Volodymyr Zelenskyy – 2022 Statement on the Situation in Ukraine (12/03/2022)

The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, on 12 March 2022.

Greetings to all friends of Ukraine!

Greetings to all friends of Europe, all friends of freedom!

I know that there are over a hundred thousand of you all over the world today. More than a hundred thousand in the squares of different cities. We, Ukrainians, are grateful for this. And now I ask each of you to remember one number in each square… 79.

You will understand what this means. I will tell you now what it means for our lives, for each of us. I will tell all one hundred thousand and millions who will hear us afterwards.

We are experiencing a terrible war in Ukraine. Europe has not seen such a war since World War II. We did not start this war. This is a brutal and cynical Russian invasion of Ukrainian land. This is a war against the Ukrainian people – against peaceful and sincere people, whom I am sure you have known very well during the years of our independence.

And you saw that we are very similar to you. We equally value freedom. We equally value equality. We equally want to live. We just want to live.

We equally want only the best, the brightest for our children, for our families. But now we and you live differently.

Now when the war is going on and thousands of people have died in it! And 79 children have died in it. 79 children!

I’m sure each of you has photos of your loved ones. At home or just on the phone so you can watch when your heart asks for that. Photos of children, photos of parents. Photos of your loved ones.

We don’t even realize it, but we always know that these photos are not the last.

Because we believe that we will see how those who are dearest to us will live. We’ll see how happy our loved ones are. How our children grow up, how they go to university, how they work. How they have their children. And then we will play with our grandchildren. Meet them after school, have dinner together.

Everyone in the millions lives with that hope. Hope for a truly peaceful life.

For new photos, new memories, new moments of happiness, which our state, Ukraine, is deprived of now.

While the war continues, we are in fundamentally different conditions with you. When you can be sure that you and your loved ones have a long future ahead, a normal future. And we want that. And we are happy for you.

And for us, what we have may be the last time. Just one last time. Today and never again. As for 79 Ukrainian children. 79 Ukrainian families. Destroyed by this shameful war – the invasion of Russia. 79 families who have lost the most valuable, but who are still forced to fight. They are forced to pull themselves up and survive. And fight. Fight for a future that is over for them. In those photos of 79 children killed in the war.

And what should we do… All of us – the Ukrainian people, Europeans – so that this number 79 does not change, does not grow. And so that Europe does not forget Ukraine-79.

Russian troops besiege Ukrainian cities. They are trying to destroy them. Imagine! Entire cities! In 2022! In Europe.

Our Mariupol, the largest Ukrainian city on the coast of the Sea of Azov, is under complete blockade. It is bombed around the clock. Russian troops drop air bombs on it and fire missiles. They even bombed a maternity hospital and a children’s hospital in Mariupol…

This is hatred of all mankind. They kill children and destroy maternity hospitals and children’s hospitals. Why? So that Ukrainian women don’t even give birth?

And this is all over our country, all over Ukraine, which is suffering from the Russian invasion.

They have already destroyed dozens of hospitals, hundreds of schools and kindergartens. They are destroying universities. Completely destroying residential areas with carpet bombing. Imagine what it is! And how to survive in this? What does it mean for Ukrainians, for our families, for our children? What does it mean when you can’t find peace even in church. Because aviation bombs even churches!

Even squares… The same squares as yours… Where you are listening to me now. They bombed the square in our city of Kharkiv – Freedom Square. This is the largest square in Europe, which is no different from your squares. Except that it is destroyed. Destroyed by a Russian missile strike.

I am constantly asked in interviews: how can Europe help Ukraine?

I formulate the question differently, namely: how can Europe help itself?

Because this is a war not only against our people, not only against Ukrainians. This is a war against the values that unite us. Against our ability to live. Live, not kill like the Russian military on our land.

Do you feel why we are different from them? We live. And they kill. We are 79 lives. And they are 79 deaths.

I am sure that you want to stop the war just like every Ukrainian.

That is why my answer about the help that is needed for Ukraine sounds logical, natural to millions of people in democracies. You need to put pressure.

Such sanctions against Russia are needed so that every Russian soldier knows the price of every shot at civilians. We need such principles of European business that the Russian state does not have the money to ruin lives.

Put pressure on the companies in your countries to leave Russia, so that you are not indirect sponsors of this war and tragedy.

Tell your politicians to close the sky over Ukraine from Russian missiles and planes. From those who killed 79 children and thousands of adults! Thousands in 17 days…

All this will protect us. We are just like you. Absolutely the same! You know that. You feel it. You see me and you understand all this.

And you know that we must be together in the European community. This is extremely important for Ukraine. And this is very important for you, for Europe. Because this will strengthen Europe. This will protect Europe. This will stop the war forever. This will prove that the 79 lives taken in the war for freedom have not been lost in vain. That they are alive. That they live among us. And they are among other children of Ukraine and Europe, who will be able to be free, will be able to dream, will be able to just live as they want. In peace. And not to be afraid that they may be killed. And not to look for the nearest air bomb shelter. Just as you are not looking for it – each of the hundred thousand in the squares of European cities that are listening to me now. And just as millions who, I’m sure, will hear me.

Hear about Ukraine-79. About Ukraine-2022. About Ukraine, which seeks peace. And about Europe, for which it is time to choose.

Choose Ukraine.

For the sake of peace!

For the sake of all of us.

Glory to Ukraine!