Volodymyr Zelensky: The alliance between Russia and Iran can be rendered meaningless if we act together
Address by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the participants of the Haaretz Democracy Conference
I am recording this address to you after the regular meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.
The Staff is the highest body in Ukraine, which provides collegial management of the defense of our state. The military, intelligence, heads of special services and law enforcement agencies, the speaker of the parliament, ministers and other top officials – everyone whom the protection of Ukraine depends on, participate in these meetings.
It is in this format that we adopt key defense decisions. We listen to the reports about hostilities and the development of our defense operations, about threats to national security. And it is there, at the Staff, that the words that are constantly heard in Israel when you talk about the survival of your state are heard more and more often.
These words are Iran, Iranian. Each time they mean something that you all fully understand. They mean a mortal threat.
I will give you just one example now.
It happened on October 17, when Russia carried out another terrorist attack. That day there were 15 Russian cruise missiles and 42 Iranian combat drones in the sky of Ukraine. Power plants, other critical infrastructure facilities, and even residential buildings became targets.
One of these residential buildings is in Kyiv. After an Iranian drone strike, half of the building is gone. Four floors were destroyed – from the basement to the roof. It stood for 120 years. It was built by Ioselian Lev, an entrepreneur at the time, the head of one of the synagogues. The building withstood World War I, waves of terror and World War II. It saw so much and was destroyed by an Iranian drone. Like many, many other objects in Ukraine.
Five people died that terrible day. Well… actually, six. A drone killed a young family who lived in one of the apartments of that building in Kyiv – a boy and a girl, the girl was preparing to become a mother.
Ukraine is now constantly subjected to such Russian terrorist attacks. The disgusting sound of Iranian drones is heard in our skies every night.
In general, according to our intelligence, Russia ordered about two thousand “Shaheds” from Iran – one type of Iranian terrorist weapon. And also missiles and other drones. Iranian instructors came to teach Russians how to use drones.
How did this alliance of theirs become possible?
I will tell you.
Russia loses to us in a real confrontation on the battlefield. Putin’s army does not know how to fight. We beat it on our land in such a way that it is forced to withdraw its contingents even from other regions that it tried to destabilize. Pay attention – the Russian presence in Syria has been significantly reduced thanks to our defenders, who are beating the occupiers.
But, unfortunately, we do not have our own “Iron Dome”. We still do not have a modern and effective air defense and missile defense system that could secure our skies. That is why Russia hopes to use terror in the air to compensate for losses on the ground.
Russia strikes with missiles like the S-300. It uses them to hit Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and other cities. Every day and every night. To burn cities – house by house, street by street.
Where it cannot reach with these missiles, Russia hits with “Kalibrs” and anti-ship Kh-101. Kyiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro… It destroys energy, transport, food warehouses, shopping centers, and social infrastructure with them.
In 8 months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. That is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue terror. It found them in Iran.
I have a question for you – how does Russia pay Iran for this, in your opinion? Is Iran just interested in money? Probably not money at all, but Russian assistance to the Iranian nuclear program. Probably, this is exactly the meaning of their alliance.
And this alliance of theirs simply would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time. The decision we asked for.
Every time we in Ukraine, at the meetings of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, discuss Russian missile and drone terror, we also talk about our partners who already help or can help us protect the sky. Unfortunately, the words – Israel, Israeli – do not sound at that moment.
Of course, this is the decision of your state, your Governments. It seems that it was adopted a long time ago – in 2014, when Russia began its aggression against Ukraine. The decision “not to annoy” the Kremlin, not to help Ukraine for real. I emphasize – we have been asking Israel for help since 2014. But such is the continuance of politicians.
Although if we had immediately secured our skies when faced with a missile and drone threat, Russia would not even have a motive now to go to Iran and offer it something in exchange for assistance in terror. But that’s what happened.
And I think that this alliance of theirs can still be rendered meaningless. If we act together, with you, in the same way as with other democracies.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Russian officials and propagandists are really frank. They hate that we live freely and protect our culture. They even try not to say the word Ukraine. They want us all dead. The other day, even one of the famous Russian propagandists absolutely openly called to burn Ukrainian children simply in the houses where they live, or to drown them in rivers – as soon as the children say that they are Ukrainians.
This is what rashism is. Iran helps rashism by getting something for itself.
Many democratic countries help us. But we would also like to get your help.
Of course, we will not give up our struggle no matter what. We want simple and clear things: to liberate our land, to guarantee the safety of our people, to give peace to Ukrainians.
We will continue our defense and, I am sure, we will defend Ukraine and our freedom. Our common freedom – of all democratic countries.
I sincerely thank you for the award with which you honored this struggle of ours.
But isn’t it time for your state to choose who you are with as well?
Is it with the democratic world, which is fighting side by side against the existential threat to its existence? Or with those who turn a blind eye to Russian terror even when the cost of continued terror is the complete destruction of global security?
I believe that you will give fair answers to my questions. Because these questions, in fact, are not about politics, but about values. About the values that still unite us. They unite us even when we do not agree on politics.
I thank the people of Israel for the understanding and help, in particular, medical aid that we received from your society! I am grateful to you and all the Israeli media that spread the truth about this war and condemn Russian terror! I am thankful to all of your people who took to the streets after the start of the full-scale war, and we saw – we are supported in the Promised Land. I believe that we will see support in the sky as well.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you all peace and victory!
Glory to Ukraine!