Ukrainians are fighting for their future, their freedom, their land and the opportunity to build a new Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this speaking to the student community of key Canadian universities, Ukrinform reports.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
“We are ready to amaze the world!” I said these words in Toronto, at the Ukraine Reform Conference, three years ago. Who could have imagined that three years later, “large-scale reform” would require the subtext and meaning of these words.
Three years ago, setting out my vision of changes in Ukraine, I gave the example of a team that you all know very well. This is the Toronto Raptors. 2019 NBA Champions. Win when no one is waiting. Together, do the impossible. This is how I described our goal of the state and the common task of all Ukrainians. Who could have imagined that three years later it would sound very different.
Who would have imagined how big the difference between these times, between then and now, between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2022 would be.
Those were different times. We aspired to other victories. We were building a slightly different country. A country of transparent institutions, equal and fair rules, successful and free people. Today the walls of our houses are transparent in the literal sense – destroyed by Russian missiles and bombs. The rules of the game apply to everyone, but in a different way. These are the rules of survival. They are equal but not fair. Tough, brutal and simple – shoot at the front, help in the rear. You hear the air raid signal – go down to the shelter. You hear the sound of enemy military equipment – rise to defend your country.
In 2019, I spoke about peace in eastern Ukraine (many spoke with Christia (Freeland. – Ed.) and Justin Trudeau) – about the liberation of Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea. We have done everything possible for this on all available platforms with the help of all available diplomatic tools.
Ukraine sincerely wanted and aspired to this. But the other side wanted and strove for something else. We saw this “other” on the morning of February 24th. As a result, the words “peace”, “liberation”, “Donetsk” and “Luhansk” were added in 2022 by “Mariupol”, “Kramatorsk”, “Severodonetsk”, “Berdyansk”, “Melitopol”. And dozens of other cities and villages in Ukraine. We held the Crimean platform. Today we are counteracting the aggression of the Russian Federation so that in the future there will be no need to hold the Kherson platform, the Mariupol platform, the Kharkov platform and dozens of other platforms for the de-occupation of the sovereign territories of Ukraine.
Three years ago, my goal was a massive infrastructure reform. Ukraine started “Great Construction”. And it was amazing. Three years later, the Russian Federation launched a military special operation. We have renovated and created new roads, bridges, kindergartens, schools, hospitals, stadiums. russia has been building missiles and bombs all this time to destroy and destroy them.
Three years ago in Toronto, I also spoke about the restoration of Donbass. To do this, we gathered hundreds of investors and companies from all over the world in Donbass and held a corresponding forum in Mariupol. Three years later, this city does not actually exist. He has been wiped off the face of the earth. In 2019, we talked about the recovery in eastern Ukraine. According to preliminary calculations, this required about 10 billion dollars. Then this figure seemed shocking. Three years later, it has grown exponentially, and now hundreds of billions of dollars are needed to restore it. Now, apart from the east, we are talking about the south, north, center and west of our country.
Ukraine and Canada are separated by an ocean and 7,000 kilometers, but there is a complete understanding between us. Ukraine and Russia share a common border, but there is a huge gap between us. In words, deeds, and most importantly – in values.
In 2019, I spoke about my dream country. About a state where the highest value is a person. In 2022, we are fighting against the aggressor, where the highest value is weapons.
My goal was a large-scale digitalization of Ukraine. And we have become a country in a smartphone. The goal of the Russian Federation is a large-scale occupation of Ukraine. And we became a country in berets. A country in tanks, planes and ships. A country in the trenches and bomb shelters. Our way of life has changed, but not our worldview.
The way we go to the goal has changed, but the goal has not changed.
Teachers from our universities sometimes give lectures to students from the trench, online on Skype. Our teachers record video lessons and assignments for schoolchildren in the subway during an air raid. Our military, without leaving positions on the front line, can marry in Zoom.
Three years ago, our goal was real decentralization. Three years later, the goal of the Russian Federation became an incomprehensible “denazification”. Three years ago we talked about powerful local government. Three years later, we are talking about powerful territorial defense.
It was a different time, but our goals have not changed. The only amendment is that in order to put all this into practice, today we are fighting against the second army of the world. We are fighting for our future, our freedom and our land. Just like 80 years ago, during World War II.
Today in Ukraine is a special day. The day when we remember the feat of our ancestors, thank them for their life and the opportunity to build a new Ukraine. The Day of Sorrow and Remembrance of the Victims of the War, which we celebrate on June 22. It was on this day in 1941 that the Nazis bombed Kyiv. At 4 o’clock in the morning.
These were other times, another occupation, another war, but our spirit, the thirst for freedom, struggle and our goal did not change. And on February 24, 2022, when Russian missiles flew to Kyiv and all of Ukraine at 4 in the morning, we stood up to defend our country. Today we are fighting for the future of our children and grandchildren, for their lives and the opportunity to build a new Ukraine.
We have already surprised the world.
We are united to do the impossible.
We will definitely win, although no one expected.
For the sake of their own peaceful, free and democratic future.
And it will be different times.
What exactly and how exactly we will walk the path to them together – I think we will talk here today.
Thank you very much for the opportunity. Thanks for the meeting. Thanks for your support Canada.
Glory to Ukraine!