Volodymyr Zelenskyy – 2022 Statement at Verkhovna Rada

The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, on 28 July 2022.

Dear Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,

Dear friend Gitanas,

Dear Mrs. President Roberta Metsola,

Dear deputies, dear government officials,

Dear military,

And all our citizens of Ukraine!

We are citizens of the strongest state in the world. The state that is at war. The state, which at the same time is being reformed. And the state that ensured the most powerful unification of democracies in history.

The state, which on the 155th day of Russia’s full-scale war against us, has the strength to celebrate its day – the Day of Ukrainian Statehood.

We ensured that the values of the free world did not remain mere rhetoric and actually started working to protect civilization. We made the European Union the most united in all the years of its existence, and it is getting stronger thanks to our strength. We ensured that all the tyrants of this world saw the potential of democracy.

This was done by us, the citizens of Ukraine. All of us – military and civilians, diplomats and volunteers, civil servants and businesses, politicians, social leaders and media… Each and every one who worked conscientiously at his and her level for the sake of one thing – for the sake of Ukraine, one’s family and our future.

We, the citizens of a state, which has over a thousand years of history, did it. Over a thousand years of its culture. Over a thousand years of its character – Ukrainian character, unbreakable one. Which endured on our land under the hits of many invaders…

Where have you come, the Russian army blinded by your pathetic ambitions? You’ve come up against us – those who were prepared for this crucial war for independence by dozens and dozens of generations of the Ukrainian people who lived and live here, who fought and fight here, who built and build here and who dreamed and dreams above everything else that there is no someone else’s rule over them and Ukraine. It’s time for this dream to become a reality forever.

This is our time! We will make this dream come true.

We will become not a new legend of heroic resistance, but a state of winners. Not 300 Spartans, worthy of films, books and plays, but the multimillion-strong nation-hero which is worthy of living, worthy of winning and which will teach others in the world how to defend themselves and how to win. We will be remembered not as those who tried, but as those who preserved, strengthened and passed our state to our children so that they could pass it on to their children. A free, strong, modern and efficient state.

We will do it – we, citizens of Ukraine.

Friend Gitanas Nausėda, dear Mr. President! I want to thank you and – in your person – the entire Lithuanian people today, on the Day of our Statehood, for the significant, important, heroic support that Ukraine received. Thank you!

It was not politics for our states – it reflects the equally strong love for freedom of our nations. Nations who walked and keep walking together through European history. Thank you again!

Mrs. Roberta, Mrs. President of the European Parliament! I would like to note your bravery. You visited Kyiv at a time when the invaders’ army was threatening our capital, and you were the first among the heads of EU institutions to do so. At that time we saw our character in your bravery, we saw our person – a person who will always defend the values of Europe and will not betray freedom. I am thankful to you!

I am thankful to all friends and partners of Ukraine – both from large states and from geographically smaller ones yet whose will is not inferior to the will of the largest. I am grateful to everyone who helps Ukrainians destroy evil!

Due to the cruelty of history – after several unfortunate historic turns – our state was not mentioned for some time. Then they’ve been saying that Ukraine is somewhere next to Russia, or is even allegedly a part of it. We know that now they definitely know – Ukraine is the only state in the world that has the bravery to beat Russia. Beat on our land notwithstanding any of its threats.

It is important that we make others fall in love with our Ukrainian indomitability. It is important that we are all a state that functions for the sake of Ukrainian interests and is reckoned with by everyone in the world. It is important that we are a democratic state that is strengthening its institutions even now, especially now – during such a devastating war.

We applied to join the European Union and were granted candidacy with speed and under conditions unprecedented for any other state. This is our development. These are our friends, their help. These are our interests. This is Ukrainian speed – what we became capable of when we freed ourselves from illusions and achieved the greatest national unity in history. Glory to Ukraine!

It is with the same speed that we should come to the beginning of negotiations regarding Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. We will do everything we have to for this. We will synchronize the legislation of Ukraine with the law of the European Union.

A plan for the implementation of all EU regulations and directives as part of the fulfillment of the Association Agreement with the European Union has also been formed. This is actually a joint task for us, for you, dear deputies, and for the Government of our country.

And this corresponds to our new reality. The fact that we have transferred the process of European integration from the sphere of foreign policy to the sphere of domestic policy. This is where real work, real European integration, starts.

Ukraine has always been Europe. Our values have always been European. Our state-building experience of different times is a European experience. And now we have come to the point where our state system is institutionally becoming Europe.

We have started the process of de-oligarchization – a registry is being formed that is ready to put the oligarchs under the power of society.

I have signed a decree on the creation of a competition commission for the selection of candidates for the High Council of Justice, and thanks to this and other steps, we will do everything to ensure that the fundamental judicial reform provides every Ukrainian with access to honest and competent justice.

Today, the new Prosecutor General finalized the appointment of the new head of the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office with his first decision.

And it is an honor for me to announce another very important step now. The European Union has the College of Europe in Bruges and Natolin, which are some of the most prestigious institutions of postgraduate education that prepare professionals to work in institutions of the EU and member states. We are establishing our College of Europe in Ukraine.

A corresponding memorandum has already been signed between the Government of Ukraine and the College of Europe in Natolin. At the first stage, a faculty of European integration will be established in one of the Ukrainian higher education institutions, and later, on its basis, the College of Europe in the framework of the Presidential University will be established.

And although I have been told that this will not be resolved in months, as I have been told many times on other issues, I know that the creation of our College of Europe will not take long. I’m sure it will start working shortly. We already have this experience – to turn into months what was supposed to take years and decades, and into weeks – what was supposed to take months.

Such a College will become not only a professional basis for the European policy of Ukraine as a member of the EU, but also our contribution to the development of European institutions. This is what we, the citizens of Ukraine, are capable of. This is our statehood.

We showed strength in battles and united the world with the best emotions that people have. We fight against the terror of the occupiers, we defend humanity for all nations. We guarantee that the borders of Europe will never again move further west than our eastern state border. And we make our state and public institutions advanced.

And when today, on this Day of Ukrainian Statehood, here, in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, before the eyes of the entire Ukrainian people, I will honor strong people for strong deeds with the Cross of Combat Merit, I want all Ukrainians to feel: we are behind those who defend our country on the battlefield, and behind our backs – the backs of millions of Ukrainians living now – there are those who have been creating Ukrainian history, Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian character for centuries.

We must be worthy of the height of our people, all its generations, and the thousand-year weight of our statehood.

I congratulate you all on the holiday!

I am thankful to our heroes!

Glory to Ukraine!