President Zelensky’s Address to Nation. 04.03.2022

To the great public of a great country. A country of strength, a country of freedom. To a people of absolute moral leadership. We have endured nine days of darkness, nine days of evil. That’s three times the amount that this darkness and this evil counted on. We responded to the invasion as we could in times of the greatest danger. We answered with heroism, solidarity, mutual aid. We answered in our own way, in the Ukrainian way. In a way that European history will forever remember. In a way that the children will hear of and the grandchildren will see. The whole continent will know the city of Kharkiv, the city of Chernihiv, the city of Sumy, the city of Volnovakha, the city of Mariupol’, the city of Mykolaiv… and many other beautiful cities. Living cities. Cities that have withstood the worst invasion since the Second World War. I purposefully say this as a fait accompli. Withstood. No matter what the situation is at the moment. Strategically everything is clear. Ukrainians are united. From Uzhgorod to Kharkiv. From Kyiv to Kherson. Ukrainians smoke out the enemy near Kiev, thrash them for Okhtyrka, punish them for Gostomel, exact retribution for Kherson. Our Kherson. Ukrainian Kherson, which they dared try to humiliate today. But it didn’t  work. We did not allow it. Ukrainians showed themselves. We did not let ourselves be swindled by some cheap cynical play with a pittance instead of assistance. With propaganda instead of truth. Russian propagandists thought of our people as they do of their own. Instead they saw that the people of Kherson are proud. They respect themselves. They respect Ukraine. Respect. I understand what a difficult decision it is, when people under occupation choose to confront armed enemies. I understand what a risk it is, but I see how our people refuse to play by the rules of the invaders. I see how our people remain Ukrainians. How our people remain by our side even when temporarily plunged into darkness. If Russian politicians still have eyes, they will see what Ukraine is.

What our freedom is. Our occupiers thought they could disconnect Ukrainians from television. Thought they could cut off our connections. That they could seize our food. That they could turn off our electricity and heat. They thought that this would force the Ukrainians to submit. But even if you deprive us of oxygen… we will take a deep breath and say: “Get out of our land.” Even in complete darkness, we see the truth and we will keep fighting until our vision blacks out completely. Because we are warriors of light. And today, no one on the Earth will be able to say that my words are waxing poetic. It’s the ninth day of the war. Many of us have the custom of, on the ninth day, mourning those who are no longer with us. Memory eternal to everyone who died for Ukraine. Sadly, it seems we have something else to mourn today. Assurances and promises of safety, the decisiveness of alliances, the values that for some, it seems, have long died. Today the NATO summit was held. A weak summit. A confused summit.

A summit that has shown that not everyone considers fighting for Europe’s safety their number one goal. NATO intelligence services know the enemy’s plans perfectly well. They have also confirmed that Russia plans to continue their assault. What is happening? For nine days, we’ve been watching a violent war unfold. Our cities are being ruined, our people – shot, our children…residential districts, churches, schools. Everything that ensures a normal life is systematically destroyed, and they want to keep going. Fully aware that new attacks and casualties are unavoidable, NATO knowingly decided not to close the airspace above Ukraine. We think that the countries of NATO themselves have created a narrative where, supposedly, closing our airspace would provoke direct aggression from Russia towards NATO. This is a self-hypnosis of the weak and indecisive. Even though you may have weapons magnitudes stronger than ours. You should’ve thought of the people, of humanity.

But what were you thinking of during that meeting?

Everyone who dies from this day forward, will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, your disunity. All that the Alliance has done as of today was offer Ukraine 50 tons of diesel fuel through its trade channels. Maybe it’s so we can burn down the Budapest memorandum. Maybe it’ll burn better then.

But for us, it has already burned down in the fires of the Russian military. Is this truly the NATO we wanted? Is this the Alliance you have been building? Today, the leaders of the alliance have given a green light to the continued bombings of Ukrainian towns and villages by refusing to create a no-flight zone. You could have closed the airspace, but… But… I don’t know who you can defend, or if you can defend your own countries, nations of the Alliance. You cannot bribe us by trading litres of fuel for litres of our blood, spilled in the name of a united Europe, for our shared freedom, for our shared future. But nonetheless, I am also thankful to the friends of our country. NATO consists of many countries, our friends, our partners, most, most of them are powerful partners. Those who help our nation. No matter what. Regardless of any decisions. From the first day of the invasion and, I’m sure, till our victory. That’s why we don’t feel alone. We will continue to fight, we will protect our country, we will liberate our land thanks to our heroes. Today, I awarded titles and medals to 76 Ukrainian heroes for their personal courage and selflessness in their actions for the sake of our protection. Unfortunately, 37 of them were awarded posthumously. I awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to General-Lieutenant Pavliuk Oleksander Oleksiyovych, Commander of the Joint Forces Operation.I awarded the military rank of Brigadier-General to Colonel Shvorok Volodymyr Vasylovych, the Deputy Commander of the Operational Command “East” of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. I awarded the military rank of Brigadier-General of Justice to Colonel of Justice Melnyk Serhii Mykolaiovych, the commandant of the Military Law Faculty of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University. I awarded the military rank of Brigadier-General to Colonel Bohomol Artem Yevhenovych, the Deputy Commander of the Operational Command “West”. I awarded the military rank of General to Zaluzhnyi Valery Fedorovych, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine!