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National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

HomeNewsOrganization of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine20.05.2024, 12:03

Address of NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Lytvynenko to the 16th Baltic Sea Region Forum: «NATO 2024 and the Arctic, Europe»

IMG_6747_1.jpgAddress of NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Lytvynenko to the 16th Baltic Sea Region Forum: «NATO 2024 and the Arctic, Europe»

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to address your Forum.

Russia’s aggression continues, and my country is a key but not the only target. Putin’s strategists are planning not only to take over a large European country, but also to reshape the entire world order where power would take the place of law, arbitrariness would take the place of human rights, and authoritarianism would substitute democracy. And most importantly, slavery would replace freedom.

Putin will not be deterred by the administrative borders of Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions which he seeks to occupy, nor will he mind the state borders of NATO members. Russians understand only one language – the language of force. And in order to withstand, the Western world should be strong and ready to use this force.

The situation at the frontline is extremely difficult, but far from catastrophic. Our troops continue to fight gruelling and exhausting battles for small villages and towns in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions. But much worse, Russians are targeting critical infrastructure facilities that supply major industrial cities in eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. Putin is making good on his threat to create a grey zone. Meanwhile, not only and not so much the military, but children, women and elderly people are dying and suffering. Russians use the strategy have tested in Syria to provoke a migration crisis.

This can be stopped. But Ukraine needs advanced weaponry, lots of it. First of all, air defence systems and ammunition. We are sincerely grateful to the United States and the EU for their help, but this is not enough to stop the aggressor. It is no longer just about Ukraine, it is about the future of Europe. If today you don’t find weaponry for Ukraine, tomorrow you will have to look for it for yourselves. And what I think is more important for you is that these will be your soldiers who die. As Ukraine’s best sons and daughters are dying now.

Ukraine is clearly aware that the war will end in negotiations. That is why President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula has been prepared and is being promoted. Our position is very simple, and I am convinced that it will be supported by the participants of the Peace Summit in Switzerland in June 2024.  This is a real diplomatic track that has every chance of contributing to a just peace.

But we don’t need a 2-year armistice, we need a sustainable peace for decades that would enable Ukraine’s development. And this is a matter of security guarantees.   The security agreements that implement last year's G7 statement are no doubt an important step. And we highly appreciate the efforts of President Stubb and the entire Finnish people who know better than anyone the critical importance of security for Russia’s neighbours. However, what Ukraine needs is guarantees, and the Finnish example clearly demonstrates that today there is only one true guarantee in Europe – NATO membership. That is why we hope to get an invitation to join the Alliance at this year’s NATO Summit in Washington. We are aware that membership will not happen tomorrow, but the invitation will cool down lots of hot heads in Russia. It will contribute to de-escalation, rather than being a confrontational step.

The experience of the Bucharest Summit in 2008 clearly proved that in relations with Putin, clear certainty stabilises the situation, while its absence provokes Russia to take aggressive steps.

I’d like once again to express my gratitude for this opportunity to address your Forum. I wish you effective and fruitful work.