Volodymyr Zelensky: This war is going on now for the happiness of living your normal life and just walking the streets of your city, that’s what we are fighting for in it
This address of mine is dedicated to four cities of Ukraine: Kharkiv, Kyiv, Severodonetsk and Kryvyi Rih. And through them – to our whole state, to all our cities and communities.
Today I visited Kharkiv. Both the city itself and the frontline positions of our military in the region. Kharkiv suffered terrible blows from the occupiers. Black, burnt-out, half-ruined apartment buildings face east and north with their windows – from where Russian artillery was firing. From where Russian combat aircraft arrived. They face Russia. And in them now, like in a mirror, the Russian state can see itself. See how much it lost during these 95 days of full-scale war against Ukraine.
Russia has already lost not only the battle for Kharkiv, not only the battle for Kyiv and the north of our country. It lost its own future and any cultural ties to the free world. They all burned down. In particular, there, in Saltivka.
I held a meeting with the leadership of the region and the city. Thanked them for being and remaining together with the people of Kharkiv, together with Ukraine. And – what is very important now – together with each other. They have one hundred percent cooperation – the army, the police, the mayor of Kharkiv, the regional state administration – everyone really works for victory and does it very effectively.
Unfortunately, this cannot be said about the local leadership of the Security Service of Ukraine. I arrived. Clarified the situation. Dismissed the head of the Security Service of the region. For not working to defend the city from the first days of a full-scale war, but thinking only of himself personally. What were the motives? Law enforcement officers will find out.
One third of the Kharkiv region is still under occupation. We will definitely liberate the entire territory. And everyone should work for this result in positions both at the local level and at the state level.
Before the trip, I signed a decree awarding our defenders. 222 combatants were awarded state awards. And during the trip today I had the honor to personally present some of the awards from this decree and others that were signed earlier.
The post-war reconstruction of Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region was discussed very objectively with the local authorities. We must use only advanced ideas, only modern technologies in reconstruction. In particular, security technologies. And the best offers from our partners. Kharkiv and all other cities and communities in our country affected by the war must be reconstructed to have the most modern look in Europe.
Returning from the east to Kyiv at this time leaves a rather ambiguous impression. After Saltivka’s silence, there is Khreshchatyk, full of people and smiles. After the roar of artillery on the frontline – the relaxation of Kyiv residents who today walked the city. On the City Day, the Day of Kyiv, which is celebrated by thousands of people every year.
But it is for such happiness to live, live your normal life and just quietly walk the streets of your own city that this war is going on now. That’s what we are fighting for in it. For everyone in Ukraine. Freedom and peace is what could really be felt in Kyiv today. Even in spite of the air-raid siren that sounded today as well.
So, I wish you, the people of Kyiv, to keep this peace – the peace of life. Take care of your city. And be sure to remember what it cost to defend the capital. Remember how many lives were given for the capital.
I understand that in your eyes – it’s summer already. I understand all this. But I want you to have an understanding – we still have to fight. The war is not over yet.
Sophia and Lavra, Andriivskyi, Podil, Volodymyrska, Reytarska, Lypky and Khreshchatyk… I am grateful to everyone who made sure that the occupiers would never have a place here in Kyiv again.
And I am very much looking forward to the day when I will be able to say similar words to another of our cities. A city that should celebrate its Day today in the same way as Kyiv. But… Russia came too close to it. It gathered too many forces in our Donbas. It was too prepared for the offensive there. I consider it very symbolic that the Russian military began the attempt to capture Severodonetsk by entering a hotel called “Myr” (Peace – ed.). Peace is indeed Russia’s first target.
Having taken away our peace in 2014, the occupiers want to take away everything else. Literally everything. They want to leave us neither freedom, nor houses, nor life.
As a result of the Russian strikes at Severodonetsk, the entire critical infrastructure of the city has already been destroyed. 90% of houses are damaged. More than two-thirds of the city’s housing stock has been completely destroyed. There is no mobile connection. Constant shelling.
Capturing Severodonetsk is a fundamental task for the occupying contingent. And they don’t care how many lives they will have to pay for this attempt to raise the Russian flag on 32 Druzhby Narodiv boulevard (Friendship of Nations – ed.) – no matter how bitter the name sounds now – where the Severodonetsk administration is located.
We are doing everything to repel this offensive. There was not a day that we did not try to find more weapons, more modern weapons to defend our land, to defend our people.
And I am grateful to everyone who defends Severodonetsk and demonstrates to the occupiers that peace will still be ours. In all our state, in all Donbas and of course – in Severodonetsk.
And another city I want to address today. For me, of course, the city is special. My native Kryvyi (Kryvyi Rih – ed.) also celebrates its birthday today. Already 247th. It would celebrate. But the time is not appropriate. The conditions are not appropriate. And the enemy is still on our land. The time to celebrate will be after our victory. And it will come.
And today I want to wish just that – to my hometown and to all cities and communities of our great country. A shorter time to victory. We must all work for this – each and every one without exception.
In my inaugural speech three years ago, I said that each of us is a president. And right now it is felt the most. Because our future depends not only on my actions in this office, the office of the President of Ukraine, or on what is being done in other offices in Kyiv. But also on what is being done in Kharkiv, Sumy, Kryvyi Rih and Odesa, Lviv and Uzhhorod, Lutsk and Vinnytsia, Mykolaiv and Dnipro, Zhytomyr and Chernihiv, Poltava and Kropyvnytskyi, Chernivtsi, Frankivsk, Ternopil, Rivne, Khmelnytskyi and Cherkasy. Of course, in Kherson, in the Zaporizhzhia region, and in all territories of our Donbas and Crimea.
The unity I saw with my own eyes today in Kharkiv. The heroism our soldiers in Donbas show every day. The determination of Kryvyi Rih. This is our path. The path to ensure that the peace of life is always felt throughout Ukraine and that smiles always reign, not the roar of artillery.
Eternal glory to all who defend our state!
Eternal memory to everyone who died for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!