Ukraine now symbolizes a standard of freedom in which people from different countries recognize their own standards, — Volodymyr Zelenskyy

10 September 2023

“For many in the world, Ukraine is not just a country in Europe that is defending itself against Russian aggression. For many, Ukraine is now a personal moral choice. A choice of what is really valuable to them”, the powerful words of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, at the annual meeting of Yalta European Strategy (YES), "The Future Is Being Decided in Ukraine", organized by YES in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

“Ukraine now symbolizes a standard of freedom in which people from different countries recognize their own standards. Recognize their attitude to life and the value of life. A decent, protected life. A life in which people matter," the President continued.

According to him, when it comes to this war, the question is always one of morality - about the choice between indifference and responsibility.

This moral space is much wider than just the territory of Ukraine. According to the President, it stretches from the Ukrainian trenches in Donbas, in the east, to discussions in the world's leading political offices. He described it as the space between the Ukrainian people, who are defending the state and life, and those in the world who are strengthening Ukraine with their weapons, their sanctions against Russia, their leadership that consolidates these measures.

“All of this is a huge space of constant daily moral choices for many people in many countries. And it is in this wide space that the future is born,” the President noted.

“We are defending ourselves, among other things, because the vast moral space of the world has united and is helping to defend Ukraine. Ukraine and thus a reflection of our own values. And Putin is attacking not only Ukraine, but also this moral space, which is ultimately capable of bringing to justice any terrorists and murderers, any aggressors. It is capable when it is morally mobilised," Zelenskyy said.

Concluding his speech, the President emphasised: "Human morality must win this war. And this is not only a matter for Ukraine as a state, it is a matter for Ukraine as all of us. Everyone in the world who values freedom, who values human life, who believes that people must win. And our success, the specific success of Ukraine, depends not only on us, on Ukrainians, but also on the extent to which the entire vast moral space of the world wants to preserve itself. On the extent to which the world remains morally mobilised. And I strongly believe in this. And that is why we are here".

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Andriy Kobolyev
Andriy Kobolyev
CEO, Naftogaz of Ukraine, 15th YES Annual Meeting, 2018
«Nordstream 2 is a much wider problem than just gas matters. That’s about security of Ukraine, it’s a matter of our survival.»