Victor Pinchuk Foundation and YES held discussion “Survival, Victory, Peace ” during the YES meeting in Kyiv “Two Years — Stay in the Fight”

25 February 2024

On 24 February 2024, the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and Yalta European Strategy (YES) held a discussion “Survival, Victory, Peace” on the occasion of the YES meeting in Kyiv “Two Years — Stay in the Fight” dedicated to the second anniversary of Ukraine's resistance to the full-scale invasion of Russia. Speakers discussed Ukraine’s fight for life, freedom and rules-based order as well as how to aid Ukrainians' victory in this fight for us all.

In a panel discussion moderated by Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995–2005), and Chairman of the Board of YES, The Rt Hon Boris Johnson, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Andriy Yermak, Head, Office of the President of Ukraine, discussed what Ukraine needs to win, and what changes need to be made to the world order when it does, to ensure a lasting peace for Ukraine and the rest of the world.

In his opening remarks, Alexander Kwasniewski told about his impressions of the last two years: “First of all, I have been impressed by Ukrainian heroism, what Ukraine has done has been incredible. My second impression is that Putin is wrong. He talks about Ukraine not being a nation or a state. He is wrong, this war itself shows us that Ukraine is a nation, a state, and that it works—all you need to do is travel from Poland to Ukraine by train and you can see that it works as a state.”

Andriy Yermak, Head, Office of the President of Ukraine, said, “Today is a special day, a very important day for us, Ukrainian people. No one could have imagined two years ago that we would still be here fighting for our land, but our heroic nation continues to fight, and I am absolutely sure that we will win.”

Boris Johnson, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, told the audience, “It is sad that we’re still here in a situation where Ukrainians are still having to fight for their lives against a criminal and barbaric invasion. But two years on I am more convinced than ever that Ukraine will win.

I’m lost in admiration for the heroism and sacrifice of the Ukrainian armed forces. It’s incredible. You are fighting for everybody. I wish one thing, which is that we in the West could accelerate our supply of munitions and give you the weapons now that you need. And when we get our act together properly, and we will, you will win because in the end Western industrial power is 25-30 times greater than that of Russia, and we will get you the wherewithal to get you what you need to take back your country. I just wish it were coming faster. I would urge everybody to have some strategic patience and some continence. It will not be over quickly, but it will be over. We need to do more, and do it faster.

Do not worry too much about what you think may happen in world politics, particularly in the United States of America. In the end the US, having exhausted all the available alternatives, will do the right thing. I’ve no doubt about it. They’re going through the process right now on Capitol Hill. I don’t think it is in the interest of any President of the United States, who wants to Make America Great Again, to let Vladimir Putin win in Ukraine. I really don’t. I remain defiantly optimistic.”

Returning to Andriy Yermak, Alexander Kwasniewski asked what Ukraine needs from the West in the near and medium term. Andriy Yermak replied, “Firstly we need weapons, ammunition, air defence to protect our towns, our people and our soldiers. Then we need real steps and real victory -  an invitation to join NATO - from the second Washington Summit. Not giving the invitation at to Ukraine at the Washington Summit will prompt new escalation - in the Middle East and in other regions of our planet.” Alexander Kwasniewski agreed, “We have to do it. When we speak about escalation, we show fear of escalation and it is the wrong thing to do. Please, members of the audience, go back to your governments and support the opening of doors in Washington at this time - we have no more time.”

Asked what needs to happen for a lasting peace, Andriy Yermak said, “We need as many countries as possible to support President Zelenskyy’s peace plan. When he launched his plan, 90% of countries did not believe, now I think we can say that 90% do believe.”

Boris Johnson declared: “It’s for the Ukrainian people to decide what peace they want. But I believe that in order for that to be possible three things must happen:

1. Give Ukraine the weapons it needs to win

2. Make it absolutely clear that Ukraine belongs in NATO and the EU

3. Take the $300bn of frozen assets and give it to Ukraine

Peace will come and it must come on Ukrainian terms, but be assured, people like me will back you till the end.”

Photos are available here

Video is available at the Victor Pinchuk Foundation YouTube channel

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Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
66th Secretary of State of the United States, 9th YES Annual Meeting, 2012
«Democratic transformations require time, require patience, and require support - from outside as well as from inside, from people»