Great people of great Ukraine!
A year ago on this day, from the same place around seven in the morning, I appealed to you with a brief statement, lasting only 67 seconds. They covered two of the most important things, both then and now. The fact that Russia started a full-scale war against us—and the fact that we are strong. We are ready for anything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine!
This is how it began on February 24, 2022. The longest day of our lives. The most difficult day in our recent history. We woke up early and haven’t fallen asleep since that day.
Some were afraid, some were shocked, some didn’t know what to say, but everyone felt what to do. There were traffic jams on the roads, but many people went to get weapons. There were queues. Someone was staying in the line at the borders, but many of them—at the military commissariats and territorial defense offices.
We did not raise the white flag, but began to defend the blue-yellow one. We didn’t get scared, didn’t break down, didn’t give up. The border guards from Snake island and the route along which they sent the “Russian warship” became the symbol of [our resistance].
Our faith was strengthened. Our spirit was strengthened. We survived the first day of a full-scale war. We didn’t know what would happen tomorrow, but we definitely understood: we have to fight for every tomorrow!
And we fought. And we gnawed [at the invaders] every day. And we survived the second day. And then—the third. Three days, which were given to us for life. They threatened that we would cease to exist in 72 hours. But we survived on the fourth day. And then then the fifth. And today we have been standing for exactly one year. And we still know: we have to fight for every tomorrow!
I’m grateful to everyone who keeps our resistance going. These are all our defenders. Armed Forces of Ukraine. Ground troops, our infantry and tankers. Air Force and Navy. Artillery, air defense, paratroopers, scouts, border guards. SSO, SBU, National Guard, police, territorial defense—all of our security and defense forces. Thank you, Ukraine still stands. We endured the fierce February and the fierce beginning of the war.
Spring is coming. New attacks, new wounds, new pain. Everyone saw the real nature of our enemy. Shelling of the maternity hospital, the drama theater in Mariupol, Mykolaiv Regional State Administration, Freedom Square in Kharkiv, and the station in Kramatorsk. We saw Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka. The whole world clearly understood what “Russian peace” actually means. What is Russia capable of?
At the same time, the world saw what Ukraine is capable of. These are new heroes. Defenders of Kyiv, defenders of Azovstal. New feats performed by entire cities. Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Hostomel, Volnovakha, Bucha, Irpin, Okhtyrka. Hero cities. The capital of indomitability. New symbols. And with that—new assessments and forecasts for Ukraine.
The first month of the war. And the first turning point in the war. The first changes in the world’s perception of Ukraine. It did not fall for three days. It stopped the second army of the world.
We suffered from new blows every day, we learned about new tragedies every day, but we persevered thanks to those who gave their all every day, for the sake of others.
This is all about our medics who rescue wounded soldiers on the front lines, who perform operations under fire, who give birth in bomb shelters, and stay on duty for days and weeks, like our rescuers and firefighters who pull people out of rubble and fires 24/7. And our railway workers, who without sleep or stop have evacuated hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians since the beginning of the war.
And then there were the first offensives, the first acquisitions, the first liberated territories. The first and not the last Chornobayivka. The expulsion of the occupiers from Kyiv Oblast, Sumy Oblast and Chernihiv Oblast. Our “Stugna”. “Wilha”. Our “Neptune” and the cruiser “Moscow”, which went to the bottom [of the sea]. The first Ramstein, and the second Lend-Lease in all of entire history.
Ukraine surprised the world. Ukraine inspired the world. Ukraine united the world. A thousand words can be said for the proof, but a few are enough. HIMARS, Patriot, Abrams, IRIS-T, Challenger, NASAMS, Leopard.
I’m grateful to all our partners, allies and friends who stand side by side with us this year. I am glad that the international anti-Putin coalition has grown so much that it needs a separate address. I will make it soon. Necessarily.
I also thank our foreign policy army. Divisions of our diplomats, ambassadors, representatives in international organizations and institutions. All those who beat the occupiers with the fire and sword of international law seek new sanctions, the recognition of a terrorist state as a terrorist state.
The war changed the fate of many families. It rewrote the stories of our families. It changed our customs and traditions. Previously, grandfathers told their grandchildren how they beat the Nazis. Now the grandchildren tell their grandfathers how they beat the Russians. Earlier, mothers and grandmothers wove scarves, now they weave camouflage nets. Earlier, children asked Santa for smartphones and gadgets, but now they donate pocket money and collect funds for our soldiers.
In fact, every Ukrainian lost someone during the year. Father, son, brother, mother, daughter, sister. Beloved person. A close friend, colleague, neighbor, acquaintance. My condolences.
Almost everyone has at least one contact in their phone that will never pick up the phone again. Will not respond to SMS “How are you?”. These two simple words acquired a new meaning during the year of the war. Every day, millions of Ukrainians wrote or asked this question of their relatives and friends, millions of times. Every day someone never received a response.
Every day, the occupiers killed relatives and friends.
We will not erase their names either from the telephone or from our own memory. We will never forget them. We will never forgive this. We will never rest until the Russian murderers are punished: Punishment by the international tribunal, God’s judgment, our soldiers. Or all of them together.
The verdict is obvious. Nine years ago, the neighbor became an aggressor. A year ago, the aggressor became an executioner, looter and terrorist. We have no doubt that they will be held accountable. We have no doubt that victory awaits us.
We felt it in the summer. We have passed 100 days of war. We received the status of a candidate for the EU, returned Snake Island, heard the first “cotton” in Crimea, saw fireworks at the warehouses of the occupier and the Antonov bridge.
August was the first month when the invaders did not take any Ukrainian city. Threats and ultimatums about denazification have changed to gestures of goodwill. And we felt then: our victory is inevitable. It is close. It will be soon.
And then it was autumn, and our counterattack. The liberation of Izyum, Balaklia, Kupyansk, Lyman, Kherson Oblast and the city of Kherson. We saw how people met our military there. How they protected the Ukrainian flag. How they waited for Ukraine.
Now I want to address to those who are still waiting for [liberation]. To our citizens who are currently under temporary occupation: Ukraine did not leave you, did not forget about you, did not give up on you. One way or another we will liberate all of our lands. We will do everything to return Ukraine. And to everyone who is currently forced to stay abroad: we will do everything to return you to Ukraine, to make it possible [to return].
We will fight and return each of our captives. And only this all together will be a victory.
We can see it even in the dark, despite constant massive missile strikes and power outages. We see the light of this victory.
In the memories of the first feelings of February 24, 2022, people mention shock, pain, uncertainty. A year after a full-scale invasion, the confidence in victory is 95%. The main emotion we feel when we think about Ukraine is pride.
Pride in every Ukrainian man and woman. Pride in us. We became one big army. We became a team where someone finds, someone packs, someone brings, but everyone contributes.
I’m grateful to our people, to our multi-million army of volunteers and caring citizens who can collect and get everything we need.
We became a single entity. Our journalists and media are fighting against lies and panic as a united front.
We became one family. There are no more strangers among us. Ukrainians today are all their own. Ukrainians sheltered Ukrainians, opened their homes and hearts to those who were forced to escape from the war.
We withstood all threats, shelling, cluster bombs, cruise missiles, kamikaze drones, blackouts, cold. We are stronger than before.
It was a year of resilience. A year of fortitude. A year of courage. A year of pain. A year of hope. A year of aging. A year of unity.
A year of indomitability. The fierce year of indomitability.
It’s main conclusion: we persevered. We were not defeated. And we will do everything to win this year!
Glory to Ukraine!