Volodymyr Zelenskyy – 2022 Statement on the Situation in Ukraine (01/03/2022)

The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, on 1 March 2022.

Kharkiv. A cruise missile strike. At the largest square of Europe. Freedom Square. Dozens of victims. This is what the price of freedom is. This is what the morning of the people of Ukraine is.

Ukrainian Kharkiv and Russian Belgorod have always been close cities. In many ways. Even the border between them was only conditional, only on maps, but not in the soul. Not in the soul. Now everything has changed. After the cruise missile that struck Kharkiv from Belgorod. The missile that hit Freedom Square. The face of our Kharkiv. This is terror against the city. There was no military target on the square. Just as in those residential areas of Kharkiv hit by rocket artillery. The rocket aimed at the central square is an outright, undisguised terror. No one will forgive. No one will forget.

This attack on Kharkiv is a war crime. This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation. After that, Russia is a terrorist state. Obviously. And it must be official. We call on all countries of the world to respond immediately and effectively to this criminal tactic of the aggressor and to declare that Russia is committing state terrorism. We demand full responsibility for terrorists in international courts.

Kharkiv and Kyiv are currently the most important targets for Russia. Terror is meant to break us. To break our resistance. They are heading to our capital, as well as to Kharkiv. Therefore, the defense of the capital today is the key priority for the state. All cities of Ukraine must do everything to stop the enemy. The military and civilian authorities of each city are responsible for this. But Kyiv is special. If we protect Kyiv, we will protect the state. This is the heart of our country. And it must keep beating. And it will keep beating. So that life triumphs.

Dear Kyiv residents! Defense of the capital is above all. That’s why I decided to appoint a professional military person as the Head of the Kyiv City Military Administration for the period of war. To guarantee the defense of the city. To block the enemy’s approaches to our capital. To ensure that the people of Kyiv have everything they need. The Head of the Military Administration will be General Mykola Mykolayovych Zhyrnov, who served as commander of the support forces. At a high level he organized the engineering support of combat operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2014-2015. He is currently a state expert of the Military Security Service at the National Security and Defense Council. Vitali Klitschko remains mayor of Kyiv. He will have his own sphere of responsibility. And now it is a joint work of the mayor and the Head of the Military Administration. After the war, we will return everything to its place in the capital.

Regarding our diplomats. Right now, our diplomats are implementing fair and absolutely necessary decisions in relation to those states that have betrayed their word and international law. We immediately recall the Ambassador from Kyrgyzstan for consultations. For justifying aggression against Ukraine. We immediately recall the Ambassador from Georgia. For the obstacles to volunteers who want to help us. For an immoral attitude towards sanctions.

And now I want to speak about those whose feat is an example of the highest moral strength. These are our doctors. You save people around the clock. Always. And now your work is one of the key lines of our defense. You keep it brilliant. Thousands of lives have been saved in 5 days. I am also grateful to everyone who provides our people with everything they need for life in these extremely difficult conditions. Food, energy, medicine. And I thank the ordinary people of Ukraine, who stop tanks with their bare hands, expel the invaders from administrative buildings by force of spirit and make their stay in Ukraine shameful. To prove that they are all strangers here. This is what the people’s war is. This is what the people of Ukraine is.

Glory to Ukraine!