February 24, 2022. We will never forget this day. The day that changed each of us forever. It changed our country. The day when our path of invincibility began! A path full of courage and heroism! A path that will end only in victory.
February 24, 2023. Blue and yellow flags fly over the capital of unbreakable Ukraine. As well as over Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson. And they will fly over all our cities and towns in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia regions, and in our Crimea! “And in our land, by faith retrieved, no foemen shall be brought to birth.”
Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is winning.
I am extremely grateful to our defense forces. To our soldiers and officers. My deepest gratitude to our medics and volunteers. Power engineers and rescuers. Railroad workers. Public utilities workers. Teachers. Entrepreneurs. Men and women. All Ukrainians.
I am grateful to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his leadership. I am grateful to all my colleagues for their hard work. Dozens and hundreds of challenges and tasks. Every day. Ukrainian institutions are much stronger than the enemy and even allies expected. Our achievements and challenges, victories and successes. They are all part of our path of invincibility.
First of all, these are our military victories. Victory in the Battle of Kyiv. The liberation of Chernihiv region. The liberation of Sumy region. Kharkiv region. The liberation of Zmiinyi Island. The liberation of Kherson. Hundreds of towns and villages with blue and yellow flags again.
Second. It’s the Ukrainian Army. It is one of the strongest in Europe and the world. The security and defense forces have been, are and will be an absolute priority for our Government. A priority for funding and development. Last year, we allocated UAH 1.5 trillion for this purpose. Every piece of taxes paid by businesses and citizens into the budget was spent for security and defense. For the purchase of weapons and ammunition. For the repair of equipment. For payments to our defenders. This year is no different. Every hryvnia that goes to the budget from businesses and citizens will be spent on security and defense.
Third. The pro-Ukrainian coalition. Thanks to the leadership of President Zelenskyy. Thanks to the work of diplomats and Government officials. Thanks to millions of Ukrainians around the world. The pro-Ukrainian coalition and our allies helped us survive. Weapons, finance, humanitarian aid, political and informational support, sanctions against the aggressor. We are grateful to our partners. We are grateful for believing in us. Now you can see. Ukraine is capable of winning. We have believed in this from the very first day. From the very first missile on February 24, 2022. A year later, we know that you believe in it too. The pro-Ukrainian coalition in the world is strong and united.
Fourth. Our path to the EU and NATO. February 28, 2022. Ukraine applies for EU membership. June 23, 2022. Ukraine receives the status of a candidate for EU membership.
We were not just granted this status. We have earned it. We have been working on it for many days, months, and years. We have implemented 2/3 of the Association Agreement. We are integrating into the European market.
5 “visa-free regimes”. In one year of war. Something that has been planned for years. Energy visa-free regime in March, when we joined the European energy grid. Transport visa-free regime in June, whereby no transportation permits are required to travel to the EU. Economic visa-free regime, which abolished all duties and quotas on Ukrainian goods in the EU. Customs visa-free regime in October, which launches the integration of our customs into the European one. Digital visa-free regime and Digital Europe. We are doing our homework.
Ukraine is changing. Ukraine is transforming. These are not our words, but the words of our friends and colleagues from Brussels. In response, we say that in 2 years we will be ready. We are ready to be a member of the European Union. And we are ready to be a member of NATO. Our Army is one of the strongest in Europe. Our Army is the shield of the European continent.
Fifth. Finance and budget. Banks. Crises that we managed to prevent. Teamwork with the NBU. I am grateful to my colleagues for this. We prevented hyperinflation. We ensured the financial stability of the country. We have not delayed pensions, social payments, doctors’ and teachers’ salaries for a single month. We have indexed payments to our pensioners. We have launched new assistance programs. New support projects. We pay subsidies. We did not raise utility tariffs. We helped local authorities. We help the most vulnerable. We are helping those who need it most.
Sixth. Our energy front. Cyberattacks from the very first day of the invasion. Shelling from the very first day of the invasion. Occupation of our energy facilities. Attacks on oil depots. Attacks on thermal power plants, hydroelectric power plants, substations, and gas infrastructure. We overcame the fuel crisis in the spring. Together with our business, we diversified supplies and eliminated the deficit. We have accumulated enough resources to get through this winter. We have enough gas. We have enough coal. Despite hundreds of missiles and drones. Despite all the russian terror. Our energy system is functioning. Stable frequency of 50 Hz. There is no shortage of electricity. Air defense, power engineers, rescuers. Their professionalism did not allow russia to plunge us into darkness. We have withstood. We have withstood this winter and are starting to prepare for the next one.
Seventh. Our food security. The most difficult sowing season in history in 2022. Incredible Ukrainian farmers. They sow and harvest on mined fields, under fire. They continue to feed the country and the world. And we have done everything we can to help them. Grants, loans, seeds, fertilizers, crop storage. We have built a new logistics system. The Danube ports have increased their transshipment by many times. New checkpoints on the western border. The railroad. Grain initiative. We will expand all this. We will look for new ways and new opportunities.
Eighth. Incredible Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Small and large. All together and as one. Ukrainian business paid UAH 80 billion more in taxes during the war year than in 2021. We have helped and will continue to help. Concessional lending, eRobota non-refundable grants. Deregulation. Digitalization of services. Less bureaucracy and better service. New markets for export. Industrial parks for production. Conditions for development and investment.
28,000 companies are involved in mobilization tasks. This is to provide the Army with supplies. To ensure that all critical needs of the country are met. 76% of entrepreneurs plan to expand their business this year. Despite all the challenges and crises. Ukrainian entrepreneurs are the foundation of a successful economy. The basis for the future reconstruction and revival of our country.
Ninth. Restoration of Ukraine. The main word of this year is victory. The second word of this year is restoration.
Right now. Without waiting for the end of the war. Reconstruction that has already begun. Fast and effective. We have made a plan. We created an agency for reconstruction. We developed projects. We formed a budget fund. Priorities have been set. We have already raised part of the funding. Energy, housing, demining, critical and social infrastructure, economic recovery and support for the private sector. USD 17 billion this year. We are working with our partners to make it happen. We are preparing for the Ukrainian “Marshall Plan”. We are building a coalition to restore Ukraine.
And tenth. It is our unity. The unity of the Ukrainian people, which helped us in the most difficult moment of our history. The unity that the enemy did not count on. The unity that made us unbreakable. The unity that will help us win.
Ukraine will become stronger. And we will make russia weaker. We will work on this together with our allies. Sanctions. Confiscation of assets. Isolation. russia is already paying a high price for its aggression. It will pay an even higher price. There will definitely be a tribunal for all war and political criminals. All those who committed genocide and gave orders will be punished.
February 24, 2023. The year of invincibility. Ukraine has withstood. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is winning. Ukraine will recover.
We will liberate the Ukrainian land from the invaders. We will build a peaceful, strong and European Ukraine.
We will never forget the feat of those who laid down their lives for Ukraine. Eternal glory and memory to them.
Glory to the security and defense forces of Ukraine. Glory to the Ukrainian people.
Glory to Ukraine!