On the battlefield in Ukraine, it is being decided what rules the world will live by – speech by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Asian Security Summit
Dear participants of the Shangri-La Dialogue forum!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Thank you for the honor of speaking to you today.
When I was preparing for this meeting with you – so far a virtual meeting, but I hope for live meetings during my visits to your region after our victory in the war – so when I was preparing for this meeting, I was told about a girl.
She wrote me a letter asking to support her initiative called Spray Paint Ukraine. This is an initiative to help Ukraine. She created this image, but an NFT image, and gave me this T-shirt so I could wear it, and thus help everyone know about her initiative.
And I thought that this situation – this girl’s appeal, her idea, her confidence that the President of Ukraine can respond to her initiative, as well as the fact that I am really ready to help – will be important.
I wore this T-shirt today. And this may help explain why Ukraine has gained such support in the world and why we will definitely win this war that Russia has started. Can you imagine, for example, the President of Russia, who would respond to the initiative of a girl from your country, to such an initiative? Who would just see a letter of appeal to the Embassy in Singapore to support the idea of a girl unknown to him and wear a T-shirt sent to him? I think this is impossible at all.
And that’s what really happens. This is the confrontation between “possible”, which we and many others in the world need, and “impossible”, for which Russia is desperately fighting. Russia wants to make it impossible for a neighboring country, which it sees solely as its colony, to be able to exist freely, to exist independently.
That is why the Russian army has already killed tens of thousands of our people, deported hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to its territory. Russia has already used 2,595 cruise missiles against us alone – and that’s in 108 days!
Russia wants to make it impossible for our land, resources and water to be used in the interests of our people. It wants to steal all this, and is actively looting the territory it managed to occupy. Absolutely everything is taken from there – from cars left on the streets and in the yards to equipment of the seized factories, from scrap metal to grain.
Just imagine the meanness of the Russian Federation if its representatives stole even a few trolleybuses from our city of Mariupol, which was completely destroyed by the Russian army. This is the “great Russia” – stealing trolleybuses.
It wants to make it impossible for the nations of the world to be confident in the freedom of navigation. In this basic freedom for peace and prosperity in any region of the planet. From the first minutes of the full-scale war against Ukraine, Russia blocked our ports in the Black Sea using its fleet. During the war, the Russian military attacked, in particular, peaceful merchant ships, and also fired missiles at our port infrastructure.
Today, the Black Sea is the most dangerous sea in the world. And this is solely Russia’s fault. Although on February 23 this year, on the eve of the war, free and safe navigation was possible in the Black Sea.
I can cite such examples for a very long time – examples of what Russia wants to make impossible. I am sure that in many of these examples you will be able to see what is valuable to you. What makes your life the life you value.
And I am convinced that you are all interested in the possible free and independent life of your nations, the preservation of your culture, your material and resource wealth. So that no one robs your property, so that your cultural treasures are not taken away. So that no enemy fleet can make your seas dangerous for navigation.
Russian propaganda is trying hard to spread in your countries, as in many others, the disinformation thesis that Russia’s war against Ukraine is allegedly something about NATO, about the role of America, about the West’s attempts to advance somewhere in Europe. But Russia’s war against Ukraine is far from just about Europe. It’s about globally important things.
The Russian leadership wants to reject all the achievements of human history, including the system of international law that we have today, and return to life as in the XIX century or even earlier. When everything that gave billions of people a chance for harmonious development and prosperity was impossible.
That is why I want to remind you of the words of a man you all know well: “If there was no international law and a big fish ate a small one and a small one ate a shrimp, we would not exist.” These are the very wise words of Lee Kuan Yew, a leader who could see the real causes of many things and processes and who knew what should really be appreciated.
And that’s why I’m in this T-shirt now, that’s why I responded to the request of a girl from Singapore. We must value our opportunities. We must appreciate what has been made possible by the wise leadership in the past, by the struggle of many generations of various nations. We must appreciate what gives us the chance to live in peace and work for the common good in our societies and in the world.
Hence, we must stop Russia.
We must stop the war that this state has started against my state, trying to return the world to the old days, when the freedom of nations and people’s lives did not matter. We must break the ability of Russia or any other country in the world to block the seas, to destroy the freedom of navigation.
If sanctions, then sanctions. If mirror measures to limit the service of Russian ships in ports, then mirror measures. Russia must feel that its aggressive policy has consequences primarily for itself. And if this does not happen, if the Russian blockade prevents us from continuing to export our food, which the global market currently lacks, the world will face a severe food crisis and famine in many countries in Asia and Africa. Food shortages will inevitably be followed by political chaos, which could lead to the fall of many governments and disaster for many politicians.
And you can already see how this catastrophe is approaching, just by looking at rising prices for basic products on the world market and in some countries. This is a direct consequence of Russia’s actions.
Finally, we must return full force to international law.
Since February 24, 287 children have died in Ukraine as a result of Russian strikes. And that’s just what we know officially. We do not yet know how many people were buried in mass graves in the occupied territories and how many bodies remained in the ruins of houses in cities still controlled by the Russian army.
For murder and torture, for deportations, for destroyed cities, for the use of illicit munitions, including phosphorus bombs, for blackmail with chemical and nuclear weapons – for all this, any state, not just Russia, must be held accountable. And we can make it possible! If we act in a coordinated manner. Although Russia, of course, will try to make it impossible.
We can ensure UN reform. So that all states abide by international law, so that no one violates the world order. The UN system and, in particular, the UN Security Council today do not provide a fair representation for most nations of the world. The voices of entire regions of the planet often cannot be heard when it is vital.
If this reform had already taken place, we today would be able to respond to any aggression – not just that of Russia – at a truly global level.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am grateful to you for supporting Ukraine. I am grateful to you for your attention to our state. But remember that this support and attention is not only for Ukraine, but also for yourself. For making your future secure.
It is on the battlefield in Ukraine that it is being decided what rules the world will live by and what will be possible and what will be impossible.
Let’s save the world from going back to the days when everything was decided on the basis of the so-called right of force, and individuals and any of their ideas, like many nations, simply did not matter.
Glory to Ukraine!