President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech to the National Council of Slovakia.
Ukrinform provides the full text of the speech.
Dear Mr. Chairman of the National Council!
Dear Mr. Prime Minister!
Dear Slovak people!
Pozdravuji Vás s Kyjiva!
It is an honor for me to address you today. And I want to start by thanking you for all the help that Slovakia has provided to Ukraine. We greatly appreciate your defense support. And your determination in this support, which proves that you realize that freedom without power is just a delusion and nothing more.
It would be nice if some other countries in Europe and the world learned this from you.
We appreciate your solidarity with Ukraine at the level of the European Union. So it was until February 24, when Russia launched a full-scale war. So it is now.
As early as last year, we signed a Declaration with your President, Mrs. Zuzana Chaputova, recognizing the European perspective of Ukraine. The significance of this step has only become stronger today.
Russia’s war against our state is not only an attempt to seize our land, subdue our people and erase Ukrainian identity.
Russia actually went to war against the whole of united Europe, only starting with Ukraine. This war is actually being waged by Russia against each of the countries that want to live freely and choose their own future. Choose which alliances to be in, with whom to be friends and how to trade.
This war is against the very project of common unification based on common values on our continent.
What are these values? Respect for life, for human rights, for the inviolability of borders and for freedom.
The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Mr. Eduard Heger, was one of our first foreign friends who visited the suburbs of Kyiv and saw with his own eyes what the Russian invaders had done there.
Last week, Bucha and Borodianka were also visited by your colleagues, representatives of the Slovak Parliament. They also saw with their own eyes what evil Russia is carrying.
In the Kyiv region alone, thousands of crimes of Russian invaders against civilians have been recorded.
Killings, torture, kidnappings, looting and robberies have been recorded. It is recorded that the invaders tried to destroy everything that not only has a connection with the Ukrainian national idea, but simply with culture.
Why are only the shelled and destroyed schools in the territory where the invaders entered. They even destroyed schools! What does it say? The fact that we are at the epicenter of the confrontation between two ideas. The European democratic idea that the freedom and life of every person matters. And the cruel tyrannical idea that only the person who can conquer other people matters.
This is what we must stop together. All in Europe. Because if we don’t stop, the Russian troops will repeat the crimes they committed in Bucha and Borodyanka, on the soil of every country they can reach, in particular, on the territory of your state.
Therefore, the first and main tool to win this confrontation is a weapon. And I can say on behalf of all our people that Ukrainians will always remember how Slovakia provided our state at a crucial time with something that really helped us. And there is potential to continue this cooperation. In particular, on the issue of aviation – about airplanes, about helicopters.
You know, our flag, which is now very often seen by all Europeans in their cities – I am grateful to them – it reflects our fertile land – fields of yellow wheat. And also our beautiful blue sky. And there is someone to protect our land. But in the sky, we need more support. Including yours.
The second tool is sanctions against Russia. Together with the use of effective weapons by our army, the sanctions create really reliable protection for the European idea.
Because if the source of aggression is weakened, life becomes more secure for everyone in Europe.
Now the European Union is negotiating the sixth sanctions package against Russia. And this is a necessary package. Including those energy restrictions that are provided for it. I understand that this is difficult for you and some other countries. That for Slovakia the issue of Russian oil and the possibility of its replacement is not a matter of immediate action. We all understand.
But I want you, as our friends, to give one Ukrainian example. So that you can understand us better.
For a very long time, Russian politicians fought for the supply of Russian gas to Ukraine.
They offered various allegedly profitable options – absolutely non-market, cheap and convenient, primarily for Moscow. They offered to get a political decision from us on a larger volume of supplies and an easier payment scheme for Russian gas.
Until recently, Ukraine was one of the largest sales areas for Gazprom. What did it lead to?
Ukraine depended not just on Russian gas, but also on Russian political decisions. And any attempts to switch to at least market conditions in supply ended in gas wars, and in the end – in a enslaving gas agreement, which posed a direct threat to our sovereignty.
Also, for a very long time, Ukrainian politicians played with the issue of deploying the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the territory of Ukraine – in our Crimea.
In particular, they talked about the terms of the so-called lease for the fleet, tying the gas issue to this. As if some kind of benefit to the state is possible from a fictitious discount on Russian gas, when the Russian fleet remains on Ukrainian territory.
When this fleet is just a cover to seize territory. A screen for Russia’s passportization of our people – our people in Crimea. For propaganda and creeping annexation. Which could only be completed by the invasion, which happened in 2014.
That’s what happened in our history. And that’s what I advise all our friends to avoid, who may at least a percentage of be in the same political dependence on Russia.
We were the first to see how Russia breaks agreements when they simply stop liking them. We saw how Russia turns commercial ties into a chain in order to keep the state by its side.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet was used in the capture of Crimea. And now he is blocking the sea for us and hitting peaceful cities with missiles.
Well, Russia is trying to use gas now to subdue the entire European continent.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Dear Slovak people!
Ukraine has passed the path of mistakes that our friends can learn from. Russian energy resources are not just a commodity. They should be abandoned, primarily oil. Because it’s really a matter of freedom. Yes, defending freedom has a price.
And the third aspect that I would like to talk about today. This is the future of the European Union. Russia’s attempts to blackmail, split and weaken the Europeans clearly indicate that all of us on the continent must respond to this with even greater unity. Even more integration. More joint protection of our values. This is an important element of precisely that force that makes freedom not just a mirage.
But even greater unification in Europe is possible only in one case – if Ukraine right now, in the conditions of war, gets a real opportunity to move rapidly towards the European Union.
The issue of granting Ukraine the status of a candidate member of the European Union as early as June this year is a matter of protecting the entire European project.
As well as the question of economic support for Ukraine. It is impossible to fight without the economy. And Russia is doing everything to destroy our economy. As an example, most of the Russian missiles that hit Ukrainian soil hit exactly the economic infrastructure.
Therefore, the priority is to establish alternative routes for our exports. Including through the territory of Slovakia. And great financial support for Ukraine from the European Union.
And I ask you to be our voice in the European Union when it is necessary to defend the respective positions against the destructive doubts of those who value freedom less than you.
After two months of full-scale war, the Ukrainians, together with all our friends on the European continent who showed solidarity in defense of freedom, proved that Moscow will never again be able to repeat 1968 and all other attempts to spread tyranny.
By the way, this is how I interpret the decision to award me your Alexander Dubcek State Prize. Grateful for her.
But in order to really fully respond to the mockery of freedom then, in 1968, and to the attempts to mock freedom now, we must still fight.
We must increase our unity and pressure on Russia until we see that victory has been achieved.
I know that a donor conference will be held in Bratislava in June to mobilize assistance to Ukraine.
I am grateful to everyone who participates in its organization, in particular, to the analytical center GLOBSEC. And I believe that we will be able to discuss specific projects to restore normal life in different regions of Ukraine at this Bratislava site.
Because the more actively we cooperate, the more we put pressure on Russia. And the more we strengthen pan-European unity, the clearer the contours of our victory become.
Glory to Ukraine!