Volodymyr Zelenskyy – 2022 Statement on the Situation in Ukraine (18/03/2022)

The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, on 18 March 2022.

Great people of a great country!

The 22nd day of our struggle, our defense against one of the world’s largest armies is over. Which we make smaller every day. Every day. But it still has numbers, equipment and reserves.

We have information that the Russian military is recruiting mercenaries from other countries, trying to deceive as many young people as possible into military service.

We know that this will not help them.

So now I warn everyone who will try to join the occupiers on our Ukrainian land. This will be the worst decision of your life.

Long life is better than the money you are offered for a short one.

Our courageous defenders continue to hold all the key areas that the enemy is pressing. And respond to every attack. To every blow of the occupiers to our peaceful cities, to our people. New Russian conscripts have been taken prisoner.

Among them are those who refuse to return to Russia. And there are many who are not even mentioned in Russia. They don’t even try to take them back.

Their death notifications have been sent to their families although they are in captivity and alive.

All Russians who can hear me now, speak about it. Tell it in Russia.

Every mother who knows that her son was sent to war against Ukraine must check where her son is. And especially those who cannot contact their children, who have been told that their children had been killed. And who didn’t receive the bodies. There are phone numbers on the Internet that you can call and find out what is really happening to your children.

We did not plan to take thousands of prisoners. We do not need 13 or any number of thousands of dead Russian soldiers. We do not need it. We didn’t want this war. We only want peace. And we want you to love your children more than you fear your authorities.

I addressed the parliament of Germany today. One of the most influential countries in the world. In Europe. One of the natural leaders of the European continent.

I spoke not just as President, but as a Ukrainian citizen. As a European. As someone who has felt for many years that the German state seems to have fenced itself off us with a wall. Invisible yet solid wall.

We have seen Germany fight for the economy for decades. For new Russian gas pipelines and old European dreams. Dreams of some kind of cooperation that Russia has not taken seriously for a long time.

We see that the views of the Germans are changing. And this is very important. We see Germany looking for a new path. We see how sincerely the majority of Germans stand in favor of revising the old policy.

We see that Chancellor Olaf Scholz has a great chance, a great mission – to give Germany a renewed leadership. Give Europe peace. Long-lasting and most importantly – fair. One that guarantees security to every state in Europe and Ukraine in the first place. And I sincerely wish Chancellor Scholz from all Ukrainians, from all Europeans that Germany and its partners succeed in carrying out this mission.

I will continue such speeches in the parliaments and squares of the partner states. Necessarily. As much as it takes to stop the war. To restore our territorial integrity. To return to all of us, Ukrainians and all Europeans, the long-awaited peace.

I feel that we are being increasingly understood. In Europe, in the world, in different countries. And it gives us more and more support. The one we have been asking for for so long.

I spoke with French President Macron. We are strengthening the defense of Ukraine. We coordinated our joint steps towards peace. I’m grateful for that.

I am also grateful to President Biden for his new and effective support for our country. Please, understand: I can’t reveal all the details of this support package and others to you. Because this is our tactic. Our defense. When the enemy does not know what to expect from us. Just as they did not know what would await them after February 24. Didn’t know what we had for the defense and how we were preparing to face the attack.

The occupiers thought they were going to Ukraine, which they had seen before, in 2014-2015. Which they constantly corrupted and which they were not afraid of. But we are different.

And this allows us to defend ourselves against a full-scale strike for 22 days already. Everything we have done in a few years. For our defense. For our tactics. For defense tactics, which is not the time to reveal while the war is going on.

It is not the time to reveal our tactics of negotiations as well. Negotiations for peace, sovereignty, territorial integrity of our state, our freedom. Working more in silence than on television, radio or Facebook. I think this is right.

Today I visited the wonderful Vlasenko family from Vorzel, Kyiv region, at the hospital.

Escaping, they got under Russian shelling. The eldest daughter, Katya, who is only 16 years old, covered her brother Ihor, who is 8. The brother got out of the car and cursed the occupiers. Tetiana, mother, received shrapnel wounds. The father carried his daughter in his arms.

Thank God they all survived. Because they stayed together, as a family, and defended each other. I was really moved to talk to them. Probably the most during this war. I sincerely wish health and happiness to this family, the Vlasenko family. Like all other families. I wish you peace and work for it.

Also today, I awarded five employees of the State Emergency Service with the Order of Courage. Everyone is a hero. Everyone was awarded for selfless actions, for dedication with which they save all of us, save Ukrainians.

And some more news, very important and, of course, positive. About our economy. About how we bring our country back to life. Right now, wherever security allows. Wherever business can run.

Our government has already prepared a decision to expand the lending program for entrepreneurs on the basis of the program “5-7-9%” creating a new opportunity. Any business will be able to get a loan at 0%. For the time of martial law plus 1 month after the war.

Then there will be a minimum rate of 5%. And the total loan amount can be up to 60 million hryvnias. So that a wider range of businesses can take advantage of our program.

The second news is that the Cabinet of Ministers will vote tomorrow for a large-scale reduction of regulations.

There were more than 600 permits and licenses for business, and about 20 remain mandatory. Only those that simply cannot be revoked. For example, radioactive waste management.

So, for the vast majority of businesses in Ukraine, the declarative principle will work: you have announced the start of business and you work freely.

And the third news, which concerns millions of Ukrainians. This is a special task for the National Bank of Ukraine, for people’s deputies and our government officials.

I instructed to find such a legislative opportunity for the state to guarantee 100% of deposits in Ukrainian banks. 100%. Not part, as now, as always, but 100%.

The whole deposit. In any bank of our state. So that people do not lose money and are not afraid of it under any circumstances.

So I’m waiting for specifics. Draft decision. And I hope that the Verkhovna Rada will not delay the support.

Because Ukrainians need it. Ukraine needs this.

And finally.

Our Mariupol, our Kharkiv, our Chernihiv, Kyiv region, Izyum and all our hero cities. Which are in a very difficult situation. Extremely difficult.

We are doing everything. All of us. Absolutely.

Our army, police, SES, humanitarian convoys, church… All our people.

We will not leave you. And we will not forgive them.

You will be free. Definitely. I know it. Like all of us on our land.

Glory to all our heroes!

Glory to Ukraine!