Dear Arseniy Petrovych, Oleksandr Valentynovych, distinguished members of the Government, heads of regional state administrations, dear colleagues, dear TV viewers.
I am glad to be present at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers. This is my first participation as Head of State and I am confident that the time today requires clearly coordinated and efficient actions from us.
On Sunday, at the meeting with security officials, we agreed with the Head of the Government and the Chairman of the Parliament to hold the given meeting.
Heads of security agencies received clear instructions and I am confident that the issues of today's agenda will strengthen our defense capacity.
But before you and I will hear the relevant ministers, I would like to inform you on the efforts on the implementation of the peace plan of Ukraine.
Due to the courage and valor of Ukrainian militaries, glorious soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service in June-August, we managed to significantly reduce the area controlled by militants.
Millions of Ukrainian citizens, primarily residents of the Donbas, have been liberated from terrorist captivity.
But our heroic attack forced the enemy to resort to the direct invasion of the territory of the Ukrainian state, the use of units of the regular army of the Russian Federation, massive supply of technology and precision weapons with experts who know how to use it professionally and who calmly kill Ukrainians.
Human life is the highest value, and we must do everything possible to stop the bloodshed and put an end to suffering.
That is why I came out with the initiative for an immediate ceasefire. We agreed on this in a discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In Minsk, in the framework of Trilateral contact group, a protocol based on the peace plan of the President of Ukraine was signed.
Yes, the ceasefire regime is being introduced in difficult conditions. Terrorists from time to time are trying to provoke Ukrainian troops.
We have already held all the necessary consultations with the OSCE special monitoring group, which is already working in Kiev, that this organization will take the bulk of the burden of monitoring, verification and ensuring strict adherence to the ceasefire by all parties.
Full-scale hostilities, I want to emphasize that responsibly, are not held starting from 18.00, September 5. Unfortunately, it can not be seen on most channels, but I can say that the situation at the front has changed. Every day until September 5, especially in recent days, the country has been losing dozens of lives of its heroes, every day heart sank after receiving a call at night with a report on a regular assault, artillery shelling or salvo fire attack that took the life of the best Ukrainians.
Please honor the memory of fallen heroes with a moment of silence.
Please be seated.
What do we have now as a result of signing the Protocol?
Not only Ukrainian lives saved. Not only termination of the offensive of regular armed forces of the neighboring country.
The process of liberation of Ukrainian servicemen and civilians held captive by illegal armed groups has begun.
Already today, since the announcement of the ceasefire, nearly 700 of our citizens have been liberated. There is a clear schedule until the end of the week when another 500 Ukrainians will finally get a chance to return home.
The Minsk protocol not only provides the ceasefire, but also outlines the contours of the future political settlement.
I understand that we entered the election campaign. I understand that someone wants to create a sensation that does not exist, to continue the war, but the people of Ukraine needs peace today. I firmly believe this. And I have no doubt that the specifics of this campaign is to encourage all responsible politicians not to resort to cheap politicking and primitive political speculation. On the contrary, they should unite to preserve peace in the country.
I would like to clearly inform and emphasize that Ukraine has not made any concessions in terms of its territorial integrity and political system!
Once again I emphasize - this is a war for the independence of Ukraine, for the existence of our country. We will not surrender the issue of sovereign government, the issue of the independence or territorial integrity issues to anyone.
We remain a unitary state.
For everyone to be able to see this, I insisted that all documents signed should be immediately made public.
The Protocol provides for the restoration and preservation of the sovereignty of Ukraine on the entire territory of the Donbas - including the territory which is currently controlled by militants.
This part will also return in the legal field of Ukraine.
I draw your attention that the protocol doesn't mention any federalization or alienation.
I once again stress that such formations like DPR and LPR are not mentioned in the document at all!
It was agreed that the Law of Ukraine "On temporary order of local government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions" provides clear status of these regions within Ukraine.
Next week, the project will be submitted to the Parliament. This project provides a peaceful return of these areas under the Ukrainian sovereignty. Please support it. The fate of the world depends on it. In no way can we disrupt the peace process.
I can agree - perhaps we will not be happy with the composition of local deputies elected by residents of Luhansk and Donetsk in early elections to municipal and district councils. But isn't it better to administer policy through ballots instead of automatic gunfire and Grad volleys?
Let me be sincere, probably, only God knows how long the ceasefire regime will last. I can only assure you that the Ukrainian government will do everything possible to preserve peace.
Still, we have no grounds to take off our guard.
We are now regrouping our Armed Forces, the National Guard, border guards. Not to attack, but to ensure efficient protection of our territory.
The third wave of partial mobilization has been completed.
Three-shift work of defense enterprises of Ukraine which was set up in recent weeks makes it now possible to supply the troops with up to 30 units of armored vehicles per day.
Three defense lines of Mariupol, large group of militaries and patriotic enthusiasm of local people, residents of Mariupol determined to defend the city, create a reliable rampart against possible attack by the enemy on this prosperous and very pro-Ukrainian city. I had an opportunity to see that personally when visiting Mariupol two days ago.
Yes, our army is being created just-in-time, when we are opposed by one of the biggest armies of the world.
Military power number one in Europe. The Armed Forces of which in the last 10-15 years have been constantly upgraded and now have state-of-the-art, most advanced weapons in the world. In addition, they also plucked experience in various "hot spots."
Unfortunately, it is a continued military threat. It will not go away after the current crisis which will be finished soon. We must learn to live in such conditions. And our strategic planning horizon is not months or years. It is decades.
I draw your attention that the signing of the memorandum in Minsk has been taking place simultaneously with the NATO Summit in Newport. I can emphasize that due to the efforts of Ukrainian representatives, we have achieved the maximum possible level of cooperation between NATO and a country which is not a member of NATO.
We have managed to achieve an agreement on a significant expansion of military-technical cooperation with a number of countries at bilateral level. I have no doubt that the world today has demonstrated a desire to help us protect ourselves. But there is a reality my friends – nobody will fight for Ukraine on our territory. It is our cross, it is our sacred duty.
Yes, it is an obligation of the state to do everything possible for the Ukrainian soldier to have means of fighting, to create conditions for their efficient protection, thus, we are using international cooperation for that. But is the case of Ukrainian troops. It is our sacred duty to enhance our defense capacity.
Today we will hear the Head of the Border Service, I hope we will be able to hear the Defense Minister. I think that it is worth listening to the Head of the National Guard and the Minister of the Interior.
I am convinced that materials you will see today include clearly defined needs of our army. The Ukrainian state will do everything possible to provide everything necessary to the Ukrainian soldier. We will meet the needs in weapons, technology and money. No matter how hard it is.
Two and a half thousand years ago, ancient Greek historian Thucydides concluded that success in war depends on finances. He knew what he said, because he wrote the history of the war in which he participated.
I assure that we will jointly find money for defense. We will do everything for the vast part of funds not to disappear in the sand or stuck in the accounts. Unless we build an efficient system of military management, logistics and control over the use of resources, we will not win.
The system that exists now is cumbersome, antediluvian and archaic. And now I'm waiting for proposals to develop a system which would be applauded by Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, by all the Ukrainian people. We must explore every clot in the system that makes our troops ineffective.
By the way, volunteers on my yesterday's meeting suggested how to do it best.
There is no doubt that the needs of the army should be determined not by outdated allowance rate, not by yellowed pieces of paper and instructions. They must be determined by what is really necessary for the soldiers and units in the area of ATO. For specific soldier, specific brigade, battalion, platoon, troop.
Today, we must discuss the willingness of not only the Ministry of Defense, but also all enterprises, institutions and organizations to fulfill mobilization tasks regardless of ownership.
War has a very negative impact on our economy. And without reforms the economy is too weak to guarantee victory.
To break the loop, we need to speed up reforms. Jointly with the Government and the Parliament, we do our best to coordinate and accelerate reforms.
Blessing in disguise. Since the military threat is, unfortunately, enduring, immediate needs of national defense can make the military-industrial complex one of the locomotives of the national economy.
Another issue is the Ukrainian state border protection and protective fortification of the line of direct confrontation with the militants.
If Mannerheim Line is essential, we must build such fortifications as well, but they must be even more powerful, with the experience of predecessors. I do not mean fortifications of 1941-1942. I mean those necessary for modern defense science. Defense in depth, with tank positions, with safeguards against multiple launch rocket systems, with modern communications, with a clear interaction between all departments involved in the ATO. With a special area which allows efficient use of weapons.
I do not exclude that in the near future we will have to create special categories for citizens in areas adjacent to the anti-terrorist operation.
Public initiatives to develop a strategic plan and infrastructure for the so-called guerrilla movement are also noteworthy. We must be ready for that as well, for it's better to be safe than sorry.
The very idea that every meter of the Ukrainian land will burn under the feet of invaders should become a factor restraining from large-scale invasion.
Strengthening the defense is a way to fight for peace.
We do not want war, we want peace, but if you want peace, we must keep the powder dry.
Each of the participants here bears enormous responsibility for the protection of the country. I believe that today we will have an expert discussion on the matter.
Please do not remind us only a list of problems that are very well known. We must suggest the ways to resolve them under those conditions and resources that are at our disposal.
The topic of our meeting is strengthening of defense capability, planning of the construction of fortifications, planning of defense lines, regrouping and improving the efficiency of the actions of our Armed Forces and security units. All this is done only for one thing - we have to preserve peace in the state. And we will preserve it. I am convinced of this, I believe it.
I would like to provide recent data from the Main intelligence Directorate - 70% of Russian troops had been withdrawn from Ukraine. It creates grounds for the prospects of peace initiatives. Today, future developments depend on our joint efficient and coordinated work, on the unity of the whole country.
We are going to establish order in the organization of management of troops, when the front line, the line of defense will be maintained by the brigades, when battalions of territorial defense will have their own tasks not in direct clash with the enemy, but in the defense of territory. When integrated units of the Ministry of the Interior will have their own function and protect the cities liberated from occupants. When the National Bank will have its exclusive function and engage in its exclusive tasks.
I am confident that restoration of peace will facilitate the restoration of order.
We shouldn't take off our guard and should remember that war can emerge anywhere. We must explain to the people of Ukraine which deserves fair and open discussion what is the situation in the country, what are the threats for Ukraine, what responsible steps from politicians and senior officials are required. I have no doubt that we will manage to organize this. There will be peace in Ukraine. We will do everything for that. I believe that everything will be fine with Ukraine.