda and First Lady Diana Nausėdienė met Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Olena Zelenska on Lukiškės Square in Vilnius.
The two heads of state received from Jonas Ohman, a volunteer and co-founder of the Blue-Yellow volunteer movement, a flag of Ukraine handed over by the Ukrainian military from the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, where fierce hostilities with the Russian occupiers are ongoing. Marathon runners also carried the flag through the streets of Vilnius.
In his speech, the Lithuanian President noted that during his recent visit to Kyiv, he had shared with Volodymyr Zelenskyy the idea of raising the flag from the battlefield on a square in Vilnius, which would be delivered by runners, and expressed his joy that it had been organized.
"I am happy that we are moving forward. And I think that Ukraine will indeed be a NATO member. We have no right to act otherwise, because now the price that Ukraine is paying is the highest. It is the price of blood. At the cost of their blood, their lives, Ukrainians are giving us time to prepare and give a worthy response to Russia. Russia will not win," said Gitanas Nausėda.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for his part, emphasized that here in Vilnius, the progress of Europe is very clearly visible, as people here know what security is and how to achieve it.
“And they know that security means being together with Ukraine. I am grateful to you, Vilnius, and to all Lithuanian cities and communities for every call in support of Ukraine, for sheltering our people who have taken refuge from hostilities here, at your home, in Lithuania. Thank you for your help to our defense and for your clear, honest and, importantly, courageous position on inviting Ukraine to NATO. Ukrainian flags on Lithuanian streets clearly prove that we are already allies, and Ukraine will defend both its own and your freedom! And no one should ever, ever look back to Moscow,” the Head of State emphasized.
He also noted the great personal assistance of Gitanas Nausėda.
The Head of State noted that the Ukrainian battle flag that will be flown in Vilnius today was brought from the city of Bakhmut, where one of the most decisive battles for freedom in Europe takes place, and this is how our children and grandchildren will remember it.
“This battle flag of ours from Bakhmut means that Lithuanians will never again have to fight against Russian soldiers, neither under the Vilnius TV tower nor in any other place of your capital! Lithuania will always be yours alone! This flag of ours means that there will never again be deportations from the Baltic States to Siberia. Never again will there be partitions of Poland and humiliation of Hungary by the invaders. Never again will there be tanks in Prague and "winter wars" against the freedom of Finland... There will be no more occupations in Europe!” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
According to the President, the Ukrainian flag, although riddled with bullets, is alive, proud and free, and this means that every flag of European countries will be alive, proud and free.
“There, in the ruins of Bakhmut, on the fields of other battles in Ukraine, Russian aggressive ambitions will remain crushed. And it is not Ukraine or anyone else in our Europe, but they, the Russian aggressive ambitions, that will lie in ruins,” the Head of State noted.
He noted that he believes in the decision of Ukraine's partners, which will make NATO strong and decisive.
“I would like this faith to become confidence – confidence in the decisions that we deserve – all of us deserve, and every warrior, every citizen, every mother, every child of ours expects. Is that too much to expect? NATO will give Ukraine security. Ukraine will make the Alliance stronger,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The speeches were followed by the National Anthem of Ukraine. Mayor of Vilnius Valdas Benkunskas solemnly raised the flag of Ukraine on Lukiškės Square.