Dear great friend of Ukraine, Mr. Donald Tusk!
Dear Mr. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada!
Dear Mr. Prime Minister!
Dear members of the Ukrainian Government!
Dear people’s deputies!
Dear friends of ours who have been standing side by side with Ukraine for five years while protecting global security, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine!
Dear military – the elite of the nation, who are present in this hall!
A burning Maidan. The first casualties. Expectation of a new assault. Exactly five years ago, on February 19, after the 18th – after the tragedy right here on the Square of the Constitution, the first people were shot in the Mariyinsky Park, and on February 19, none of us knew what would happen tomorrow. But all, I emphasize – all who were on Maidan, were ready to stand until the end. And “tomorrow”, on February 20, a mass shooting of the Heavenly Hundred took place. And tomorrow, on February 20, Russian aggression began.
And it was precisely this date that the Kremlin scratched on medals distributed to the Russian invaders and collaborators who seized Crimea.
The murder of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred was the beginning of a bloody war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine. Why was it done? Today everyone clearly understands – for the restoration of the empire, for the revision of the borders and, in the end, for the destruction of the whole system of transatlantic security in Europe and the world. For the destruction of the post-war security system based on the United Nations Security Council and the unity of all five permanent members of the Security Council. It cannot work when one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council is an aggressor country. And the collective security system was destroyed. The annexation of Crimea, the occupation of the Donbas part became the prelude to the hybrid war of Moscow not only against Ukraine. Today, Mr. President (President of the European Council Donald Tusk – ed.) has rightly pointed out – the hybrid war of Moscow against the European Union, including Poland; against the United States, against NATO, against the Baltic States and, in the end, against the whole democratic and civilized world.
I want to emphasize separately that by defending Ukraine, the Heroes of Maidan, Ukrainian soldiers, all patriots defend the eastern borders of Europe from the invasion which threatens the destruction of freedom, the destruction of democracy, the destruction of the rule of law and the destruction, in the end, of respect for human dignity. And this war was unleashed by Moscow because here, in Kyiv, on the European Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Moscow has lost its civilizational battle for Ukraine. The blitzkrieg, which Moscow was counting on, failed. Those plans to split and tear apart, to destroy our state did not succeed. But I want to remind and emphasize – a very high price was paid for this.
And now Putin clearly understands that the loss of Ukraine means the collapse of his plans to restore the empire and to return Russia the status of a superpower. They cannot do it economically, because their economy goes well beyond effective countries.
Therefore, the rates in this war are super high now. I emphasize – not only Ukraine. Putin’s dream – is not a divided Ukraine anymore, but a divided Europe. Putin’s dream is Europe that has abandoned its values. Putin’s dream is a weakened Europe, to which he dictates conditions. Putin’s dream is a belt of dependent satellites, whose sovereignty is purely nominal. And the examples of these countries are very well known to us.
And beyond doubt, I want to say firmly: the Kremlin is doomed to defeat in this war. I emphasize that in five years it failed to achieve any of the goals set for Ukraine, and tactically, friends, we have already won! When will we achieve a strategic and final victory? The answer to this question depends on our unity.
We must read and study the lessons of a century-old past of 1918-1921.
The victory in this war depends on our resolve, as well as on the unity and determination of our international coalition, which was created by us in support of Ukraine with the help of our friends. I want to emphasize that the prominent role here belongs to President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Remember his words from this rostrum – there can be no safe and democratic Europe without Ukraine. These are the words of the leader of the European Union to the skeptics, some of whom are sitting in this hall, while some are saying on TV that Ukraine will never be admitted to the EU, will never be a member of NATO. My friends, I emphasize – it will be admitted.
Although nobody has paid such a high price for the European and Euro-Atlantic choice as Ukraine did. Unfortunately, it is true. Nobody has ever paid such great sacrifices for this choice. And we must always remember the irredeemable debt to our heroes. And this debt prompts us to do everything for their struggle not to be useless, so that nobody and nothing can bring us back to the chains of Moscow. The phrase is very popular now that the rubicon has been crossed – I emphasize that it will never be crossed. We must always fight for our civilized choice, for the return of Ukraine to the family of European nations. Just as Ukrainians have been struggling to remove the Moscow yoke from the Ukrainian church for 300 years, we must be ready for 300 years to prevent the return of the status of Ukraine as a colony of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. We will never allow it.
The days of the anniversary of the shooting on Maidan, everyone understands that, are psychologically very difficult for each of us. For me personally these are days of bitter memories and painful experiences. These are the days of in-depth self-criticism and thorough analysis of the work done and not done. These are days of a meaningful work on mistakes and thorough contemplation of further steps.
Of course, there are a lot of complaints that I accept. And I admit that too much mistakes were done. But the fact is after five difficult years, our government has not stepped back from the European and Euro-Atlantic strategy. We were consistent and nobody could turn us away from the chosen path.
The elements of our path, our strategy are the Association Agreement with the EU, including the free trade area. The elements of our strategy are the visa-free regime. The elements of the strategy are transformation of the European Union into the most powerful trading partner who helped us, having opened the door and extending a helping hand, survive the consequences of Russia’s economic blockade and the crisis caused by it. The elements of this strategy are the gradual switch of the whole defense-security bloc to the NATO standards. In 2014, the work in the defense and security sector was not even started. The law prohibited NATO members from entering, opening the doors of the General Staff or the Ministry of Defense. And you, people’s deputies in this hall, remember that one of the first initiatives in June-July was the abolition of this nonsense in our legislation.
Before joining the EU and the North Atlantic Alliance, we still have – and we all clearly understand that – to cover a long path: overcome poverty, meet membership criteria, make our difficult homework. But I emphasize that today we have achieved an unprecedented rapprochement with Europe in our history. The President of the European Council has never delivered a speech in Ukrainian. Donald, Ukrainian language with European optimism lacked by some of our deputies. Not only political, not only economic, but also cultural and humanitarian union. Aviation and railway routes, including low cost airlines, tourist flows, geography of educational institutions where young people get knowledge – all this testifies to the tectonic scale of change, the complete reorientation of the country from Russia to the European Union.
Against this backdrop, amendments to the Constitution obliging the authorities to do their utmost to achieve Ukraine’s membership in the European Union and NATO are a completely logical interim conclusion of what we have done in five years. However, I emphasize that this is also a guarantee, insurance for the future. I had no doubt about its necessity before, but with the beginning of the election campaign its rightness became obvious.
I have taken the effort to get acquainted with the candidates’ programs. Surprisingly, most of them do not have a point on membership in NATO, membership in the European Union. Someone must have crossed them out.
Another program offers the referendum to decide on the issue of membership in NATO or other security associations. The authors are not aware that there is no “other security association” near our borders. It is the one – and the name of this association, if someone does not know, is NATO. The Collective Security Treaty Organization controlled by the Russian General Staff… Can they mean it? What are “other security associations”? We will not allow that.
Of course, there is also the fifth column, which, at the Kremlin’s dictation, has again exposed to the light the notorious non-alignment program, which has already costed us Crimea and parts of Donbas. I want to remind you – the aggression began when Ukraine had a non-aligned status. And the worst thing is that it costed us thousands and thousands of human lives. 2949 soldiers gave their lives for us to have a chance to change the state. And we will not waste this chance.
So, we see that the amendments to the Constitution, which give our European and Euro-Atlantic integration the force of the Basic Law, are definitely not superfluous.
There are, however, those who want to change the whole Constitution in an anti-constitutional way, bypassing the Verkhovna Rada. And there is also no place for NATO and the European Union in their concept. But I am convinced that protective mechanisms of democracy have already been formed and will work effectively in Ukraine, ruining this attempt.
I believe my strategic mission is to ensure the irreversibility of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. To apply for membership in the European Union and receive a NATO Membership Action Plan by 2023. This is our common task.
In carrying out this mission, I swear to adhere to the Constitution of Ukraine, including its new provisions, which I propose to sign right here.
Today, we are not going to look back at Russia. We will not ask Putin where we should go. We are going our way. We make our own decision on how to ensure our own security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Ten years ago, due to the lack of a single line of the President, Parliament, Government, Ukraine has lost an opportunity to get the MAP. Today, I emphasize this separately, the position of the Head of State, the position of the Cabinet of Ministers, the position of the leadership of the Parliament and the Parliament of Ukraine is unanimous. I am grateful to all of you for this.
This is evidenced by 334 votes – the convincing majority – for constitutional changes. Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to express once again my sincere gratitude to the people’s deputies.
I would like to invite Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in the presence of the President of the European Council – one of the leaders of the European Union, a friend of Ukraine Donald Tusk to certify the unity of all branches of power in the matter of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Glory to Ukraine!