The war must end. Ukraine's proposals are on the table

The war must end. Ukraine's proposals are on the table

An address by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

The war must end. Ukraine's proposals are on the table
Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine

"Usually on such days we used to say: spring has come. And now we say: the war has come. But still it’s inevitable that we will beat them all. Because we are the free people of a free country! ” – This is how the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi began his address following the results of the 23rd day of the heroic confrontation of the Ukrainian people against the Russian military invasion.

He said that on Friday, March 18, government officials worked out a decision to completely reset the customs, and as a result, "cargoes for our defense and our people will be imported into Ukraine in as straightforward a way as the laws of physics can allow it," said Volodymyr Zelensky.

He stressed that the debureaucratization of the process, the abolition of VAT and all customs duties will take the human factor out of the equation, and thus it will speed up the supply of goods to Ukraine. These decisions must be voted on by the Verkhovna Rada.

"I must emphasize that this is a decision which is vital for defense, vital to maintain a normal life during martial law. And I want to advise some deputies not to speculate on this issue. This is for our state. Not for the government or the opposition. We must all work in unity for our Ukraine, for our people. You can advertise yourselves after our victory, "the head of state said.

Regarding assistance to evacuated Ukrainians, he said he had instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to develop a comprehensive program to support all those deprived of their homes due to the war. It will consist of state support for all displaced persons and their workplaces. Also, according to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Government is preparing specific proposals for housing for IDPs right now. And also they are organizing the reconstruction of destroyed housing after the war.

Also, according to the President of Ukraine, support will be given to families who have accommodated people from the territories of warzone or temporary occupation. "At the very least, they will be reimbursed for the cost of utilities associated with the stay of migrants," he said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that a coordination headquarters had been set up to regulate all issues related to the delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. And with Andriy Yermak chairing the headquarters, a meeting had already been held with Ukrainian ambassadors to intensify the supply of humanitarian goods to Ukraine, primarily to help internally displaced persons.

He also noted that he instructed government officials together with the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide assistance to those citizens of Ukraine who are abroad.

"Today, there were seven humanitarian corridors in Ukraine. Six – in the Sumy region, one – in the Donetsk region. More than 9,000 people were evacuated from besieged Mariupol. In total, more than 180,000 Ukrainians have been evacuated since the humanitarian corridors were set up. Hundreds of tons of essential goods have been delivered, "Volodymyr Zelenskyi said, noting that the occupiers continue to block the supply of humanitarian goods in most directions to the besieged cities.

"They are absolutely aware of this tactic. They have a clear order to do absolutely everything to turn the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian cities into a "good reason" for Ukrainians to cooperate with the occupiers. This is a war crime. They will be responsible for this. I’m positive about it. Every Russian figure who gives such orders, and every Russian soldier who carries out such orders, will be identified. And they will receive a compulsory one-way ticket to The Hague. To the city where the International Criminal Court is located, "the head of state stressed.

The President of Ukraine stressed that thanks to the courage and professional training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the occupation forces have been stopped in almost all directions.

"The initial plan of the Russian military to seize our state failed. And it seems that they do not know what else they can do about it and about us. It seems that their military commanders are not able to offer their political leadership anything but cruel and erroneous tactics to deplete us, to deplete Ukraine. Anything but constant strikes on the civilian population, on peaceful cities, on people, on children, "Volodymyr Zelensky said.

He believes that such tactics of the Russian military only worsen the situation for their state. It leads to more and more devastating sanctions. It encourages new members to join the anti-war coalition. It allows us to get even those states which have always tried to remain neutral to put pressure on Russia.

"Therefore, negotiations on peace, on security for us, for Ukraine – meaningful, honest and immediate negotiations – this is the only chance for Russia to reduce the damage from its own mistakes. We have always insisted on negotiations. We have always offered dialogue, offered solutions for peace. Not just for the 23 days of invasion. And I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow. It's time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine. Otherwise, Russia's losses will be so extensive that several generations won’t be enough to rebuild Russia," the Ukrainian head of state said.

He drew a parallel between the Moscow rally on the anniversary of the capture of Crimea and the war in Ukraine. The Russian government used the same number of people at the rally as it did to invade Ukraine.

"Just imagine that there are 14,000 corpses and tens of thousands more wounded and maimed at that stadium in Moscow. These have been Russian losses from this invasion so far. This is the price of war. A little more than three weeks. The war must end. Ukraine's proposals are on the table, "Volodymyr Zelenskyi stressed.

He said that he planned to speak to the Swiss, Israel, Italy and Japan with a call for peace for Ukraine. "The world hears Ukraine's position. The world supports our defenders, defenders of Ukraine," the President of Ukraine said.

"Today I want to express my special and sincere gratitude to each defender of our strong Mariupol. Our heroic city, which is experiencing the greatest test in its history, in the history of Ukraine. 36th Separate Marine Brigade. 501st Separate Marine Battalion. 1st Separate Marine Battalion. 12th Brigade of the National Guard. And Special Purpose Separate Detachment "Azov". I am grateful to each and every one of all our defenders of Mariupol. I am grateful to everyone and everyone who defends Ukraine, "Volodymyr Zelenskyi said at the end of his speech.

He also said that at the request of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine he awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to Colonel Volodymyr Anatoliyovych Baranyuk, Commander of Special Purpose Separate Detachment "Azov" for his courage, effective actions to repel enemy attacks and the defense of the hero-city of Mariupol.

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