Speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the International Summit of Cities and Regions

Speech by the President of Ukraine, Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, at the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv on 20 April 2023.


Thank you very much. Thank you. Greetings to all of the countries represented in Congress, regional and local Governments of Ukraine, a new level of collaboration on our platform, our communities, communities and countries, Ukrainians value and local governments. Yes, I’m happy to have you here and all the representatives of the institution of the European Union of the Council of Europe Governments of our mayors of cities of municipalities. Thank you for your information and please note that was confirmed our defense Russian aggression against and this is an expression of our national experience. We as a nation can stay together, our interest, our interest and our national security starts with understanding that every community needs to have a chance to have a normal and respected life and we can fight together as we. I’m thankful to our country together with the government, our victory, closer, our joint victory. Thank you very much to all the people who are here offline and online. You can see that instead of Russia is throwing people on the front line, people who don’t understand what they are fighting for what they are dying for their land and the occupants are bringing evil here because the Russian system, this is how the Russian system exists. They want to the humiliation of human lives, a normal life and try to expand it outside of their borders with Russian missiles. Russian bombs, Russian artillery against everything associated with normal Ukrainian system. Just like any other European structure is something that is quite different to what exists in Russia. Our strength is in our people, in our communities, in our ability to act the common goal in a decentralized manner. When it’s needed, we need unity. We can do that with people’s trust their trust in Ukraine in their country and their defenders, men and women, trusting each other. I am thankful to our communities and our people. No, I shouldn’t believe them. It’s about more skin. If we consider this clash of ideas, the victory of our country, that will be the victory of idea idea that every person is important, every single person, every single community, every single city country, instead of Ukrainian life life that our people respect just like they respect every human being, their participants, their partners, inviting you to build relations with the Congress of local and regional governments, with Ukrainian communities. In order to our collaboration system, new system to protect our life life that is free, that is based on simple, based on cooperation. And here in Ukraine, we can see what aggression can bring to any country. If we fail to do something about it, it will be replicated somewhere and we know what standards are required for our cities and villages. I’m sure that is what any security, energy infrastructure and this infrastructure was. So here in Ukraine, guarantee protection of under any circumstance. And I’m inviting you to participate in the development of new infrastructure, safety, infrastructure in Ukraine to make sure that we can start the same thing, we can build the same thing in other countries, starting with the bomb shelters to cyber security for all systems in the country, protected infrastructure and the new energy system in the country on the national level that is impossible to destroy missile terror. Like one that is used by Russian Federation against us. I would like to say a special thanks to all of the countries present here, all people, all communities and people that is most important, ordinary people and leaders, people who help Ukraine still help Ukraine to survive this period period of our infrastructure. And I’m thankful to everyone who helped us and I would like to emphasize the assistance Paris became one of the leaders of for Ukraine consolidated energy. I really appreciate that in Paris after which our partners supplied us with equipment to all of us, to all communities, they helped us. But the light, the light and Ukraine found a special award. You know, that lot of our partner received that award from us and I will have the honor to award to the mayor of Paris to Mrs. Hidalgo. She’s here. She, she should be somewhere there. Congratulations. Thank you so much. Would you like to come up here?

We have questions so always have questions about organizing our protocols. So I guess I am supposed to give somewhere else. I don’t really understand what’s going on. Yes. Ok. Ok. Come over here. Yeah, sure. Do we have the awards in?

Ok. This is how we did it. Just a handshake. So are we going to have it?

Ok, we’re going to have it. Don’t worry. Yeah. Well, probably give you the award later. No, we will definitely do that probably by the end of my speech. Thank you very much. Indeed, president, the president support that initiative participants. Ladies and gentlemen, they are meeting my mind probably talking too much. But I like to say that this assistance is quite important and this assistance, Ukraine will become a reliable example for, for cities. And after Russian aggression has caused so much damage, Ukrainian victory needs to bring new safety standards to the word new experience, the joint efforts, new economic potential, new possibilities to the fan and the draft together on the international level, national community level. And after completing the decentralization just before the war, they gave us a lot of resources and this Congress is about respecting every community. We need to provide every satisfy their needs and interests. This is why we have central government engaged this executive power, legislative power and we do them all together so that communities don’t have the central government so that communities can interact faster. Now, we have international components. I’m sure we can implement this full extent and this is what we do, we do it in full extent to protect our country, but to protect our people to make sure. So this bring energy and strength of our population, including the alliance represented by Secretary General of the Alliance and Ukraine will become part of that alliance one day and we make sure that happens as soon as possible. Thank you very much for your attention, I guess without further ado glory. Ok. Right. Thank you very much, Mr. President to the UN Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.

Thank you so much. Um President uh Ministers, Excellence, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, Mr. President, thank you so much for hosting me here today together with my delegation. It’s really an honor to be back in Kiev and to meet with you, we have just finished important meetings where we have discussed how we can continue to work closely together. And it is also an order for me to be here and be able to address this international summit of cities and regions. So Mr. President, let me first pay tribute to your leadership, the bravery of your military forces and the resilience of the Ukrainian people. Your fierce fighting to preserve freedom has inspired the whole world. And I also want to express my deepest condolences for every Ukrainian casualty. It was an honor to lay a wreath at the wall of remembrance of the fallen of Ukraine earlier today. This is my fourth visit to Ukraine as Secretary General of NATO. And over the years I have had the privilege of visiting a number of Ukrainian cities including of course, Kiev Lev Odessa Yavari and us. And I’m glad to see so many local leaders here today and that you have such a forward looking agenda focusing on post war reconstruction and improving quality of life for the Ukrainian people. This is another demonstration of your country’s incredible unity and resolve in the face of adversity. I’m also glad to welcome civic leaders from across the alliance and beyond to this summit. From Paris to, to and Tamper Ukraine has strong and committed friends all over the world. NATO is a true friend of Ukraine and in your time of need, we are by your side. Oh, oh, after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 NATO and allies mobilized major assistance for Ukraine including support for cyber defense command and control, logistics, medical reputation, and modernizing your armed forces. Critically. NATO allies have also been training tens of thousands of Ukrainian forces. And I saw the importance of that myself when I visited Ukraine for the first time as Secretary General back in 2015, when I visited the training camp in Yavari together with then President Poroshenko since last February NATO allies have delivered unprecedented military support and also economic and humanitarian support worth ‚Ǩ150 billion in total. This includes ‚Ǩ65 billion of military aid which has proven vitally in driving the invading Russian forces out of your cities and out of your country. Allies are now providing more jets, tanks and armored vehicles. All of this support is making real difference on the battlefield. Today, NATO allies supports also include tens of billions of Euros in financial and humanitarian aid ranging from governmental grants for food, medicine and de mining equipment. Earlier today I visited but shop I was deeply moved by what I saw there, evidence of horrific atrocities perpetrated against the Ukrainian people. And as we returned to Kiev, my car drove along roads that passed through minefields. It was a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead and the long road to reconstruction, but Ukraine will not travel that road alone and that is exactly why we are here together today at NATO. We are also focused on Ukraine’s post war needs. Most important of all you need to know that Russia will not wage war against you again. Building on your existing, on our existing support. NATO is now working on a multi-year support initiative for Ukraine. It will help you to transition from Soviet era equipment and doctrine to NATO equipment and doctrine. It will ensure full interoperability with the NATO Alliance and it will move Ukraine closer to its rightful place in the Euro Atlantic family. Ukraine’s future is in NATO. Ladies and gentlemen, Ukraine continues to face a terrible test, a brutal unprovoked war aggression by a revisionist neighbor. No city or region in this country has been left untouched and the effects continue to shake the world but Ukraine is not alone. NATO stands with you, allies and partners, stand with you too. Your determination to fight the aggressor, liberate your land and work for a brighter future. Says very clearly to me, Ukraine will prevail. So president, thank you very much again for hosting me. I look forward to welcoming you to the NATO summit in Villus in July. Thank you so much.

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