Dear President Gribauskaite,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I arrived here today with very vivid memories of this conference from last year.
It was just before Ukraine was to pay the bitter price of over hundred innocent lives lost on Maidan for the right to become a democratic and European state.
I had felt such pride for my country here in Munich.
For 50 times this gathering has recognized that commitment, responsibility and values are the fundamental cornerstones of global peace and security.
I felt so proud then, because Ukraine had reminded Europe and the world that democracy and values are worth fighting for.
That was a time when we believed in international law.
The confidence that territorial claims, aggression, a right of might belonged to the past, at least in Europe.
But now, this confidence has been shattered.
The year 2014 rolled the time back – decades, if not centuries.
Our neighbor has breached international law and annexed a part of our territory.
Today, a formerly strategic partner is waging a hybrid war against a sovereign state, a co-founder of the United Nations.
Mounds of lies and propaganda have been heaped into a wall of hatred, erected between two once friendly nations.
The border routes, once used for transporting goods and exchange of visitors and friends, are now swarming with Russian tanks, armed personnel carriers, artillery, multiple-rocket-launchers and ammunition.
How many evidences does the world still need to recognize an obvious fact – there is a foreign military equipment, mercenaries, Russian military coaches and regular troops.
This last year has become a spiraling tragedy for my nation.
The death toll of the Ukrainian soldiers defending their land from aggressor is constantly rising.
Here there is the passports and documents of Russian soldiers and officers who came to us and “got lost” their way. This is the best evidence of the presence of Russian troops which killing Ukrainian soldiers and Ukrainian civilians.
Thousands of people have been killed since last April.
More than ten thousands wounded.
Hundreds and thousands of civilians have become innocent victims of terrorists financed, trained and equipped by Russia.
298 innocent victims of the downed MH17 flight; 16 killed in a bus shelled in Volnovakha, 8 dead in a trolleybus shelled in Donetsk; 31 civilian casualties of Mariupol shelling by Russian-provided rockets.
The children of Debaltseve will never be able to get rid of the memories of the nights they spent in freezing basements hiding from the explosions and the blasts.
One million internally displaced persons have escaped the horrors of the war. But the trauma they have suffered will never be healed.
I would like to thank our international partners for their humanitarian support helping these people to start life from a new slate.
Nadia Savchenko has spent 237 days in a Russian prison and is now slowly dying in the 57th day of a hunger strike against her illegal abduction and imprisonment.
This is all highly reminiscent of the Soviet repressive machine now applied to break the courage of a Ukrainian woman – an officer of the Ukrainian Air Force.
We say “free Nadiya”, but we mean that every single Ukrainian, who was captured and tortured just for defending their land must be released.
The war exhausts Ukraine daily affecting the lives of its citizens. We have lost 20 percent of our industrial output. 10 percent of industrial infrastructure is in ruins.
The fighting in Donbas threatens a technological disaster on a global scale. One of the biggest nuclear power plants in Europe, Energodar, is just 280 kilometers from Mariupol.
The aggression against Ukraine has opened a Pandora’s Box for the international security.
It must be clear that there are no temporary solutions. This conflict must be resolved, not frozen.
It is now clear that if Ukraine does not succeed in restoring peace and its territorial integrity, the revision of borders, spread of terrorism, humanitarian and technological disasters, flexing of nuclear mussels will continue.
It is a pleasure to share this panel with my friends – the Presidents of Bulgaria, Finland, and Lithuania.
If there are not many Finns who still remember Russian aggression, there are many Lithuanians who still mourn their loved ones lost in the fight for their independence against the Kremlin.
And I am sure that the majority of Bulgarians still remember the realities of socialism and would never go back to the Moscow orbit again.
Today Ukraine has to fight for its independence and its freedom. We must defend our land.
But from the very beginning Ukraine has been committed to peace and has remained coherent and consistent on the peace process.
As a President of Peace, I presented my Plan. Its logic is laid down in the Minsk Protocol signed on the September 5, 2014 by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the OSCE and the separatists.
These are very concrete steps to restore peace and facilitate the political dialogue.
We immediately declared the ceasefire and signed the Memorandum on the line of disengagement and withdrawal of heavy weaponry on September 19, 2014.
We were ready to hold a political dialogue with those parties who are credible to represent Donbas based on the democratic approach – elections.
The Ukrainian Parliament passed the Law to provide wider authority to regional, municipal and local authorities of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and it passed the Law on Amnesty.
We will never recognize fake elections held by separatists on their controlled territories on November 2 under the barrels of machine guns.
I would like to stress that a non-military and diplomatic solution remains the only remedy to this situation. And I would like to reiterate that the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum are still on the table.
We want to stop the bloodshed and are ready for an immediate – but bilateral – ceasefire, to be monitored and verified by the OSCE.
We urge the withdrawal of weaponry, the closing of the border, and the release of all hostages, including Nadia Savchenko.
Once there is no threat of an offensive operation, we stand ready to hold local elections in Donbas under Ukrainian legislation and the observation of the OSCE/ODIHR.
We are committed to continuing the further political dialogue with the democratically elected representatives.
We have started Constitutional reform with the aim of continuing the decentralization process and yielding wider administrative, financial and cultural authorities to the regions.
We are stripping our members of parliament and judges of immunity and are conducting rigid anti-corruption reforms.
These efforts are parts of a comprehensive process to restore the confidence of the Ukrainian people in their institutions and make the world believe in Ukraine.
I am very grateful to Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande for coming to Kyiv on Thursday to intensify our efforts at resuming peace.
We truly hope that these proposals stemming from the Minsk agreements will resonate in the efforts of Russia, whose commitment to peace is enshrined in the Minsk agreements.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The restoration of peace is our ultimate goal, but it will take commitment and joint effort.
A few days ago, Germany and the whole world lost one of the most prominent figures in modern history.
Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker had played a decisive role not only in the process of German reunification, but in the fate of Ukraine as well.
It was President von Weizsäcker who, in his letter addressed to my predecessor Leonid Kravchuk on December 26, 1991, recognized our independence.
Once he said that “the German question will remain open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed.”
In the spirit of these words of a great German mind, I would simply like to reiterate that the Ukrainian question will remain unsolved as long as the hearts of people and politicians in the West are closed to providing solid, practical support to strengthen Ukraine’s independence politically and economically, but also militarily.
Ukraine greatly needs defensive military support to ensure the ceasefire and contain the aggression.
I know many experts have argued that enhancing us militarily would provoke further aggression. On the contrary, we have seen that the lack of defense capabilities triggers offensive operation against Ukraine and spins the escalation.
Over the course of the conflict we have proven to be responsible and that we will not use the defensive equipment to attack.
The stronger is our defense – the more convincing is our diplomatic voice.
We stand ready for comprehensive and immediate cease-fire. So should be Russia, without any precondition. Unfortunately, we do not see its readiness so far.
In the same time, complete and responsible road to peace in Ukraine should be part of a broader context of how to restore confidence in the international order.
The trust is broken. But it is not the system that should not be trusted, but those who betrayed that trust.
They need to be stopped, contained, and placed back in the framework, which is balanced and regulated on a multilateral basis.
This year we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act.
I’m convinced that we need a concrete mechanism to prevent brutal violation by countries of their own international commitments taken under fundamental documents, in particular the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter.
Such behavior in the international relations should be no more tolerated in Europe. I am talking about a new European Responsibility Charter.
In this document, countries could reconfirm their previous international obligations. The Charter could also provide clear instruments and mechanisms to punish for their violations. We are ready to present our view and proposals to this Charter for further consideration of the OSCE.
As we approach the 2015, Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Treaty Review Conference is to be held in New York this May. Let me also dwell on another important aspect of the current international security environment.
It is related to one of the consequences of the Ukrainian crisis, which I would call "a broken promise on Ukraine".
I mean Russia's clear violation of the 1994 Budapest memorandum, in which, together with the UK and the US, it pledged to respect my country's sovereignty and territorial integrity in return for Ukraine joining the NPT and giving up nuclear weapons. It has already created a profound challenge for the existing international non-proliferation regime.
Russian aggression undermines the value and credibility of negative security assurances issued by any nuclear-weapon-state.
The whole process of non-proliferation is put under question, when non-nuclear-weapon-states feel safe no more while dealing with nuclear ones.
In this regard, we need to design new mechanisms to reinforce the sanctity of international law, the primary bastion of many states who lack other means of protection.
Another field to draw attention to is a lack of legal responsibility under the international law for cynical and aggressive propaganda used to encourage and incite ethnic, racial or religious hatred.
For just a year the number of Russian citizens who were thinking bad or very bad about Ukraine has grown from 26 to 59 per cent.
We have to create legal international tools and mechanisms to counteract propaganda, to make the countries to behave responsibly and to maintain the principle of non-intervention into internal affairs of another state.
For over a year Ukraine has been facing dramatic consequences of an undeclared hybrid warfare. It is very important that the states in the region devote more attention to hybrid threats.
We need a clear strategic concept with a wide-range of response instruments to tackle this complex problem and to enhance the responsibility for applying hybrid war tactics.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In few days, the March of Unity and Peace will take place in Kyiv to commemorate Maidan heros. To pay the tribute to those who perished in a struggle for freedom of their land. To pray for those who are still fighting.
Remembering the most dramatic days of Maidan, I hope that the most difficult time of Donbas bloodshed is over.
We will come out again to demonstrate that Ukraine is united in a strive for peace and transformations. We still have a lot of work to do to change the country.
We look forward to Riga EU-Eastern Partnership Summit, where we should no longer talk about the war or sanctions. I want to meet our European partners to finally talk about:
how we cooperate to strengthen peace; how we interact to support reforms in Ukraine;
how we introduce a visa-free regime for the Ukrainian people;
and how we honor the goals and fulfill the dreams of the Ukrainian people in entering the European family.
Press Office of the President of Ukraine