Ukraine, together with its allies, starts developing Joint Declaration on Ukrainian Air Shield
Address of Head of President’s Office Andriy Yermak at Halifax International Security Forum
It is snowy and chilly in Kyiv today. A great weather to play hockey in the yard. In childhood, we often did. Especially in the evening, after lessons and homework. In the light of street lamps. But now there are not many children in Kyiv yards. And they don’t play hockey: you can hardly see the puck in the dark. Elsewhere it could be even worse: hot meals are considered luxury in some places.
Due to regular Russian attacks on our power grid, we have to save electricity more and more. Guess, you already know that on November 15 alone, the Russians fired almost 100 cruise missiles. Our armed forces successfully intercepted most of them. But not all. And now our life rhythm is set by blackout schedules.
We will endure. I am sure of this. Our military people are certain of this. Our society is definite on this. We must win. But it’s not only ourselves that we are defending. Europe is behind us.
Russian aggression against Ukraine is the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. And without a doubt, it is the biggest security threat to humanity since the beginning of the 21st century.
The main red line in the world today is the line of the Russian-Ukrainian front. Three point seven thousand kilometers long line of fire, blood, sweat and death. If you have a hard time imagining it, I will say: the US-Mexico border is shorter by six hundred and forty kilometers. Now you see the scale of the threats.
Millions of peaceful Ukrainians, thousands of settlements are under constant Russian attacks. Day by day. Total war is the Kremlin’s strategy. Any target is legitimate. Any harm is advisable. Any death is acceptable. This barbarism is measured and carefully calculated.
Russian troops can’t win the fight against our army. Sometimes they just flee battlefields. But instead, the Kremlin indiscriminately terrorizes the civilian people – the elderly, women and children.
They hit civilian objects – houses, hospitals, schools. They are determined to destroy our power grids. The calculation is simple: a humanitarian catastrophe. Moscow always considers frost and darkness as its allies. It always uses the deprivation of basic life needs as a war tool. It always despises humanitarian law. Russia is a terrorist state.
This is not a war for territory. It is a value conflict between democracy-based European civilization and the remnants of the Frankenstein monster mix of Russian imperial and Soviet totalitarian ideology. A value conflict is always existential. For Russia, it is about the destruction of the Ukrainian nation. It’s about genocide. For us, this is a fight for survival.
Ukraine’s resistance is a guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread to other European countries. Our success should guarantee that other nations will not be subjected to aggression. Our sacrifices must not be in vain.
We are very grateful to our American, Canadian, European partners, and our allies around the world for their constant and invaluable support.
In today’s world, the best security guarantee is the Article 5 of the NATO Washington Treaty. So, Ukraine’s aspirations to join the Alliance remain unchanged.
In the course of this war, the fighting capacity of the Ukrainian army increased significantly. And as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted, Ukraine has already proven compatibility with Alliance standards. They are real for us – on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction.
Ukraine is making a huge contribution to the security of the Euro-Atlantic region. Our state is effectively repelling the biggest threat to the peace and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region. And will go on.
I believe that Ukraine’s membership in NATO will significantly strengthen the Alliance. Many thanks to our partners, including Canadians, who think likewise and support us.
But we understand that it will take time to reach unanimous consent from all the thirty member states.
So, for the transition period, we need consolidated efforts to create effective security guarantees for Ukraine. To prevent the repetition of an aggression like this in the future.
The Kyiv Security Compact concept we developed together with the NATO ex-Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen could bring solutions. It should be a joint document on strategic partnership that unites Ukraine and the guarantor states. The principle is simple: Ukraine’s security relies primarily on its ability to defend itself. To do this effectively, Ukraine needs long-term contributions from its allies.
Security guarantees – not assurances, but guarantees – must come from a core group of Ukraine’s allies with significant military capabilities. They should be prepared to give both politically and legally binding commitments. Alongside the commitments of military support, a broader group of international partners should back a set of non-military guarantees based on sanctions. We must ensure that the cost of an aggression is too high for Russia to bear. Helping Ukraine defend, survive, and prevail is an investment in a safer future for the whole world.
As Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure are going to continue, Ukraine desperately needs an effective missile defense system. Very quick, before the onset of winter!
Effective protection of our sky is an important security guarantee component.
That’s why Ukraine, together with its closest allies, started the development of the Joint Declaration on the Ukrainian Air Shield.
We aim at building a complex multi-level system of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense. It will contribute to the entire European air security.
Tomorrow the Russian full-scale war against Ukraine will enter its 270th day. The 270th day of fighting for the future. However, it became obvious months ago: the Kremlin’s plans failed. Russia will not win this war. We sure about it. But this is not enough.
Ukraine needs to prevail. Tyranny must fall. Large-scale acts of state terrorism must never happen again after the war ends. Dozens of countries shouldn’t be constantly endangered. Russian neo-fascism must finally fade into oblivion. The light must return to our cities. Finally, too.
I believe it will be that way. Together we can achieve the goal.
Thanks again to your countries for significant, historical support.
And thank you for your attention!