Opening address by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba at the Time to Decide Europe Summit 2022 in Vienna, Austria
20 May 2022 12:50

May 20th, 2022



Ladies and gentlemen,



I thank the organizers for their invitation to address you today.



War is a moment of truth. When black is black and white is white.



Now, when this full-scale war drags on for almost three months, we should not forget how it started. It started with a petrifying lengthy speech that Putin gave as he ordered 240 thousand troops to cross Ukrainian borders from all directions.



He laid it all out. And it was hardly about NATO enlargement. Or about Donbas. Or about Russia's security concerns. These were all lies, and remain lies. Putin’s speech was an imperialistic manifesto. It was about Ukraine being a mistake of history that should not have existed in his view. It was full of hatred and genocidal intent. The reason for him to give such an insane speech without even trying to mask his real intentions was that it had been designed for a blitzkrieg. He was simply so sure that in a few days ‘the Ukrainian question’ would be ‘solved’ once and for all and everyone in the world would simply have to accept the new reality.



What happened next has astonished the whole world and will go down in history as a Ukrainian miracle, a David and Goliath moment of our times. The reason for Ukraine’s successes is that this is a real people’s war for us. Putin’s speech and the massacre revealed later in Bucha leave no doubt: Russia’s intentions are much darker than anyone could have imagined. We have no other option than to fight back, survive, and ultimately prevail.



War is a moment of truth. A time to set things straight. We have warned the world for years that Russia wants war, not dialogue. We have shouted at every corner that Russia must be contained before it’s too late. We had also warned of a global food crisis if Putin decides to launch an all-out war and blocks our ports. Our warnings have been mostly disregarded and now we bear the fruits of it.



This is why at this moment of truth, we don’t mince words anymore. Even me as a diplomat. My message is clear. Please, start listening to Ukraine.



We all face some very challenging choices today. They require difficult decisions. Russia’s war on Ukraine is not only about Ukraine, and we should act together in our and your best interests. If Putin hypothetically succeeds, he will certainly go further. Help us stop him now so that you don’t have to later deal with him yourselves. We appreciate all the words of admiration, but we request some very concrete actions: providing Ukraine with heavy weapons, imposing tough sanctions on Russia, and granting Ukraine EU candidate status. These are three shortest ways to peace. The only thing that is needed is the political will in key capitals. My work is to generate it.



War is a moment of truth and we need to also clearly see the big picture. Europe is changing. The global order will never be the same. A new world is being born out of the fires of this war and it’s up to us, Europeans, to shape it. Will it be an order where the might makes right? Or an order where international law matters? Will we and our kids live in a century of war and tyranny or a century of peace and freedom? These are the questions that will be answered one way or another. None of you are spectators. You are all participants and decision-makers.



Helps us craft a new and better world order. Ukraine is the center of the global fight for freedom. Ukraine fights for a better future. Not only it’s own, but that of Europe. A future where governments are elected and accountable. A future where nations have a right to decide their own path. A future where freedom is the sacred value, both in the streets and online. A future where inventions, collaborations, and ideas matter more than weapons, oil revenues, and propaganda.



Today, we need to fight for this future and win it in a fight against tyranny and forces of the past. Including with arms in our hands, because this is the choice we are given. We need all of you aboard if you agree with Ukraine’s vision for the future of Europe. Join forces with us. By a donation, a post, a demo, a demand for your government to act. The time to decide is now. Required decisions are clear. What we need is moral clarity and bravery. War is a moment of truth and a time to act resolutely. I count on all of you in doing so.



Thank you all for your attention and wishing you a fruitful discussion today.





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