Address by President Volodymyr Zelensky on the Day of Defenders of Ukraine
Great people of a great country!
On October 14, we celebrate the Day of Defenders of Ukraine. This is the Day of those who fight. This is the Day of what we fight for. This is the Day of what kind of victory we will gain.
A century ago, Ukraine honored this Day. And it will honor it a century after us.
On October 14, we express gratitude. Gratitude to everyone who fought for Ukraine in the past. And to everyone who is fighting for it now. To all who won then. And to everyone who will definitely win now. Win in such a way that it will crown the struggle of many generations of our people with success. The people who always wanted one thing the most – freedom. For themselves. And for their children. For our culture.
The place where I am now points to the origins of our Ukrainian path. These are the slopes of Vytachiv. Here was one of the most ancient outposts of Rus’-Ukraine. Back in the times of Olga, Svyatoslav and Volodymyr the Great. Svyatopolk, Monomakh, Andriy and Oleg were gathering here for the princely congress. Andriy Pervozvanny placed the first cross here. Cossack seagulls used to cross these waters. These shores have seen various invaders and heroes. Here, on the slopes, Taras Shevchenko looked at the Dnipro and the cliffs. This place is a witness of more than a millennium of our history and its important lesson.
They tried to capture and enslave the Ukrainian land. They tried to conquer and destroy the Ukrainian people. Both a thousand years ago and in the XX century. But Ukrainians come here. Here they reflect on our history. The Ukrainian language is spoken here. There is a chapel here, built according to Shevchenko’s sketch.
There were different periods. Various threats. But Ukraine endured. There is one reason for that. Our defenders. Our people who are fighting for their right to life. In Rus’. In Sich. During the national liberation struggle. Against the Nazi occupation. And against the Rashists.
It seems that the current enemy in its evil unites all the enemies of our statehood that we faced before. And by defeating this enemy, we will respond to all enemies who encroached on Ukraine – on those who lived, who live and who will live on our land.
This will be a victory for all our people.
This will be a victory for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Our Ground Forces, infantry. Tankers. Missile troops and artillery.
This will be a victory for our Air Forces. Our anti-aircraft warriors. Our drone operators.
This will be a victory for our Naval Forces. Our marines. Our airborne assault troops. Our intelligence. Special operations forces. Security Service of Ukraine.
This will be a victory for the border guards, the National Guard, the National Police, the territorial defense, and the communications officers.
This will be a victory for everyone who will not leave even a trace on Ukrainian soil of that army that flaunted itself as if it was the second on the planet.
This will be a victory for those of our heroes who are now in Russian captivity. Those who are now having the most difficult time. It is the most difficult to remain Ukrainian and preserve Ukrainian when they are among the murderers. But we remember. We remember and do everything to return everyone – each of our heroes. We will not leave anyone in captivity.
The world sees that Ukrainians do not lose their humanity under any circumstances. The enemy can strike at our cities, but never at our dignity.
The Rashists burned down the Skovoroda museum, dozens of churches, hundreds of schools and kindergartens… But they can’t do anything against our philosophy. Against what Ukrainians hear, see and know – from a young age.
Russian missiles are still capable of driving Ukrainians into bomb shelters, but none of our people shiver there. Ukrainians sing in shelters.
We defend our freedom. Our soul. Our land. Our Kyiv. Our Zaporizhzhia. Our Odesa. Our Dnipro and Mykolaiv. Our Kryvyi Rih. Our Nikopol. Our Khmelnytskyi, our Lviv. Our Vinnytsia.
What we have preserved and will always protect. Our Zhytomyr region, Kyiv region, Sumy region, Chernihiv region, Kharkiv region.
What we did not give away and will always protect. Our Kherson, our Donetsk and Luhansk, our Crimea.
We. We all. Great people of a great country. Everyone who fights and works for Ukraine to live. Diplomats who formed the most powerful global coalition in history to help Ukraine. Volunteers who cover any needs – on the ground, in the air, and even in space. Journalists who spread the truth about Ukraine and about this war, who maintain our morale, our confidence, our awareness. Transporters who change supply chains and provide Ukraine with everything it needs. Energy workers who defeat the darkness around the clock. Builders who restore what was destroyed by the enemy. Our heroic doctors. Rescuers. Sappers. Teachers. Civil servants. Local government. Farmers. Industrialists.
A nation. A nation that defeats terror. Millions of people who are bringing the crucial day closer, each in his place. Victory Day. The day of victory in the war for our freedom. In the war for independence for all our people in all corners of Ukraine.
In the war for the right to life for the people and for the state, whose name is Ukraine.
In the war for our values. In the war for our memory and Tradition. The tradition of freedom.
In this war, everything depends on you. On what you do. On who you help. On what you gain. On who came to help us.
The world stands with us. More than ever in our history. This in particular makes us stronger than ever in our history.
But just as at any time in our history, the future depends on specific people.
On those who are currently in the trenches and on combat posts. Sons, brothers and fathers. Daughters, sisters and mothers. Ukrainian men and women, to whom I now want to say the main words.
You are the most precious thing we have. Each and every one.
Rashist tanks, inmates and mercenaries oppose you. Looters, rapists and those who have gone mad from propaganda. Thousands of people whose lives are worth nothing to their state. They are thrown into attacks, they have “anti-retreat detachments” behind their backs, they are not counted and are not even taken away when they die. They do not know what to live for, and that’s why they lose the life given to them by God so shamefully.
And behind you, Ukrainian Warrior, are millions of people who know exactly what they live for. With you, Warrior, in the trenches is our entire state, everything that we have and that is so dear to us. The future of children is with you. The gold of our athletes’ victories. Our poetry, art, science. Sophia and the Potocki Palace are with you. Our Khortytsia and our Lavra. Our Heavenly Hundred is with you. And our respect, our faith and our love. Because our state is the mother of all defenders.
Behind you is Ukraine, which knows exactly what it wants and values. Behind you is the history that has been coming to these heroic Days for many centuries, so that you, Ukrainian Warrior, will now turn it in the right direction – forever. In the right direction for Ukraine.
I know it is extremely hard for you. I know how this enemy puts pressure on you. I know what they do. But I know that you are strong, and we will do everything to make you even stronger.
I know that you are confident, and we will do everything to increase your confidence even more.
I know that you are bringing victory closer as much as you can, and we will do everything to speed it up.
All of us – millions and millions. Great people of a great country!
Happy Defender of Ukraine Day!
Happy Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos!
Happy Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks!
Glory to all our heroes!
Glory to all who fight, work and help!
Glory to Ukraine!