President of Ukraine

Speech by Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak at the opening of the Russian War Crimes in the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos

23 May 2022 - 15:12

Speech by Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak at the opening of the Russian War Crimes in the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Dear guests.

Thanks for having me here. I think today's event is very important. The world should know the truth.

Home. Home is comfort. A place where you are well and safe. Home is a worldview. A place where your wishes come true. Home is the future. A place where your children grow. Home is the universe. The place where the journey begins.

At our home, in my country, in Ukraine, there is a war. Hordes of butchers, rapists and murderers in Russian uniforms brought it. They look like human beings. But what they do on our land deprives them of the right to be called human.

Their home is really the residence of evil. This should be said directly and clearly. Because that's the way the truth is told. From now on, war crime is Russia's second name. And amending the name of once the Russian House in Davos is not just symbolic. It's honest. It's fair. For it's exposing both Russia's worldview and Russia's universe.

Anybody can see it's truth by themselves. Anyone can learn the names of those whom the so-called Russian liberators liberated from everything. From peace. From freedom. From life itself. Very often for fun and pleasure. 

Still, I'm going to tell you a couple of life stories, real stories of our people. These are stories of Ukrainian children. Victims of war. Victims of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

On April 9, Russian troops shelled Vuhledar. It's a city in Ukraine. Ten-year-old Veronica's hometown. They had shelled it on the eighth. And on the seventh. And the day before. All the time, the girl and her family were hiding in the basement. The tank shell flew right into the ventilation window. In a moment, Veronica lost her father, her grandmother, her uncle, and his wife. The girl has been in a coma for several days. Doctors say, she's got severe spinal cord and brain injuries. Veronica can walk already. She is working hard to exercise her paralyzed right arm.

And here is the story of ten-year-old Illya. His native city of Mariupol, the name of this city is now famous in the whole world, became a war zone from the very beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion. He and his mother Natalia stayed in the city. At first, they had been hiding in their house basement. And then they lived there. One day they came under enemy fire. They ran to their neighbors for shelter. But luck betrayed them. The woman was wounded in the head. And the boy's foot was crushed. Somehow, Natalia brought her son to safety.

Wounded and exhausted, they lay on the couch. Natalia was hugging Illya while her heart was beating. She was gone that night. The next day, the Russian military forcibly took the boy to occupied Novoazovsk. Then he was brought to Donetsk. Local doctors thought of amputating Illya's foot. But he was lucky this time.

Meanwhile, Illya's grandmother in Ukraine was looking for a way to get her grandson back. She quickly obtained custody. Then, she crossed the borders of the four countries to take him home. But first, the boy had to get a long-term inpatient treatment.

One day Ukrainian doctors said Illya's leg was fully functional and he would be able to walk. He considers the day his second birthday. Ilyusha can already move his toes. He is very determined to recover. He gets very joyful when guests come to him. But sadness remains in his eyes. It is impossible to imagine what this boy had to survive. His pain cannot be forgiven.

These are just two stories. As of May 21, there were 660 more stories of wounded and killed children that we knew for sure. But it is impossible to say the exact number of kids who lost their health and lives to the Russian invasion. The war is still going on in Ukraine.

None of these stories are about the collateral damage. They are all about genocide. Russian soldiers kill Ukrainians because they are Ukrainians. The Russian army is destroying Ukraine because it is Ukraine. This is the purpose and the goal of the invasion.

Russian thugs in uniform seem to use the December 1948 UN Convention definitions of genocide as a source of their inspiration. Not a punishment warning.

In addition to murders, torture, and mutilation because of belonging to a certain group, reduction and prevention of childbirth are also on the list. You might have seen footage of the maternity hospital bombed in Mariupol. But it's not the only one. Dozens of them were destroyed all over Ukraine. And there are thousands of damaged hospitals, schools and kindergartens.

Forcible transfer of children to other groups is also the sign of genocide. Well. According to Russian sources, as of May 21, the state sponsor of terrorism had deported over two hundred and thirty-two thousand children to its territory. Over 2,000 of them are either orphaned or separated from their parents. Meanwhile, the Russian parliament is preparing to simplify the Ukrainian children adoption by the Russian nationals. It's not about humanism. It's about a frenzy of hatred and destruction under the slogans of humanism.

Genocide is one of the vilest crimes known to mankind. It employs pathological sadists, gullible fools, and greatness-thirsty duffers. But the worst thing is that silent people endorse it. The people who lose their humanity because of fear of their own tyrant.

Davos is a place of strength. For half a century, a new world has been created here. If I were honored to create the Davos Forum slogan, I think, I would suggest "Respect. Synergy. Concord."

But today a new world is being born in my country, Ukraine. We are defending from the brutal and ruthless force. We are resisting an empire that sees genocide and crimes against humanity as routine, not taboo. But we are fighting not just for ourselves. The fate of Europe and the world is at stake. Evil has to be stopped for the future's sake. It always comes back if unpunished.