From victory in war to victory in peace – speech by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Counsil of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov at Halifax International Security Forum
Ladies and gentlemen!
I will not talk about the situation on the frontlines, the bravery of Ukrainian soldiers, or the difficulties that the Russian war brought upon the Ukrainian economy.
That the Ukrainian state, despite all Russia's attempts to break it, continues to perform its functions, maintain the economy, and support its citizens.
That our energy and other critical infrastructure, which is attacked daily, is still functioning thanks to our heroic workers.
And that our people, sitting for hours under Russian shelling without light, water, or communications, believe now more than ever in the victory of Ukraine and the establishment of justice with respect to Russia.
So, I will say one thing – victory will be ours. For us, victory is not only victory in the war and returning to the borders of 1991.
For us, this is also the victory in peace. It means preventing repeated aggression, preserving peace in society, and transitioning to rebuilding Ukraine and its transformation into an advanced European state.
For this, we and our allies need to ensure the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and create the architecture of strategic initiatives during the Transitional Period.
This period after the end of the war and before the start of systemic recovery will be no less difficult.
We understand that many challenges await us on this path: rebuilding infrastructure and the economy, overcoming the humanitarian crisis, and restoring the environment destroyed by the war. We cannot allow internal conflicts in society and its radicalization or splits in political elites.
Without a doubt, Russia will not abandon attempts, even if weakened ones, to destabilize Ukraine through hybrid attacks in the grey zone. However, I am sure that our state and society will be able to overcome all these challenges with dignity, just as it will overcome the war.
And also, the measures of the Transitional Period require integration of efforts with our strategic allies, which will be impossible without a clear and consolidated vision of the state's foreign and domestic political development among all players.
This task will involve maintaining guarantees of stable peace to prevent repeated aggressions by Russia, establishing justice and holding Russia to international legal responsibility, ensuring European integration and transition to rebuilding Ukraine as an advanced European democratic state. Preserving and strengthening the cohesion and stability that Ukrainians demonstrated during the war is also extremely important.
The foundation for a successful Transitional Period is in three components: social cohesion, the development of the state and its institutional capacities, and the establishment of the rule of law.
Such a framework of the Transitional Period is determined by the needs and demands of Ukrainian society, which are changing significantly during the war. During the war, a new social contract is being forged.
As is shown by the opinion polls, Ukrainians are more eager than ever to establish a full-fledged democratic system, the rule of law, and a departure from oligarchic and corrupt practices. The demand for the restoration of dignity and justice is powerful. The orientation of foreign policy development towards joining the EU and NATO also became the most defined during the entire period of our Independence.
These requests and needs of the Ukrainian society should become the basis for the functioning of the state in order to preserve the democratic connection between society and the government, avoid internal conflicts and maintain stable peace.
The essential requirement for Ukraine to go through this difficult period successfully and create a foundation for the systemic rebuilding of Ukraine is strengthening the capabilities of state institutions.
We are faced with the challenge of finding a balance between the deep transformation of state institutions and the uninterrupted performance of critical functions of the state under conditions of limitation of all types of resources: ensuring defense capabilities, economic and financial systems, maintaining human security and environmental safety, mitigating the humanitarian crisis.
The movement towards EU membership is an incredible support for us on this path. It creates benchmarks for implementing public administration standards based on mutually integrated policies and a whole-of-government approach, ensuring transparency and accountability of governance and the rule of law. Strengthening the state's institutional capacity, including with our allies' help, should become a top priority of the Transitional Period based on national leadership.
Russia has been investing a huge amount of resources in destabilizing Ukrainian society long before the start of full-scale aggression, throughout the entire period of Ukraine's Independence. Now, because of the destruction of critical infrastructure, it has chosen this dimension of war.
But the key goal is the destruction of cohesion, unity, and trust between society and the government. Therefore, the ability of the state to perform its functions becomes a critical condition for the victory of Ukraine.
Moreover, Russia attacks not only Ukrainian society. Russia's attempts to destabilize societies and destroy their ties with the state through hybrid operations are well known in other stable democracies. In this, we have similar challenges, and the resilience of our societies should become another shared goal, without which the national security of democratic states is impossible.
It will be critically important to create effective mechanisms for consolidating the efforts and resources of our international allies based on the integrated strategic architecture of the Transitional Period and the reconstruction of Ukraine. This is a necessary step to avoid the repetition of unsuccessful post-war reconstruction scenarios.
The performance of critical functions by the state is also vital for maintaining and strengthening the level of social cohesion. Ukrainian society has shown its initiative, ability to self-organize and build and use horizontal connections. This became one of the main pillars of Ukraine's combat capability and the organization of resistance to Russia.
During the months of the war, Ukraine has achieved a high level of social cohesion, probably the highest in the world. This is a powerful strategic capital of Ukraine, which must be preserved and strengthened. And this can be a good example for other democratic countries whose societies are also targeted by Russia.
The support for the government and the vectors of development of the state and its institutions depends on the society. Therefore, this Strategic Framework is based on the analysis of the requests and needs of society. This will be a guarantee of avoiding internal conflicts, preserving cohesion and democratic support of the state leadership.
These processes should engage not only national and local authorities but also cultural and religious organizations, the public, businesses, and youth. Our essential task will be to restore the demographic resource by creating favourable conditions for the return and reintegration of Ukrainians.
We will move forward, and our actions will also be aimed at building the Ukrainian political nation, which is defined by self-identification with Ukraine, the desire to protect and develop it, regardless of ethnic, linguistic or religious affiliation.
The Ukrainian political nation is built around a shared vision of the future, common values and a higher-than-ever level of faith in the future of Ukraine as a peaceful, strong and prosperous state that will become a safe home for future generations.
Such a shared vision is necessary for the stabilization of political processes and vectors of domestic and foreign political development and support for steady European integration.
It needs clear signals from our allies, primarily the USA and European states, regarding their support for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic and European course and clear prospects for integration into these structures to avoid disappointment and the development of internal conflicts.
To support nation-building, we need to create policies that will promote the free development of Ukrainian culture and the culture of national minorities, the formation of a shared politics of memory, and the reintegration of residents of de-occupied territories. Such policies should also ensure the free development of the individual and the provision of human rights and freedoms.
All these steps will become an impetus for economic development and political stabilization, making Ukraine a reliable ally.
The most important thing is that they will become a guarantee of stable peace.
Thank you for your attention and an honor to make a speech at Halifax Forum!
Glory to Ukraine!