Mr. Yatsenyuk, thank you for the warm welcome, it’s great to be with you all tonight. Ms. Matviychuk, I am so honored to be here today with you to introduce your lecture in commemoration of Ukraine’s Day of Unity.
Oleksandra is a powerful advocate for Ukraine, for respect for human rights, and for the values we share. You and your colleagues give me energy and strength, and I appreciate the power of your voices.
In recent weeks, Oleksandra has used the platform and the recognition the Center for Civil Liberties – and all of Ukraine’s civil society – have earned to speak with clarity, directness, and strength.
I am proud to be able to introduce her on stage and to lend my own voice in support of Ukraine, its victory on the battlefield, and a future for this country that Ukraine has fought so hard to realize.
So today, I want to say clearly: the United States supports Ukraine in this existential fight. We will be your partners in winning the war against Russia’s aggression. We will support you in building a future worthy of the sacrifices you have made. And we are proud to be a friend and partner to a Ukraine exemplified by Oleksandra.
Winning the War
I know Ukraine will prevail because of the strength of your people, and because of your relentless determination. Today, as Ukraine continues to fight across the front-lines, your determination energizes our resolve. And based on the solid foundation of bipartisan support in the American Congress, and the generosity of the American people, the United States will continue to stand with you, as President Biden has so often said, “for as long it takes.”
While Putin remains in isolation in Russia, President Zelenskyy traveled to the United States last month to meet with President Biden and to speak to the United States Congress, a powerful sign that we stand together in this strategic partnership.
The United States and our Allies and partners have continued ramping up assistance to Ukraine not only on the military side, but also to aid Ukrainian infrastructure, and help its millions of displaced people.
Our economic support continues through $13 billion in direct budget support and other measures, including to help support salaries for hundreds of thousands of teachers, health care workers, and emergency workers. We have provided civilian sector assistance to Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies.
We have provided almost $27.5 billion in military assistance since January 2021, more than $26.8 billion of that since Russia launched its premeditated, unprovoked, and brutal war on February 24.
So we stand in solidarity with more than 50 countries supporting Ukraine’s defense and, just this past week in Germany, we all saw how the world has united to continue providing the necessary military equipment for Ukraine to defend its people and its freedom against Russia.
What I can pledge to you is that more is coming. Every day there are announcements of new kinds of military aid coming to Ukraine, from HIMARS to Patriots, to Bradley and Stryker fighting vehicles.
Russia chose this war and could end it today. Until it does, we stand with all Ukrainians and will provide the assistance Ukraine needs to win this war.
Russia does not, and cannot, have the right to dictate any country’s policy, borders, or future. Only once Russia understands this fundamental point will Ukraine be secure in its internationally recognized borders and fully free to build its prosperous and democratic future, integrated into Europe in support of the desire of the Ukrainian people.
Winning the Future
The United States is fully behind you in a fight for a future in which you, the people of Ukraine, have the power to choose your path.
I want to quote President Zelenskyy from his address just yesterday, “the strength of society and the strength of the state are based on justice.” President Zelenskyy stressed the role of journalists and of law enforcement in ensuring there can be no return to prior times. And the United States fully supports this.
There is no room in the coming Ukraine that you are all building for those who would divert the state’s resources for their own interests.
Oleksandra once mentioned that the health of a society can be measured by the balance of private means spent to benefit the public interests versus the alternative, public means spent to benefit private interests.
I could not agree more with her words, and with President Zelenskyy’s words. Both know that in a strong society, people understand and uphold their responsibilities to one another.
These words are not founded in a blind faith. It is a faith rooted in years of living in a country that has wanted to take its rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic family, and not to remain on the outskirts. It is rooted in years of work and fighting for dignity and justice.
I believe those lessons, as well as the hard-won lessons of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, have mobilized Ukrainians in pursuit of a state and a government that is accountable to all of its people.
And we, the United States, will continue to support Ukraine in its efforts to reform and ensure institutions are responsive to the needs of the many, not of the few. To stamp out corrupt interests, to continue to build a government that offers everyone the same opportunity to succeed.
Those are values we share, these are the values that motivated the founding documents of the United States. I know these are the values that take a tremendous amount of work to put in practice, work that can never be finished, because democracy requires energy, effort, and relentless determination.
These are the values on which a just peace and a just state must be built. We support the vision and effort of Ukrainians to achieve these goals.
Oleksandra as Example
One of the reasons Oleksandra’s voice rings so powerfully is her consistent message that knowing this future can only be built on responsibility and justice, on respect for human rights, and an end to impunity.
This is a fitting topic today as we commemorate a day more than a century ago when the people of Ukraine, long separated by imperial ambition, became a single modern Ukrainian State.
I know that Ukraine’s desire for unity, for freedom, invigorates your fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion. Regardless of what Putin says about why he launched this unprovoked and appalling war, he is really fighting against the right of Ukraine and Ukrainians to chart their own path and to choose their own destiny.
I know Ukraine will prevail because of the strength and the ingenuity of its people and because of your dedication and dignity, qualities that Oleksandra and her colleagues embody.
She has been a friend and a partner to so many and it gives me great pleasure to be here today to honor her profound contributions.
Many on our Embassy team past and present who know her draw inspiration from her and speak of her ability to lead by example, to do so with a quiet dignity and respect.
Oleksandra has the courage of her convictions, and is using her voice to, as she says, “bridge the responsibility gap and make justice possible for all the affected people,” to quote her own Nobel lecture.
I also know that Oleksandra represents an entire team of committed people at the Center for Civil Liberties, a team whose qualities echo hers and who have demonstrated their bravery and commitment for years.
These are the qualities that make it so right for her to deliver an address in commemoration of the Day of Ukrainian Unity, and the strength of the Ukrainian people.
It is this unity of the country that has brought Ukraine to an important point in the war. And it is this unity, and a shared vision for the future, that will secure Ukraine for generations to come.
In closing, the United States stands with Ukraine and the people of Ukraine to help you win a just peace. A peace that ensures those who rebuild from the destruction of this war need not fear that the war will return. Where they know that those who have begun this war will be held to account for the horror they have brought to this country and its people.
We are proud to help enable your success and your resilience, not only through our direct support, but also by rallying partners across the world to stand strong with Ukraine. We are proud to have you as friends and our partners.
And we will support Ukraine in winning this just peace. And then, we will help Ukraine, and Ukrainians, build a just future.
And we will maintain that commitment to Ukraine’s success – and Ukraine’s choice – in the fight for the present and for the future. Thank you.