The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, on 24 April 2022.
All our defenders!
Yesterday, Christians of the Eastern rite celebrated Easter. The traditional greeting “Christ is risen!” sounded also in Russia. But did these words mean the same thing as in the whole Orthodox world?
Russia “congratulated” Ukraine on Easter with an air threat almost all over our country, a missile strike at the Poltava region, and a missile strike at Kremenchuk. Why was this attack needed at Easter? There is no military threat from which this could protect Russia. This is just a deliberate destruction of life in Ukraine. Destruction that did not stop even on the greatest Orthodox holiday.
So are these people who continued to shell our cities and communities yesterday Christians? Who fired at Chuhuiv of the Kharkiv region. Who killed two more children in the Donetsk region on Easter – girls aged five and fourteen.
Killing children, destroying lives, covering up with cynical and total lies what has been done against peaceful cities – all Russia is doing on the territory of Ukraine – is definitely not Christianity. This is what Christ opposed.
People who once again refused to open humanitarian corridors from Mariupol are not Christians. People who filmed propaganda reports in the occupied regions of Ukraine about the distribution of alleged humanitarian Easter kits are not Christians. Moreover, everyone knows, including in Russia, that before February 24, all Ukrainians in all parts of Ukraine had the opportunity to celebrate Easter freely in any church and without any “humanitarian” kits.
People who are trying to build a brutal occupation regime in the seized districts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, holding people hostage, torturing people are not Christians. Those who did not allow people to leave the occupied territory even on Easter, threatening them with death.
Russia was offered an Easter ceasefire. But the Orthodox world has seen that for the Russian invaders Easter means nothing. For them, it is just a red date in the calendar, which requires special words, special behaviour, but not what is called faith, and not what is called Christian good.
The Russian army has made this Easter red not only formally in the calendar, but also red with blood. Christians would not do that if they had the opportunity to make peace.
So holding a candle in the temple does not mean being a Christian. Eating or even celebrating Easter every year is not enough to be human, to be a Christian.
And I am grateful to all our police officers, to all employees of the Security Service of Ukraine, to all those who were responsible for security on Easter, for not allowing any provocations yesterday. All that Russian propagandists announced recently.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine are deterring attacks by Russian troops in key areas. In the Kharkiv region – in the Izyum direction, in Donbas – especially near Popasna, in Mariupol where the resistance of the city’s defenders continues, in the southern areas, where the occupiers are trying to go on the offensive.
Air alarms this morning were heard again almost all over our country. Vinnytsia, Rivne, Lviv, Odesa regions – missile threat. Russia does not stop trying to break our resistance to… Achieve what?
In the occupied areas, either a humanitarian catastrophe has already occurred or there is very little time left before it occurs. There is a lack of basic products, there is a lack of medicines. People do not have the means to live normally, there is no basic security. They don’t have everything they had before February 24. What Donetsk and Luhansk had before 2014. Everything that we will definitely return after the liberation of our land.
We continue to do everything to drive the occupiers out and restore peace to all our people. A key element of this process is the strength of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Availability of sufficient quantity and quality of weapons, sufficient quantity and quality of ammunition.
Assistance to Ukraine was the number one issue in talks with representatives of the United States of America who arrived in Kyiv yesterday – Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Our talks with them were long enough – more than three hours – and meaningful. Encouraging and, which is important, effective.
I am grateful to the people of the United States and personally to President Biden for the strong and sincere support we receive. These are real things that strengthen not only our state, but democracy as a whole.
We share the same understanding with the United States: when democracy wins in one country, it wins all over the world. When freedom is defended in one country, it is defended all over the world.
We agreed with the American side on further steps to strengthen the Armed Forces of Ukraine and meet all the priority needs of our army. This includes preparations for a major ministerial meeting in Germany on Tuesday, which will bring together forty defense ministers from partner countries. The key issue is the protection of Ukraine, the protection of freedom in Eastern Europe.
Ways to strengthen sanctions were discussed. The fact that Russia is not looking for peace and is demonstratively killing even on Easter shows that greater sanctions pressure is needed. It is necessary to block all opportunities for Russia to circumvent sanctions. So we handed over to our partners a special Plan to strengthen sanctions on the Russian Federation developed by an international expert group led by Andriy Yermak and Michael McFaul.
A separate point of the negotiations was financial support for Ukraine. When tyranny has enormous financial resources from oil and gas exports, the issue of financial support for freedom becomes vital. I heard a full understanding of this position from American friends. Not only in the context of helping Ukraine now, during the war, but also for the post-war reconstruction.
Discussions on security guarantees for Ukraine continued. I am convinced that the United States can be a leader among the future countries – guarantors of Ukraine’s security. The main goal for all of us is to make Europe and the world safer after the war, to ensure that the security architecture works in the event of any new threats.
I was pleased to hear from our friends that the United States Embassy will be back in Kyiv in the near future. The appointment of a new US Ambassador to Ukraine will also take place. This is a very useful gesture of support for our state.
I had an important conversation with Turkish President Erdoğan. On the situation in Mariupol and the need to evacuate civilians and the wounded, the need for immediate exchange of the blocked Ukrainian military.
We discussed the negotiation process with Russia and the issues of defense. The threats to the world food market provoked by Russia, which has blocked our Black Sea ports, were also discussed in detail.
Rising food prices have already reached critical levels in many countries. But this is just the beginning. If Russia does not seek peace, the issue of food security in many countries will become a matter of physical survival for millions of people and, consequently, stability of state systems.
More and more political leaders around the world are aware of this threat. So we expect more pressure on Russia.
I congratulated President of France Macron on winning the elections. We spoke with Mr. President at night. Ukraine will always appreciate his support, and will always be grateful for the help of France. I am convinced that together with France, together with President Macron, we will be able to do much more to protect our common freedom, our united Europe.
Late last night, after all foreign policy issues, I signed important decrees to award our heroes. 188 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and five employees of the Security Service of Ukraine were awarded state awards of Ukraine.
The title of Hero of Ukraine was awarded to Colonel Chayuk Denys Valentynovych, deputy commander of the 128th separate mountain assault brigade, for personal courage and effectiveness in battles with the occupiers, for destroying enemy equipment and manpower.
Glory to all our heroes!
Eternal memory to everyone who gave life for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!