Address by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Maybe I will upset someone now, but “betrayal” is canceled. I’ll explain why, and I urge you to hear me.
Let’s start with the most important thing. Do we want the end of the war and the return of all Ukrainian territories? Yes.
Today, there is one platform where these issues can be discussed at the highest level. This is a meeting in the Normandy format.
Could it happen in the near future? No.
Why? Because there was one obstacle to this – the biggest horror story of recent weeks – the Steinmeier Formula.
Let’s see what the formula is.
Does it imply that Ukraine recognizes the annexation of Crimea and renounces Donbas? No.
Does it imply that elections in Donbas will be held tomorrow at the barrel of machine guns? No.
Why did the previous President of Ukraine announce the beginning of work on the implementation of this formula three years ago?! Did he want to betray Ukraine?
This formula means only one thing – when the so-called law on the special status of Donbas should start working.
Namely, after the local elections there, which will be held under the Constitution of Ukraine, the legislation of Ukraine, and after the publication of the OSCE report that the elections were held in accordance with international democratic standards.
That’s what Ukraine agreed with in Minsk.
Did we sign any joint agreements with the so-called DPR or LPR? No.
We have sent a separate letter to Mr. Sajdik confirming the position’s agreement on the text of this formula.
What’s next? Elections in Donbas tomorrow? No.
Next, there will be a meeting in the Normandy format together with the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany and the President of the Russian Federation where we will discuss ways to end the war in Donbas.
My position on this issue is clear and it is in line with the position of all Ukrainians: we all understand that Donbas is Ukraine. Peace must prevail there, ceasefire must be completed and foreign military formations must be withdrawn.
We all understand that there should be Ukrainian border guards on the Ukrainian-Russian border.
An exchange of captives must take place for all our citizens to return home.
And elections should take place not at the barrel of machine guns, but under Ukrainian law, with the access of candidates from the Ukrainian political parties, the Ukrainian media and international observers, with the possibility of exercising their suffrage by all internally displaced persons.
We will discuss all this during a meeting in the Normandy format.
Will a new law on a special status be signed there? No.
This law is in force until December 31, 2019. There will be a new law.
Will we develop it ourselves and adopt it quickly? No.
We will write it together – in cooperation and public discussion with Ukrainian society. Without crossing any “red line”.
So, there is no capitulation. No surrender of Ukraine’s national interests. No agreements and global steps without the consent of the people of Ukraine.
Only the return of people and our territories, the return of captives and the return of peace.
We have a long and difficult road ahead to solve this problem.
We have to pass it together. And we need unity here.
I respect the constitutional right of every citizen of Ukraine to protest, I hear you and believe me – I will never surrender Ukraine!
At the same time, I urge everyone to consider the situation calmly and not to give in to manipulations and provocations of some persons.
They really want to exploit you, regain the possibility of plundering, become victims of political persecution and avoid criminal liability. This will not happen.
Everything will be Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!