President’s speech at the Conference of Defense Ministers of Northern European Countries and Ukraine:
Dear Prime Minister Frederiksen!
Dear Minister Bødskov!
Dear attendees, dear participants of the Conference!
I am grateful for the organization of such an important event, which is urgently needed now – and not only for Ukraine.
To begin with, I would like to remind you of one episode of our shared history. It happened in Sweden. About 700 kilometers from Copenhagen, just over an hour by plane. One day at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, radiation monitoring devices showed the presence of radiation contamination. Then everything was quickly checked and no sources of radiation were found in Forsmark.
However, reports began to arrive from other sites in Sweden, as well as from Finland, that there was also an increased level of radiation. Concerns were also raised in Denmark – an increase in the level of radioactive substances was also recorded there.
It became clear that an emergency had occurred, but at that time they did not know exactly where. They analyzed the nature of the pollution, the direction and velocity of the wind – and found out that somewhere in the territory from Minsk to the Black Sea, a disaster occurred.
It was April 1986 – a day after the explosion of the nuclear reactor in Chornobyl. The Soviet authorities were silent about what happened at that time. And tried to downplay the scale of the disaster. However, it was impossible to hide it – there has already been publicity in Europe, there has already been evidence of pollution, and a discussion has already begun about how it threatens all people.
I will not remind you now of all the details of those days. You all probably know about it. About the fire at the Chornobyl station and the efforts of those who tried to stop the unfolding of the disaster. About the diagnosis of “acute radiation syndrome” and about people who begged for salvation in terrible death agonies.
Significant areas were contaminated. There is still an Exclusion Zone around Chornobyl, where people are not allowed to live. Hundreds of thousands of residents of different countries were affected by Chornobyl in one way or another.
And for years after that disaster, the whole world has been thinking about how to make nuclear energy secure. For years, adherence to special standards has been monitored to ensure that such disasters do not occur.
And for years absolutely no one could imagine that Europe could be threatened with a new disaster at a nuclear plant not because someone would violate some safety standards, but because some state would deliberately use a nuclear plant for terror.
This is what Russia is doing now. And if the Soviet authorities tried to conceal the Chornobyl disaster and its full consequences, the Russian authorities are much more cynical and dangerous – they themselves do everything to maximize the risk of a nuclear disaster, and lie to the whole world that someone else is allegedly to blame.
We must protect Europe from this threat. Protect all together. And probably not only Europe. Because the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine is the largest on our continent. It is the third largest in the world. Six power units!
During the years of operation of this station, there was not a single incident that would endanger the safety of Ukrainians or all Europeans. But now the Russian occupation army is using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for terror and armed provocations.
Russia has turned the nuclear plant into a battlefield. When the occupiers came to the Zaporizhzhia NPP, their tanks fired at it. Direct fire at the plant! Placing military equipment on the territory of the plant and even disposing of ammunition there, the Russian troops surely know that they are putting the whole of Europe at risk of a nuclear disaster.
And of course, the Russian authorities are aware of the possible consequences when their troops fire at a nuclear plant. In particular, from MLRS.
In August, it was already now, they damaged the plant’s communication lines with our power system, as well as radiation monitoring sensors, nitrogen-oxygen station, hydrogen pipelines and related infrastructure. Already then, Europe was a few steps away from a nuclear disaster. And now we are all in this difficult situation.
We are convinced that it is not a coincidence that the trajectory of the cruise missiles which Russia fires at the territory of Ukraine passes over the Ukrainian nuclear power plants. All these are manifestations of Russian nuclear terrorism.
Russia has become a terrorist state, and is actually holding nuclear plants hostage, and is blackmailing everyone with a probable disaster.
I am sure each of you has already thought about how to act if Russia uses so-called tactical nuclear weapons. Think about this as well. Russia can cause the largest radiation accident in history at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. In terms of actual consequences, it could be even more catastrophic than Chornobyl, and in fact – the same as the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, but without a nuclear strike.
None of us can stop the wind if it carries radiation. But together we are capable of stopping a terrorist state. And the sooner we stop Russia, the sooner Europe and the world will be able to feel safe again.
Everything that is necessary for this is well known to you.
Sanctions against Russia must be strengthened and not allowed to be circumvented. In response to nuclear blackmail, tough sanctions are needed against Rosatom, this is a specific thing, and the entire Russian nuclear industry, not an agreement with them.
Constant political pressure on Russia is needed to increase the number of countries participating in the anti-war coalition, and to reduce the circle of those who are at least somehow willing to help Russia in these circumstances.
And most importantly, we need even greater support for Ukraine with weapons and ammunition. To really stop Russia, the Armed Forces of Ukraine must have as many shells as necessary to make it tangible that Russia is not able to put pressure on the battlefield. And Ukraine needs weapons of such power, such a long range that Russia is forced to finally think about finding a peaceful solution.
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov who is present among you at the Conference will definitely inform you about specific defense needs.
The second point is finances. Russia still receives tens of billions of dollars due to trade with other countries, and Europe in particular.
And in Ukraine, the monthly deficit of the state budget alone is about five billion dollars.
And the destruction caused by the war is happening on the territory of Ukraine. And we cannot wait until the war is over to restore normal life.
Our children have to go to school just like yours. Our youth, just like yours, have to study at universities. Hospitals and social infrastructure have to work in Ukraine just like yours. Therefore, Ukraine needs reconstruction. Now! Just now! And even more so on the eve of the winter season.
We need to carry out demining. And, of course, we need to prepare the defense for winter conditions.
Therefore, sufficient and timely financial support for our state, for the budget and for the Fast Recovery is as vital as weapons and ammunition for our army, and sanctions against Russia.
And the state that blocks this financing for Ukraine cannot have excuses. It should remember that it is a European country and should fix this problem immediately.
And the third point is the export to Russia, the supply of components and dual-use products to the companies of the terrorist state. Russia simply would not have a combat-ready army in modern conditions if it was not for imported parts. Electronics, optics and many other parts of foreign production are used in manufacturing missiles, drones, means of communication, armored vehicles, etc. This flow of technical assistance to Russian terror must be completely stopped!
There must be an effective mechanism to control any supply to Russia, so as not to miss a single detail that could go to the production of weapons for shelling peaceful cities or nuclear plants.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The response now needs to be full-scale, just like the war that Russia started.
No one needs new disasters.
It is necessary to draw conclusions from the disaster of 1986. From the decades that Russia used to prepare for this vile war against all of free Europe. From eight years of war in Donbas. And from one hundred and seventy days of terror against Ukraine after February 24.
No silence – only the truth. No delay – only decisive action. No confusion – only confident, bold unity.
We need maximum weapons and ammunition for our defense. Finances are needed for Ukraine in sufficient volume and without any bureaucratic blockages.
Complete isolation of the terrorist state, primarily economic, technological, and the toughest sanctions are required.
It is our duty to our nations, to all future generations of free people, to do everything we can to stop Russia, to ensure that it loses this war and that no other state can repeat this terror.
And I believe that we will fulfill our duty!
Thank you for your attention!
I am grateful to Denmark and Great Britain for jointly organizing this Conference, which could become historic. Due to our joint efforts.
Thank you again!
Glory to Ukraine!