The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, on 16 April 2022.
Dear free people of the most beautiful country!
A country that has a future. That’s true. This is what motivates us to fight now. On the battlefield and around the clock on the diplomatic, information and economic fronts. This is what allows us to plan our lives after the war. Our Ukrainian free, sovereign and democratic future. Definitely – peaceful. Definitely – with development.
Today I held a meeting dedicated to the reconstruction of our cities. Of course, this is a huge amount of work. But still less than defending the state in war. Than that we all – all Ukrainians, our army and all our people – are already really doing. So don’t be afraid of the scale.
What is important in our project of reconstruction of Ukraine? The task is not only to physically rebuild the houses, apartments, bridges and roads, businesses and social infrastructure that were destroyed by Russian troops. Not just to give people back everything they lost and give them a new foundation in life.
Now it is a historic moment. The moment when we can solve many old problems of the whole environment of our life once and for all. When we can make quality urban planning where it did not exist. We can take into account real traffic flows. Guarantee energy saving, environmental friendliness of materials, inclusiveness. This is when it comes to the organization of living space and the quality of reconstruction.
But there is also justice. Housing queues have existed for decades and never ended. This has been the case since Soviet times. Millions of people know how difficult it is to get a home, earn money for their own apartment, build a house. It has always been especially painful for the military, law enforcement, and public sector workers. For those who work for society and receive very little from the state for it.
Last year, I set a task for the government – to do everything possible to provide all veterans, who were waiting in line, with housing this year. Next, we planned to provide all our military with housing. And now we are actually expanding last year’s task to the whole state and refining it so that it would be a real modernization of Ukrainian cities and Ukrainian communities. And we combine this with the housing energy modernization program. As a result, there will be several stages.
Today, I set a task to provide temporary housing to all our IDPs at the first stage. Those whose house was destroyed by war. Temporary housing until we rebuild their homes. Or until people receive compensation in square meters or money.
In the second stage, we restore what the occupiers tried to destroy. All affected cities and communities.
And at the third stage, we provide housing for all those who have defended or are defending the state, who have worked or are working in the interests of society, and do not have their own housing. It can no longer be the case that a person devotes his whole life to military service, but retires without having his own apartment. It can no longer be the case that a son or daughter is defending Ukraine in the war, and a father and mother do not have their own housing and are forced to live in a rented apartment or look for other options. It can no longer be the case that a doctor or nurse, teacher or law enforcement officer spends his whole life honestly and stays in a dormitory for decades, if not for life.
The government, all central authorities together with local authorities must ensure this. And they will ensure. Everyone in Ukraine has the right to their own housing, their own home or their own apartment. The right to a safe and comfortable living space that will be designed for anyone.
All those whose homes were destroyed by the occupiers, and all those who were waiting in line for many years. All our people who deserve to live in a modern environment.
To implement this project, we are already involving leading architects, the full potential of the state and international support. The participation of companies, partner countries, international donors can be added. I have absolutely no doubt that we will be able to do this. It will be possible not only to restore that was destroyed, but also to restore justice for those whose right to housing has been violated.
We also discussed the issue of memorializing what Ukrainians experienced during this war. They discussed how to preserve parts of this experience so that it would always remind all generations of our people of the brutal and senseless invasion Ukraine has been able to fend off.
As one of the examples, a project of a memorial complex is being prepared, which will tell the story of the destroyed bridge in Kyiv region, which connected Irpin and Bucha with Kyiv. The story of people, who escaped from Russian invaders to Kyiv using this bridge and this road.
I met today with servicemen of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection. I handed over awards.
The contribution of special communications servicemen to our defense, to our path to victory and peace, cannot be overestimated. Their work should be mentioned more often, they should be thanked more loudly.
Since the first day of the war, we have had stable communication both within our country and with Ukraine’s partner states. I am sincerely grateful to everyone who provides it!
I spoke today with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson and Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson. On defense and other support for Ukraine. On toughening the sanctions policy against Russia. On the situation in various areas of hostilities in Ukraine, and especially on Mariupol. And about options to help city defenders and civilians.
The situation in Mariupol remains as severe as possible. Just inhuman. This is what the Russian Federation did. Deliberately did. And deliberately continues to destroy cities. Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there in Mariupol.
There are only two ways to influence this. Or the partners will give Ukraine all the necessary heavy weapons, planes, and, without exaggeration, immediately. So that we can reduce the pressure of the occupiers on Mariupol and unblock it. Or – a negotiating path, in which the role of partners should also be decisive.
I want to be heard right now: there has not been a single day since the blockade of Mariupol that we have not sought a solution. Military or diplomatic – anything to save people. But finding this solution is extremely difficult. So far, there is no one hundred percent valid option. This applies to both military options and the negotiation process.
Although we have heard many intentions from those who wanted to help and who really in positions of international influence, none of them have been realized yet. However, we will not abandon these efforts. And every day either I, or Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhny, or other military, or head of our negotiating team David Arakhamia – in touch with our defenders of Mariupol. Every day.
Traditionally, before the evening address, I signed a decree on awarding our defenders. 186 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 13 servicemen of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Two officers of the Security Service of Ukraine. And one fighter of the National Guard.
Eternal glory to all who defend the state!
Eternal memory to everyone who died for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!