There are three points that I would like you to take away from this event:
There is no alternative to firmly anchoring Ukraine in the West where it has always belonged;
Europe’s security is indivisible from that of Ukraine;
Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU is in the best strategic interest of the West.
Now, let us look into each of these points more closely.
In previous decades, Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration felt like a quest for that elusive line where the sky meets the earth.
However, strategic ambiguity regarding Ukraine's membership in the EU and NATO has been one of the most serious strategic errors. Western policymakers may have justified their indecision by presenting it as a cautious policy designed to appease Russia's fears. In reality, there was no strategy at all.
Poor understanding of Ukraine, refusal to judge it on its own merits, failure to see Ukraine as a self-sufficient partner, not a 'nuance' in Western Russia policy. It's difficult to say what gave rise to these deceptive policies. Lack of Ukrainian studies in the West, lack of strong Ukrainian voices, or lack of a broader strategic vision within the EU and NATO. But the fact is that we have been kept at a distance of a friendly handshake.
Russia, unlike the West, has always had a long-term Ukraine policy. Russia acted where the West hesitated. And the longer the EU and NATO doors for Ukraine remained wide shut, the more sure Putin became that he could expand Russia’s borders westward with little or no consequences.
It took Ukraine's resistance to Russia's genocidal aggression to finally drive home the point that Ukraine is a part of Europe and the West. We're not looking for abstract "European horizons." Ukraine isn't going anywhere; it fights for the right to stay where it has always been: in Europe.
This is historically correct. Ukraine has been a part of the European project since the time of ancient Rus'. When Kyiv Prince Volodymyr the Great chose Christianity, he chose Europe. Yaroslav the Wise continued on this path when he married three of his daughters to European royalty.
Ruthenian elites in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ukraine's cossack state, and the Ukrainian People's Republic in the early twentieth century. Ukraine would have always developed the European way if not for Russian imperialism.
Russia has stolen Ukraine from its European home, attempting to ban the Ukrainian language and erase Ukrainian identity. In 1917, the Russian empire collapsed, but it quickly rose again as the Soviet Union. The Holodomor genocide and 70 years of Soviet oppression, concentration camps, and tyranny followed. The empire fell again in 1991. But Russians have never worked through their imperial and totalitarian past.
Today, Putin believes that his 19th-century-style conquest campaign will restore the empire. However, what is actually taking place is the third fall of the empire. From a historical standpoint, it is clear that only a Ukrainian victory can keep the world from descending into the darkest eras of imperial wars and spheres of influence.
This brings me to my second point. The security of Ukraine and wider Europe is indivisible.
Let's speculate for a moment. What would European security look like if Ukraine fell within days of the invasion, as some predicted?
The international stance, credibility, and influence of NATO and the EU would have reached an all-time low. The security and well-being of millions of Western families would be jeopardized.
There should be no mistake that an emboldened Moscow would look for new targets. Moldova, the Balkans, Central Europe, and the Baltic states. Putin was not going to stop in Ukraine.
Thus, it is clear how fundamentally connected Ukraine's security is to that of Europe.
Our partners are becoming more and more aware of this. In terms of providing Ukraine with military support, what was unthinkable a little over a year ago is now a reality. A lot has been promised, but it must come as soon as possible to give Ukraine a decisive advantage. There should be no taboo about providing Ukraine with any types of weapons. Everything, including combat aviation, must be provided to Ukraine.
I believe that what King George VI said on the day that allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy is still very relevant today. He said, “This time, the challenge is not to fight to survive but to fight to win the final victory for the good cause."
Today's good cause is clear: protection of the international order and the UN Charter, international law, and the fundamental principles of sovereignty, equality, human rights, and basic freedoms. In a nutshell, everything that has ensured decades of peaceful development for millions of people in the West.
Ukraine fights for a world that is prosperous, peaceful, free, and democratic for all.
This leads me to my final point. Only by integrating Ukraine into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions can we ensure such a world.
Ukraine’s entry into the EU and NATO should not be seen as a charity or a payoff. It is in the best pragmatic interest of the European community.
The EU and NATO membership of Ukraine will guarantee long-term peace and stability. On the other hand, adding more ambiguity would be incredibly reckless. Half-baked solutions, like keeping Ukraine in the background or in the waiting room, would invariably result in new Russian aggression, which is not in Europe's best interests.
It is no longer necessary to consider what Moscow might say. Putin is done. He laid out all of his cards on the desk. He is bankrupt. But Ukraine must triumph in order to ensure that he is not rewarded for what he has done. And we will, with the steadfast and prompt assistance of our partners.
With that, I wish you all interesting, engaging, and constructive discussions today.
Thank you for your attention, and Slava Ukraini!