President of Ukraine

The decisive battle for freedom is taking place in Ukraine now; we are grateful to you that we are not alone in this battle - President's address to the participants of the 26th annual Forum 2000 Conference in Prague

31 August 2022 - 20:17

The decisive battle for freedom is taking place in Ukraine now; we are grateful to you that we are not alone in this battle - President's address to the participants of the 26th annual Forum 2000 Conference in Prague

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Fiala!

Dear participants of the Forum!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today.

Today is already the 189th day of the full-scale war of the Ukrainian people for freedom. And this is a war for freedom not only for our people. At different times and in different parts of the world, just such battles in which freedom either wins or loses take place. Not for one nation - for many. For many countries and for a long period of time.

We all remember 1968. We remember how people then felt the desire for freedom, how they fought for freedom, and how a historic chance for freedom arose in the center of Europe for a huge space that was under the rule of tyranny at that time.

That chance was destroyed by Soviet tanks in Prague. The world then did not feel the scale of this battle and what exactly was being destroyed. It did not feel what the result of victory would be, and did not want to see immediately what the defeat of freedom in this battle would lead to.

Europe is still forced to overcome the consequences of the fact that tyranny managed to hold on for another 20 years at that time. Managed to hold on due to the fact that freedom did not get help. Did not get help to express itself to the fullest. Was not armed as it should have been. And due to the fact that people did not unite for its sake.

What did it lead to? To death and suffering. To the wave of refugees. To the point that the countries of eastern and central Europe remained without freedom for more decades. And not only without political, cultural or personal freedom of people. But also without economic freedom, without many manifestations of normal social development. Only children and grandchildren were able to get the opportunities and well-being that should have been rightfully enjoyed by the generation of their parents who were young during the Prague Spring.

But the most terrible thing is that the supporters of tyranny who lived at that time and who saw the destruction of freedom by tanks, all those who are annoyed by freedom, all those who despise the right of peoples to self-determination, just then got the illusion that freedom would lose to tanks.

The illusion that it is just necessary to be cruel enough, to send a sufficient number of tanks, to intimidate the democratic world - and freedom will not endure and will inevitably fall.

You hear exactly this illusion when the opponents of freedom say that it is necessary to more decisively suppress with tanks this or that protest, this or that uprising. When they say that it is just necessary to send more tanks to suppress the independence of this or that nation.

This illusion caused a lot of evil after 1968. And this illusion is at the heart of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24.

But right here, on our land, and right now, in our time, we have a historic chance to destroy this illusion!

In Ukraine, there is now a decisive battle for freedom. I am grateful to you that we are not alone in this battle. I am grateful for the support we have received. Grateful for the unity we maintain.

I want to note the role of the Czech Republic in the protection of freedom - it is really significant. The personal involvement of Prime Minister Fiala and many representatives of your state is really important for us.

We have already done a lot. Tyranny has felt that free nations know how to defend themselves, and that the victory of freedom is absolutely probable. This was achieved in different vectors of confrontation. From the frontline, where our Ukrainian warriors physically defend freedom, to the political sphere, in which we managed to achieve a historic result for the sake of Europe. Even in such a terrible time, Ukraine did everything necessary to obtain the status of a candidate for membership of the European Union. I am grateful to the people of the Czech Republic, your government and parliament for supporting us on the European path.

However, the battle for freedom still continues!

The length of the frontline on Ukrainian soil is 2.5 thousand kilometers. Active hostilities - with the use of all possible types of weapons, except, fortunately, weapons of mass destruction - continue on a line of 1.3 thousand kilometers. Imagine this scale! It is like the road from Kyiv to Prague.

Russia is throwing everything it has to the frontline. And it has a lot of weapons and ammunition left from the time of the Soviet Union. And the occupiers are not restrained by the norms of any conventions or even elementary humanity. They are brutally shelling our cities with artillery. Every day and every night, people die from these terrible shelling occasions, from missile and air strikes.

The mass terror against the people in the occupied territory has reached a level that Europe had only seen during World War II from the Nazis.

Russia is blackmailing Ukraine, Europe and the world with a radiation disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Think about it! No enemy of humanity has ever resorted to such blackmail - turned a nuclear power plant into a battlefield.

Therefore, we all need to do a lot more together to win this battle for life.

Ukraine needs constant and sufficient support with weapons and ammunition. So that we can not only hold the frontline, but also expel tyranny from our land, finally destroy its plans to subjugate Ukraine and anyone else in Europe.

We also need financial support, and all leaders of the free world, heads of European structures are aware about this need. Winning a war requires financial stability.

The world has already armed freedom in this battle against tyranny with powerful sanctions against Russia. But the potential of the terrorist state has not yet been destroyed by these sanctions. Russia still hopes that it will adapt to the sanctions and be able to withstand the pressure of the free world. Therefore, new sanctions packages are needed. From everyone - without exception.

Rosatom and the entire nuclear industry of Russia must face blocking sanctions for radiation blackmail at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Russian nuclear scientists are working to repeat the Chornobyl disaster - this must be punished. Before it's not too late. Thanks to sanctions, all potential aggressor states in the world should see that the price of radiation blackmail will be unbearable for the blackmailer.

It is necessary to finally completely block the Russian banking system. How much can we talk about it? It is absurd that Russian banks can still work with the world financial system, as the Russian state is doing everything to cause the world as much damage as possible!

We have already mitigated the acuteness of the food crisis provoked by Russia. Likewise, we must do everything to alleviate the energy crisis, due to which Russia is trying to destroy our unity and ability to defend ourselves.

Russia is doing everything to ensure that the price crisis hits the democracies, hits powerfully, so that chaos spreads in Europe and the world. Hence, we must do everything we can to remove any energy dependence on Russia, to eliminate its ability to make money from energy sources and to help people survive this crisis.

For our part, we offer our electricity to the EU countries - it is much cheaper than on the European market. Ukraine joined the unified energy system of the continent. We can export many times more electricity than now. Due to this, Ukraine can help at least its neighbors in the European Union overcome the price crisis, and this will definitely reduce the severity of the price crisis in the whole of Europe.

We must think together how to get through this winter, given the situation on the gas market. No country in Europe - neither Ukraine, nor the Czech Republic, nor anyone else - should be left alone with the gas problem, as this is Russia's goal. To ensure that we do not help each other.

And finally, there must be a value-based response to everything that tyranny has brought to Europe now. To all this terror.

Of course, I hope for your support in the creation and functioning of the Special Tribunal to punish those who started the war against Ukraine for the crime of aggression. Of course, we must do everything possible together to punish everyone who killed, tortured, deported Ukrainians. And, by the way, all this will become a historical punishment, in particular, for the system that sent tanks to you in 1968.

Another imperative step we must take now. A value-based step. An ethical one. Russian propagandists can still work in European countries. Russian television, which is probably the biggest disinformation source in the world, is still available in European countries. And who are they working against, tell me? What exactly are they trying to destroy or at least discredit in the first place? European democracy!

And Europe needs full protection from Russian propaganda. No Russian propagandist should remain on the territory of the EU. No Russian state television channel should operate on the territory of the EU.

And the territory of the EU should be closed to those citizens of Russia who use Europe to rest from the evil they condone at home with their silence. Visa restrictions will encourage Russian citizens to feel that freedom must be fought for.

Closing the European visa space for tourists from Russia will definitely protect all countries from the killers who were in Salisbury or Vrbětice.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I have no doubt that we will win the battle for freedom. I have no doubt that we are capable of protecting Europe from any crises that Russia creates. And I have no doubt that we will rebuild everything that was destroyed by the war. But for all this to happen, we must have no doubt that we will preserve our unity - the unity of all Europeans, the unity of the free world. I believe that the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union will protect and strengthen our unity. Everyone who stands for freedom should stand together! Together until victory!

Thank you for your attention!

Thank you for your support!

Glory to Ukraine!