President of Ukraine

The reconstruction of Ukraine will be the greatest contribution to the maintenance of global peace - President's speech at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano

4 July 2022 - 16:44

The reconstruction of Ukraine will be the greatest contribution to the maintenance of global peace - President's speech at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano

Dear Mr. President Cassis!

Dear Mrs. President von der Leyen!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Fiala!

Dear participants of the Conference!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

First of all, I wish to thank Mr. President of Switzerland, his team and everyone involved in the organization of our Conference. It is this Conference and its decisions that can become the first stride towards the historic victory of the democratic world.

Russia's war against Ukraine is not just an attempt to seize our land and destroy our state institutions, break our independence. This is a much broader confrontation - the one in terms of the worldview.

The anti-democratic and anti-European system built in Russia is trying to prove that it is supposedly stronger than all of us – Ukraine, Europe and the democratic world. It is trying to prove that Europe is allegedly weak and allegedly unable to defend its values. Such a worldview motive can be traced in all the actions of the Russian state - both in relation to Ukraine and in relation to all of you.

And all the crises created by Russia - inflationary, food, energy, migrant, the contours of which are already present - are the worldview, ideological challenge.

However, its most brutal manifestation is Russia's aggression against our state, against us, the first ones it wants to return to its control zone in Europe.

Look at what Russia is doing, destroying Ukraine. Russia is destroying the space of everything that matters to us and to any free human life.

In four months of the full-scale invasion, 2,102 educational facilities in Ukraine were destroyed. These are schools, these are universities, these are kindergartens... When the Russian army uses artillery against a kindergarten or drops bombs on a school, it destroys not just walls and not just buildings. This is the deliberate destruction of the educational space - the space in which children are socialized, in which people learn to be people.

All our societies have just recovered from the COVID pandemic, when for a long time only distance education was possible. Just when everything has started to recover, just when children have found themselves in the usual space of communication, the space of friends, education... Russia came and with its strikes is trying to say that we will not have this space - our education - at all.

Why is Russia shelling hospitals? How can they give an order for an airstrike on a hospital or a maternity hospital? This is Russia's manifestation that it is allegedly able to destroy the very possibility of civilization for Ukraine - the basic humanity that exists in every normal country. Russia shows that Ukrainians will not be able to even treat, even give birth to children.

799 medical infrastructure facilities have been destroyed from February 24 to the end of June. In what other country, in what other war were so many medical facilities destroyed in such a short period of time?

All this is a deliberate tactic of Russia, not just shelling, but a bet precisely on ideological confrontation. The terrorist state hopes that such destruction will prove the alleged inability of the democratic system and the European choice of our nation to give people not even normal life, but life in general.

Look at the systematic destruction by the Russian army of the residential neighborhoods of our cities and the constant missile terror. Why do they do it? This is not a purely military tactic...

Each person has a space of home - and it is not only a separate apartment or house, it is a part of the city or the countryside where a person communicates, works, meets with friends, loves, raises children, visits parents. That is why the Russian occupiers fire at residential buildings with tanks or carry out artillery shelling of city blocks, that is why they target missiles on houses to destroy this entire space of life - to kill people's feeling of home.

More than 12 million Ukrainians were forced to become refugees because of this war. And how many of them will still return home, even if they have a place exactly where they lived before to return to? After such a brutal war and such barbaric Russian attacks, it will be very difficult for many people to find that feeling again - the feeling of a real home.

Russia's aggression still continues, and about eighty thousand objects have already been destroyed. These are tens of millions of square meters of space... And when we see such losses, we must see not just broken walls and not just broken bricks, not just burned corridors or rooms, but millions - millions of human destinies that will never be the same they were before. We must see dreams that no longer exist. Love that became impossible. We must see children who could have lived the same lives as each and every one of you, but now their lives are ruined. Russia not only deprived many Ukrainian children of their home or friends, but also made them orphans, killed their brothers and sisters...

Russia's intention is to make such ruins and such losses an alleged "vision" of democracy and Europe. With this aggression, Russia wants to prove that it supposedly has not just territory under its control, but life as such, and that it can supposedly decide for everyone whether they will have life at all.

Therefore, this war is not just ours, not just a local one somewhere in the east of Europe. No. This is Russia's attack on everything that is of value to you and me. Therefore, the reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local project, not a project of one nation, but a joint task of the entire democratic world - of all countries, certainly all countries that can say about themselves - we are civilized.

Rebuilding Ukraine means restoring the principles of life, restoring the space of life, restoring what makes people people. Of course, this means construction, large-scale construction. Of course, this means large funding and colossal investments. Of course, this means a completely new level of security throughout our country, which has to continue to live next to Russia.

But it also means a new technological level. It also means an opportunity for our countries, our companies, our specialists to show why freedom is more powerful than any tyranny.

Back in the spring, we started offering our partners to join the project of rebuilding Ukraine. Even then, it was obvious that this would be the biggest project of our time – economic, technological, social, and most importantly, worldview.

And I am grateful to the countries that have positively accepted our proposals to take patronage over regions, cities or industries affected by the war. In particular, I am grateful to Denmark for its willingness to become a chief in the reconstruction of our city of Mykolaiv. I am grateful to Britain for its interest in the reconstruction of the Kyiv region. And in the same way, I invite all countries of the civilized world, ambitious companies and specialists to join our efforts.

In addition to everything else, it will allow us to create millions of new connections in the democratic world, in Europe, between our countries. Every city, every community, every industry that will be rebuilt will have a historical record of who helped it. Just imagine - these are not just flags of the partner country at the entrance to the city, but being woven into the new fabric of life in Ukraine, traditions and heritage of all those who worked on reconstruction.

And, of course, I am grateful to the European Commission for the initiative to create a special European platform for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

However, all initiatives, plans, ambitions should be in a single system, in which not only the needs, but also the feelings of Ukrainians will be in the first place. Therefore, Ukraine offers its national Reconstruction Plan, on the basis of which it will be possible to implement every initiative, every idea, as well as to use the funds that will be directed to reconstruction in a completely rational way and precisely in the interests of Ukraine.

And among the key principles, I would note the following - maximum security; maximum technologies; maximum compliance with environmental standards; maximum use of "green" technologies; maximum implementation of barrier-free principles; maximum focus on community interests; maximum transparency - in planning, use of funds, selection of projects; as well as maximum rooting of the reconstruction project in the real economic life of Ukraine in order to realize all this and for the results of the reconstruction to work long-term, which means the creation of jobs and new industries in Ukraine, the localization of your business, your business processes in Ukraine.

Of course, it is not only about restoring the substance of life, but also about institutional development. Our country has become a candidate for joining the European Union. The movement towards full membership involves reforms. But the reconstruction of Ukraine also requires reforms.

We still have to strengthen our institutions, we still have to update living standards. Our goal is for Ukraine to become not only the freest country in Europe and the most convenient for life and business, but also for us to complete the political part of the work the fastest of all those who moved towards the European Union.

We can do it - just as we have already done the biggest reform for the countries of the European community. And this, I believe, is the most important reform and we have already implemented it. The reform of the strength of the European Union is actually the reform of the EU. The European Union is truly united - firmly united now thanks to us, thanks to Ukraine. Thanks to this reform of ours, we have actualized each of the basic values ​​of Europe. In the same way, the support of NATO states for our country means that we have united the Alliance as much as possible. The Alliance has not been so united for decades.

And the reconstruction of Ukraine will be an equally great reform for all of us, because we will unite the democratic world to the extent that everyone will see: the worldview of free people always wins. The world will see that no one can ever achieve their goals through war.

But now I want to make one important local emphasis.

We need to act now. We have already liberated a significant territory of Ukraine - more than a thousand settlements. Challenges remain for a significant territory - economic, energy, social. Restoring school education, providing medicine for people, providing housing for displaced people, guaranteeing jobs for Ukrainians, protecting the energy industry - these are all important tasks right now, and especially on the eve of winter.

Therefore, Ukraine presents two levels of action: strategic - and this means the recovery of the entire country, as well as tactical. We need this tactical help. This means the need to quickly restore everything that can be restored.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

As long as the ruins remain, so does the war. As long as the aggressor can hope to destroy the very foundation of life, there will be no lasting peace.

That is why the reconstruction of Ukraine will be the greatest possible contribution to maintaining global peace. We can prove that the democratic world is stronger, Europe is more powerful, that our values cannot be destroyed. And we will definitely do it.

Thank you very much for your attention!

I invite you all to our beautiful country, the best in the world, to Ukraine, to work with us.

Glory to Ukraine!