President of Ukraine

Currently, the geopolitical configuration in the world is changing, but the completion of the unification of Europe is impossible without Ukraine - speech by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the annual YES meeting

10 September 2022 - 22:32

Currently, the geopolitical configuration in the world is changing, but the completion of the unification of Europe is impossible without Ukraine - speech by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the annual YES meeting

Dear attendees!

Mr. President Levits!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister of our friends - the Republic of Poland, Mr. Morawiecki!

Dear participants and guests of the forum!

Dear journalists!

I am glad to see you all here at the annual meeting of the Yalta European Strategy. This year, we are meeting at the forum in Kyiv again, but still we are the closest to our Yalta in all eight years of the Kyiv YES period and the most united for the sake of Ukrainian interests in all the years of independence of our mighty state.

I think you all have this feeling - even confidence. I think you have a feeling that we are coming back and getting stronger. And I’m asking now all of you who are in this hall to express gratitude with applause to our warriors who are bringing our victory and our return home closer.

The path to the return of our entire territory is all there, every day it becomes clearer. We see the contours of restoring the territorial integrity of our state. We know that this is a difficult path, but we know that this difficult path is real and we are doing it.

But this is the path. The path, on which there are certain difficult stages, and none of them can be bypassed unfortunately. This is a path that requires bravery – all the time. A path that requires endurance all the time as well. A path on which we cannot allow the weakening of our unity, both within the state and the unity of our global anti-war coalition.

This is the path from the Kharkiv region, where people who have been under occupation for months are now greeting the Ukrainian soldiers with tears of happiness... The path to those cities and villages of ours that are still waiting strenuously, and also many with tears, because they are living people, for the return of the Ukrainian flag, and therefore, the return of freedom, security, a chance for the future. We cannot afford to stop. This is my main message to anyone out there who is thinking about something. Even to some of the leaders that are pushing us somewhere, into someone's inappropriate embrace. No, we cannot afford to stop.

The path from this time, when the whole state is fully focused and united for the sake of victory, to that special moment when we will finally be able to feel that the victory has taken place.

I know the key question on everyone's mind right now is when? When will we pass this path? When will the victory come? The answer to this question can be given by the stage that is right ahead of us. I speak frankly: it will be a difficult stage. We have to endure this winter. I don't want to talk in ephemeral numbers, just some words, I'm talking about specifics.

This will be the most difficult winter in the whole world. These will be 90 days that will be a test for our faith in victory. A test for our endurance and unity, for our ability to protect ourselves, the whole world, freedom and fundamental values for any person in the world.

Russia is doing everything to break the resistance of Ukraine, the resistance of Europe and the world in 90 days of this winter. Because this is what Russia hopes for. This is its last argument. The last one, I am sure of it: the cruelty of the winter period, which is supposed to help when the cruelty of man is not enough. And we must be ready - not to break down, not to split, not to deviate from our path.

There are 90 days ahead, which will be more crucial than 30 years of Ukraine's independence. 90 days that will be more crucial than all the years of the existence of the European Union. Winter will determine our future and the risks.

We have no doubt in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in our intelligence, in our special services and in all our people - great people of Ukraine in the occupied territory, who are helping Ukrainian warriors liberate our land. But for this to happen, we need specifics - weapons, ammunition, financial and political support, stronger than ever diplomacy, determination at different levels of the world. Therefore, we need the preservation of the unity of our partners and their willingness to help. To help without waiting for us to say that that’s enough. We are grateful for everything you have done, but there will not be enough for victory until there is victory.

We have no doubt that we can get through the winter without Russian energy resources. Not only Ukraine, but all reputable European states. But for this to happen, you need to be ready to prevent any Russian sabotage - armed or political, and it is very important to prevent disinformation steps by Russia. And therefore, we need even more coordination, firmness, and pressure on Russia.

The world must overcome the price crisis, which Russia is trying to exacerbate with various of its well-known tools - it destabilizes markets, provokes hunger, intimidates people, ordinary people, intimidates them in various countries. And it is possible to protect yourself from this price crisis only through the complete dismantling of Russian influence - influence on European societies, on world markets and on the global information space.

It is an ambitious, complex goal, it exists, it is alive, but it is necessary to complete the dismantling of Russian influence now in preparation for winter - before the crucial 90 days. During the autumn, it is necessary to strengthen sanctions on Russia, officials, banks, and companies as much as possible. You know all this. It is necessary to agree on all mechanisms for real limitation of Russian export income. It is necessary to provide all the legal and political bases for the implementation of an international compensation mechanism and the confiscation of Russian assets abroad to compensate for the losses caused by this war to the people of Ukraine. Maximum visa restrictions for the citizens of the Russian Federation are needed to encourage them to launch a visible anti-war movement. Not just populism, but a noticeable movement, noticeable courage. And also the blocking of Russian propaganda and the deportation of all propagandists from all democratic countries - so that Russia does not even have a chance to sow political and social chaos. Chaotization, splits, discord are Russia's bet, the bet in their bloody casino, the bet there and then, where and when it cannot use conventional weapons.

We must prepare our societies, they must know the truth, for the existing risks. The winter will be difficult for everyone - from Latvia and Poland to Britain and the United States. War is war. It is in the world. Winter will be hard. But we can make this winter the most difficult for Russia, for the one who is responsible for all the created problems - military, social, price problems, energy problems and many others. We can make the path to our victory clearer after these 90 days.

Although different societies will have a hard time in the winter, each society should know that after these 90 days, real security begins for decades from all those threats that are so painfully experienced now. When we endure all this, our neighbor will never be able to do anything to all of us. Russia has already embarked on the path of its historic defeat - and the clarity of this path, the contours of its defeat will become obvious after these 90 days. If we are all honest and persevere. All who value peace more than war. Ukrainians, Europeans, the whole world.

We see how the countries of our continent are now preparing for the winter. These restrictions are complex - restrictions on energy consumption, restrictions on temperatures in homes for the heating season. The EU already did a lot to protect itself when Russia triggered this energy price shock, and today only 9 percent of gas is supplied to EU countries from Russia. And be sure that Russia will make zero gas supplies, and our energy systems must be fully prepared for this.

Every day we try to do everything necessary to protect our sky. This is even more important in the winter, when Russian missiles can and will target enterprises and infrastructure that provide people with heat and electricity. Now is the time for partners to fulfill their promises to help Ukraine with air defense systems.

Now is the time to end the Russia-created crisis at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The threat of a radiation disaster is definitely not what the European Union, Turkey and other states - those in the directions of the wind that can spread radiation pollution - should enter the winter with. But something else is also important - the stable operation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the framework of the Ukrainian energy system can become one of the key, important elements of guaranteeing stable energy consumption by Europe during these 90 days.

We already export electricity to our neighbors, which helps replace dirty Russian energy resources, and we can easily increase exports to at least two and a half gigawatts, and eventually even more. Today we talked about it with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland - they want it, we want it. So we will do it. But for this, it is necessary to ensure that the Russian troops withdraw from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. This is a fundamental European interest now, at this time before winter.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

When I said that we cannot afford to stop, I did not mean only our heroic warriors who are liberating the Ukrainian land.

Now there is a change in the geopolitical configuration in the world as a whole, in Europe. And economic unification in Europe has been achieved. I believe that political unification in Europe has been achieved. This is all obvious at the level of institutions, relations, and everyday life. But now a real value-based unification of the entire continent is being achieved - and, by the way, thanks to Ukraine as well. The last barriers that existed between European countries are disappearing - and this is thanks to the fact that Europe really protects freedom. Europe is gaining real independence.

Russia creates the illusion that Europeans must make a choice - such a difficult choice between prices and values, between freedom and security, between independence and peace. But there is no such choice. It is an impossible choice. When values are weak, prices are sky high. When freedom suffers, there is no security. When independence is lost, peace is impossible. Therefore, we must not deviate from our path, we have no right to get tired, God forbid, of Ukraine and stop. All of us - all Ukrainians and all of us Europeans.

We must fight. Endure the winter. Help those who are weaker. Protect those who need protection more. Limit ourselves in what can be limited. And limit Russia in everything that should limit it. Give warmth to those whom Russia wants to leave without warmth. And give food to those who are forced by Russia to starve. Continue to fulfill the three fundamental conditions for achieving peace - weapons, ammunition, finances. Support for Ukraine in the war must be maintained.

And one more important element. Completing the unification of Europe is impossible without Ukraine. Therefore, this winter we must do absolutely everything to say in the spring: we are fully ready to start negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the European Union. It will be a historic moment, a historic time - when it will be an honor for Europe to welcome our state. The state that wins.

Believe in victory!

Defend Ukraine!

Help our heroes!

And we will definitely endure the winter!

Glory to Ukraine!