On May 8, Ukraine and the free world remember six terrible years in the history of mankind. From 1939 to 1945... The years that took the lives of millions of people, including 8 million Ukrainians. The years of occupation and atrocities, bloody battles and bombings, blockades and mass executions, the Holocaust. All the evil that Nazism brought to the world, brought to our land.
Different nations opposed evil in unity, as allies of the anti-Hitler coalition. The nations of Europe and America... Asia, Australia, Africa – each has its own history of fighting in that war, but the common history of victory.
It is on May 8 that most nations of the world remember the greatness of the victory over the Nazis. The world admires all those who were protecting and protected life. Who threw down the Nazi flags on the liberated territory and who opened the gates of the concentration camps. Who restored freedom to the nations, who destroyed and condemned Nazi evil. It was on May 8, 1945, that the act of unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht entered into force. It is on May 8 that the world honors the memory of all those, whose lives were taken by that war. It is pure history, without ideological admixtures.
And it is the history of our people, our allies, the entire free world. Today, we are returning it to our state.
Today, I am submitting a bill to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine proposing that May 8 be the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945.
We will never forget the contribution of the Ukrainian people to the victory over Nazism. And we will not allow anyone to erase the role of Ukrainians in this victory, our people, that generation whose memory we cherish in almost every family.
We will not allow the joint victory of the nations of the anti-Hitler coalition to be appropriated and we will not allow lies as if the victory could have taken place without the participation of any country or nation.
We destroyed evil together! In the same way as we are now opposing a similar evil together.
Remembering the heroism of millions of Ukrainians in that war against Nazism, we see the same heroism in the actions of our soldiers now – the descendants of those who secured the victory – the surrender of Nazism that day, on May 8, 1945.
And we are proud of the heroism of the Ukrainian people! Then and now.
Unfortunately, evil has returned. Like back then evil rushed to our cities and villages, so it is doing now, like back then it killed our people, so it is doing it now. Although now it is another aggressor, the goal is the same – enslavement or destruction.
And like in the Second World War, we are not alone against evil. We fight against it together in the same way – together with the entire free world. With the states and people who created a joint victory at that time. Who, remembering the terrible years of that war, do not say "We can do it again!" but defend the meaning of the words "Never again!" Who did not betray the memory of their heroes and preserve the power of our common values – human life and freedom, equality and dignity, and a world without xenophobia and anti-Semitism, without racism and intolerance, without ideologies of hatred.
We fought then and we fight now so that no one ever again enslaves other nations and destroys other countries. And all those old evils that modern Russia is bringing back will be defeated just as Nazism was defeated.
This enemy once again put aggression and annexation, occupation and deportation, mass murder, and torture, bombing cities and burning villages up against our ideals. Our victory will be the answer to all this! The victory of Ukraine and the free world. Liberation of our lands. The return of our people. Protecting our values. And inevitably – justice, inevitably – justice against the ruscists' ideology of hatred.
Now, as 80 years ago, Ukraine is fighting against total evil. Now, just like 80 years ago, Ukraine is fighting for the future – its own and that of the whole of Europe, the whole free world. Now, as 80 years ago, we rely on the common strength of free nations and know that together with them we will always be part of a free Europe that will not submit to evil. And together with all of free Europe, we will celebrate Europe Day on May 9 in Ukraine. A united Europe, the basis of which should be and will be peace. Our Europe, which Ukraine has always been, is, and will be a part of.
Today, I signed the relevant decree, and every year from tomorrow, May 9, we will commemorate our historic unity – the unity of all Europeans who destroyed Nazism and will defeat ruscism.
This will be the Day of Europe, which has supported Ukrainians for all nine years of aggression and 439 days of the full-scale invasion. This will be the Day of Europe, which helps us fight in all directions: on the battlefield with weapons and on the diplomatic front – with determination, against missile terror and the winter blackout, in the economy and on the legal front. This will be the Day of Europe – our ally. Which gives shelter to Ukrainian women and children. Which does not encroach on our sovereignty and does not call into question our right to choose our own national path. Which never calls Ukraine a "fictional" or "artificial" entity. And which gives us its weapons so that we can defend ourselves and it – our Europe!
Many years ago, the tradition of celebrating Europe Day was established on our continent to mark peace and unity achieved. Today, unity on our continent brings us closer to celebrating the first day of our peace.
An honest memory of the past always strengthens faith in the future. Today, paying tribute to the most important victory of the 20th century, we are all waiting and approaching a new great day – a new victory. Our victory. Victory Day of Ukraine. Of course, joint. Which we will gain together with everyone who is helping us now.
We will remember every state and every nation that joined us in the struggle for freedom. We will never say that the victory could have happened without any of them. It will be a joint success, but I am sure that the world will call this day the same – Victory Day of Ukraine. The day when we expel the last occupier from our land. The day when we liberate all our cities and villages. The day when the curfew throughout Ukraine is replaced by the first minute of peace. When we can forget about the "Air Alarm" application. When the soldiers return to their families, the emigrants return to their homes. When we can safely travel through our country and discover its beauty again and again. When we meet guests of Ukraine, friends of Ukraine at our airports in Boryspil, Simferopol, and our other cities. In the free cities of free Ukraine!
We will not lose what we have gained, we will return everything captured by the enemy, we will rebuild what was destroyed and together we will protect it all.
We do not yet know the date of our victory but we know that it will be a holiday for all of Ukraine, for all of Europe, for the entire free world. There will be a holiday for all our heroes – our defenders, all our people who fight and work for our victory, all our allies and partners who strive for our victory as much as we do.
And our victory will have a symbol – a blue-yellow ribbon, our Ukrainian flag. Wherever it should rightfully be. Wherever our national colors will be also a symbol of respect for our people.
It should be like this and will be.
We remember the past, fight today, and do not stop, gaining victory.
Eternal memory to all those who died in the Second World War! Glory to each and every one who fought against Nazism and won!
Glory to all who fight for Ukraine! Glory to all our heroes of different times, to whom we equally owe our lives!
Glory to Ukraine!