President of Ukraine

Speech by Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024

11 June 2024 - 12:56

Speech by Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024

Olaf, I want to thank you. Ursula, all our friends who support us. I want to thank Germany, all your people for everything you have done for Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine.

I said in Ukrainian. I'm not sure Olaf that you understood. But we spoke a lot. You know our language almost.

Dear Olaf and Ursula! Dear participants of the Conference!

We are honored to be here. Thank you for your attention to Ukraine and Ukrainians and for your support when it comes to us protecting life. The life that must prevail over the Russian war.

Dear friends!

This war has different levels of confrontation.

There is the front, which is the land, the sky and the sea; it is where our people are defending themselves against the military attacks of the Russian occupier.

There is our economic defense; it is the need to preserve all the bases of normal social life. Jobs for the people, taxes for the state and local communities, and the ability of entrepreneurs to maintain and expand their businesses.

There is also the political confrontation, in which we must all counter Russia's attempts to divide and weaken the democratic world.

And there is the battle for people's motivation – for a sense of whether normal life is holding its position.

Withstanding and winning such a confrontation is a comprehensive work. It involves efforts to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression and to ensure the resilience of our society to any blows of this war, and to preserve our common European way of life – the life of which nothing is left wherever Putin comes, wherever Putin's Russia comes. First, it comes by dividing and waging a hybrid war, as in Moldova, as in Georgia. And then by waging an all-out war – as it did against Ukraine.

So, first: the front.

For more than two years of this war, Ukrainians have proved that we are capable of pushing the occupier out of our territory and achieving the victories Ukraine needs. We can push the Russian army out of our land, we have gained the Black Sea for Ukraine and proved that thanks to modern air defense systems, we can destroy any Russian missiles and drones. What is the key here? The ability to deprive Russia of this or that advantage. At the moment, Russia's greatest strategic advantage over Ukraine is the advantage in the skies. It is a missile and bomb terror that helps Russian troops advance on the ground and enables Russian hatred to destroy the lives of Ukrainians, and life in our cities and villages. Every day there are up to a hundred guided aerial bombs alone. On Sunday there were 80 guided aerial strikes. On Monday – 95 guided aerial bombs. This is an insanely destructive pressure. In addition, there are missiles and attack drones. Until we deprive Russia of this ability to terrorize Ukraine, Putin will have no real interest in pursuing an honest peace and will remain unchanged in his illusion that Ukraine can be wiped out by smashing with bombs and missiles everything that gives life its foundation and protection.

Air defense is the answer. Thank you, Olaf, for the air defense.

Germany is already one of the global leaders in helping us with air defense. I would like to thank all your manufacturers individually for the IRIS-Ts. It was really very helpful. So, thank you for the Patriots, IRIS-Ts, and other assets that are literally a salvation for Ukraine. We have been able to provide partial protection from Russian airstrikes. We must and can do more. We need at least 7 additional Patriot systems to secure our main urban agglomerations in the near future, and this will be a driver for preserving the normal life in Ukraine that our people deserve so much. In other words, it will directly contribute to defense and ensure that the economic life of the country is not destroyed. Dear Mr. Chancellor, Olaf, I thank you once again for your support to Ukraine on the issue of air defense. Mark Rutte, Mr. Prime Minister of the Netherlands, is here in Berlin. Together with Germany, together with the Netherlands, together with the United States and our other partners, we are now working to provide Ukraine with more air defense systems. And we already see how and when we will be able to deliver the new systems to Ukraine. Once they start working to protect our people, it will be a significant restoration of confidence – confidence that peace is closer.


One of Putin's main targets in Ukraine is the energy sector. Since the first years of his rule, he has considered energy resources, energy generation and energy consumption as a weapon – a tool to influence and subjugate nations. Europe has seen this many times before. Ukraine is now suffering from the most destructive form of Russia's vision of energy as a weapon. Russian missile and drone strikes have already destroyed 9 GW of capacity. while the peak energy consumption in Ukraine last winter was 18 GW. So, half of it does not exist anymore. But the numbers themselves are meaningless. What is 9 GW? Berlin has about 2 GW of demand. Munich – up to 3. We have already lost many times more generation than the energy consumption of large cities. Eighty percent of Ukraine's thermal generation and a third of its hydroelectric generation have simply been destroyed by Putin. And this is not the limit of his terror. Unfortunately. But we have to draw a line and start restoring the energy sector.

Dear friends!

We must do everything possible and impossible to preserve the existing generation and restore our lost one to the maximum. And this task is important not only from the Ukrainian perspective. Putin is trying to refine the practice of destroying energy facilities – from conventional thermal power plants and dams to such elements of the energy system as gas storage facilities and interconnectors connecting our energy system with the European one. Therefore, everything that has now been rebuilt, repaired and protected in Ukraine will have a double effect: it will serve Ukraine and Europe, it will serve as a basis for the energy supply for the next decades, and it will also prove that Russia's arsenal will not retain such weapons as blackout.

Ukraine has all the natural resources for modern energy. But without your loans and investments, we will not be able to realize that. And we are not talking about grants, but about high-yield investments for your companies, a large market for your equipment, loan programs for your institutions. All this together with us will create a new energy base, at least tens of thousands of new jobs, and provide us and you with tangible economic growth. In the short term, we also must implement a rapid and cost-effective restoration of all the power facilities that can be restored now. By winter, it is important to do this by winter – within the next three to four months. We know how to do it. We are asking you to provide us with the equipment from your shutdown power plants and direct financial assistance. This will allow us to respond to the situation here and now – to preserve normal life. And another element is highly efficient, decentralized, mobile gas generation. It will solve the problem of energy shortage today, while tomorrow it will switch to hydrogen and balance the new green energy. It is in this area that European and especially German companies are technological leaders. It is in this area that we have a clear plan – how to build up to 1 GW of capacity this year. I reiterate that we need not only to talk about prospects, but we need to solve problems today. There is a war going on today. And another 4 GW in the next few years. It is in this area that we are signing the first contracts at our Conference. And it is for this purpose that we need your maximum leadership, first of all, for the export credit financing of projects, and we also need your expertise and real experience, confirmed in particular by the German communities. It is something that will strengthen both our countries.

The third point. Politics.

No matter how the political environment in Europe changes, the fact of our reality is that all Europeans, without exception, need the European Union. Every nation that shares the common values of the entire Europe and wants to live, just like us, to live in peace. Ukrainians belong to such a nation. So do our neighbors in Moldova, and the people of Georgia, and the Balkan states, and others who respect Europe, freedom, and the rule of law. Surely, the time will come for a free Belarus – Belarus in Europe. For now, Ukraine has already fulfilled everything required for the actual start of negotiations on our country's accession to the European Union. All the prerequisites have been met. This June should be the time to approve the negotiating framework and start the negotiations. Why is this necessary? Because it is the realization of the promises made by Europe. And this is proof that Europe cannot be broken by pressure, artificial doubts, or any kind of manipulation.

And the fourth is motivation.

In the 20th century, Europe underwent a large-scale recovery. Europe, the continent shattered by the World Wars, was reborn into a force without which global life is inconceivable today. Everything in Europe worked for this: the social strength of the countries, the manufacturing traditions and industrial culture of the Europeans, and the Germans in particular, the right path chosen, and the interaction with the global world. But all this was based on concrete decisions – concrete agreements, business ideas, and concrete projects that were put into practice. At the beginning of this year, when we discussed this Conference with Olaf, Mr. Chancellor, I asked that it be as practical and constructive as possible. I wanted us to come out of this Conference not just with rhetoric, but with agreements that will bring economic growth to our countries and new strength to our communities – in Ukraine and in Germany. I am pleased that this nature of the Conference was ensured. Now, at the level of governments, communities and businesses, hundreds of agreements are being prepared to be signed between us. We also have our friends here – from partner countries, and not just from Europe. We will come out of this Conference with agreements worth billions of euros for our defense – for the production of military equipment and weapons in Ukraine; for our energy sector – for the repair and development of new and more modern energy facilities; and for our social life – and that includes education in communities, construction of housing, supply of medical equipment. I would also like to mention support for entrepreneurship in Ukraine. This has already been said today by Mr. Chancellor. All this gives us resilience in the face of war and the feeling that life will still prevail. I am confident that Ukraine will implement its national recovery project. And this will become a project of European recovery. Can this be done without Germany? Certainly not. And this is exactly the case when the global German power will definitely be confirmed – confirmed by the power of Ukrainian life.

Thank you once again for the invitation. Thank you, Olaf, Ursula and partners. We are very grateful. I thank your people for their support, especially the people of your country who have hosted so many of our people. They are very real, and I think the most important thing that unites them is their values. They are very integral, very honest and very brave. Thank you.

Glory to Ukraine!