President Zelenskyy’s address marked the second day of the 2BS Forum. In the introduction, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Montenegro, Oleh Herasymenko, said that among all the cities in the world, there is only one city whose citizens came out in the rain and snow to support the Ukrainian struggle. That city is Cetinje, and those extraordinary people are from Cetinje, said Herasymenko in Cetinje.
On behalf of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people, I thank you for your unprecedented support. The freedom spirit of Cetinje gives Ukrainians strength and faith that we will defeat the evil of the Russian occupier. Thank you, that Montenegro is eternal, said Herasymenko.
After that, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Cetinje via video message.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressed his speech to the audience at the 2BS Forum and the citizens of Cetinje and Montenegro.
In the message broadcast at the Forum, Zelensky said that security is the key issue of our time, and without exaggeration, everything depends on what kind of answer we offer now. Not only our state institutions, but our sovereignty, borders, and political system also depend on it. It’s literally about life. About peace for all of us, said President Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyy pointed out that after many decades we have found ourselves in such conditions when we have to defend the right to life of our people. Not only this or that living conditions, not only one or another concept for life in Europe or certain regions but life itself. Russia’s war against Ukraine is just a hint of what can await any country on our continent or in other parts of the world that this aggressor can reach. I am also grateful to everyone who understands the significance of Russian aggression and who helps us – as well as helping themselves, Zelenskyy points out.
The President of Ukraine said that by analyzing the Russian war against Ukraine, states could conclude what forms and methods of protection are necessary for security. The first is unity. That’s the foundation. It is something that should always be not only a formality but also the essence. Not only at summits but also in action. Not only with those with whom I am used to cooperating but with everyone who shares common values and whose way of life is freedom. Russia is afraid of our unity. That’s why Russia tries so hard to break it. But we are only strengthening our unity. And that is why Russia cannot conquer us. Neither Ukraine, Montenegro, nor any other country in the free world, said Zelenskyy.
Where true unity is achieved, there will be peace. That’s how peace will come to us, too, he added.
The second thing is a democracy, he said. We see that the current leaders of Russia have an obsessive desire to break the principle of democratic change of government in all countries towards which they have aggressive ambitions. They do not recognize the results of elections and national movements when they lose their influence because of them. And they try to stage coups or corrupt the political process when they elect a puppet to represent their interests. We must stand firmly against it. All European countries must destroy all Russian networks of influence. To prevent the spread of misinformation, corruption, and criminal politics. This is no less important for the Balkans than for our part of Europe, Zelenskyy added.
The third, said Zelenskyy, is independence. We must recognize the obvious at all levels in Europe and the world: Russia does not threaten one country but all. Therefore, everyone should achieve complete independence from Russia so it cannot turn dependence on it into shackles: economic dependence, energy dependence, political dependence – any kind of dependence. The fourth is a weapon. It sounds a little unusual in Europe, but now we see what kind of war Russia can make literally out of nothing. Russia can blockade the sea of the country it wants to occupy. It can burn cities and villages. He can organize rocket terror, Zelenskyy pointed out.
Look at the intensity of the war we are now waging for our defense, said Zelenskyy. Look, and you will be able to estimate the number of weapons that may be needed for defense in such a war if Russia turns the territory of another country into a battlefield. No matter how difficult it is, we must provide Ukraine now so that we can restore peace to all its citizens and to Europe after this war, such an amount of weapons, such power of weapons, that Russia will never again get the desire to destroy peace, said Zelenskyy.
The fifth point is responsibility. For many years, the head of Russia and his entourage went unpunished. They destroyed democracy in their country. And they started destroying everything around Russia. They are used to stealing and taking what they like and buying those who were supposed to protect the national interests of this or that country from them. They started a war against Ukraine in 2014 because they thought they would not be punished for it. The war against Georgia showed them that. On February 24th, they invaded Ukraine on a full scale because they did not believe that the world would be able to hold them accountable not only for the crime of aggression against a sovereign state but for any crime that can be imagined, reminded the President of Ukraine.
Bringing Russia to justice, he said, means guaranteeing long-term peace after this war. The inevitability of punishment is one of the key principles of criminal justice. And we must apply this principle to the Russian leadership as they deserve it. Ladies and gentlemen! Dear friends! We must strengthen our alliances and cooperation. We must free ourselves from any kind of dependence on Russia. We must provide enough weapons and effectiveness to provide full protection in the air, on land, at sea, and in cyberspace—in this war that Russia is already waging against Ukraine and in any new war if Russia wants to expand its operations now or to repeat its aggression in the future – that is the message of the President of Ukraine.
Sanctions against Russia are mandatory, Zelenskyy added. They need not only to act but to strengthen themselves regularly so that the aggressor state does not have time to adapt. I am grateful to everyone who supports this policy! And I am grateful to everyone who works together with us to ensure that every Russian murderer and executioner receives legal punishment. I have no doubts about Ukraine’s victory. We can restore peace and freedom to the entire Ukrainian territory. The successes of our soldiers on the front line prove this. But I want to be able to say that I do not doubt the complete security of Europe and each of our people after this war. This is also possible. We know the right answers to the key question of our time, and that’s why there will be peace. Thank you for your attention! Thank you for your support! Glory to Ukraine!, concluded Zelenskyy.