The Three Seas Initiative needs the potential of Ukraine, said Volodymyr Zelensky to Riga
Speech of the President of Ukraine after the introduction by the President of Latvia Egils Levits, at Three Seas Summit and Business Forum in Riga, on 20-21 June 2022.
I am grateful to you and I have the honour to address all present today.
I will begin my address immediately with the key thing, given our precious time. I’ll start with what we offer.
First, Ukraine must be a participant in the Three Seas Initiative. It is wrong that our state remained outside the Initiative. We need to find a format in which we can implement the accession.
Just one look at the geographical map of our region is enough to understand that it is only with Ukraine that all our countries can realize their full potential. Economic, infrastructural, potential of social ties between our countries, between our people and the historical basis of life in our region.
Based on this, my second suggestion is to strengthen the interpretation of cooperation in the framework of the Three Seas Initiative.
Every sphere we can work on together in this Initiative is really about security. And first of all it is logistics. Please look at the Ukrainian situation now: it is the states of the Three Seas that are our connection to the free world.
The supply of weapons to Ukraine, the supply of fuel, the preservation of vital transport flows, green corridors for the export of Ukrainian food, the migration of people – all this works through the territory of the member states of this Initiative.
In the same way, the Three Seas Initiative is destined to become an effective rear for any country in our region, if it is also – God forbid, of course – threatened by Russia. When the enemy comes, everything matters: roads, railways, ports, the energy system, speed at the borders, even the habit of working together.
That is why it is our duty to deepen all connections in this space. It is these connections that are our security, after all.
The third proposal is energy. Ukraine has one of the most powerful gas storage facilities in the region and an extensive gas supply network. Therefore, by cooperating with our neighbors, using the capacities of the Poland-Slovakia, Poland-Ukraine interconnectors, as well as the LNG terminals available in the region, we can meet the needs of all the countries of the Three Seas Initiative.
Already after the start of a full-scale Russian invasion, we joined the European Union’s energy system. And now our electricity exports can be a contribution to the energy balance of your countries, which will help you become completely independent of Russian energy pressure.
The fourth suggestion is that we must do everything we can to make the Trans-European Corridor Via Carpathia work one hundred percent, connecting northern and southern Europe. Ukraine can play the role of one of the logistics centers. And we are ready to join Via Carpathia right now.
We are ready to integrate into the European railway network, in particular through the Warsaw-Kyiv railway line and access to the Rail Baltica railway corridor.
We must continue to work on expanding checkpoints on the borders of our state.
Fifth proposal – Ukraine can support many infrastructure projects in the field of digitization and strengthen our regional digital ties. Keep in mind that the Ukrainian experience in combating cyber threats is truly unique and can be very useful for each of your countries.
And the sixth proposal – participation in the project of reconstruction of Ukraine. This will be the largest economic project of our generation. Politicians often say that economic prosperity is the foundation of national security. And it really is. But not as often as they say, politicians manage to implement this principle. That is to make the economy so powerful that the state itself becomes powerful enough.
Now we have such a historic chance.
But only if we work together will we be able to use it. The Three Seas Initiative needs the potential of Ukraine. We are ready. We are willing.
For the first time, Ukraine has been invited to participate in the Three Seas Initiative Summit today. I am grateful. However, you know – while this war is going on, I can’t leave the state. So I can’t be with you right now. But I am sure that you can now involve us in specific infrastructure projects, and will find a status that will allow us to participate in the activities of your Initiative.
I believe it is possible!
Glory to Ukraine!