There are truly historic changes underway, and that they will continue to materialize in the coming weeks and months – Oleksii Reznikov

2022-04-27 19:15:00 | ID: 67379

«My fellow Ukrainians!

We are living through events that are truly historic and that are determining the future of our nation. These events are being shaped by our defenders, by all of our citizens who have risen up to defend Ukraine and resist the Russian invasion. The world has already changed because of us. I would like to share details with you about events that have taken place in recent days and about what lies ahead. 

On April 26, 2022, a meeting of representatives of the defense agencies of more than 40 countries took place at the Ramstein American Air Base in Germany. This included not only EU and NATO countries, but also representatives of countries from the Middle East, Africa, the Persian Gulf, and Asia.

An event like this is unprecedented and took place thanks to the leadership of our American partners and in particular, of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Millie.

This is a true coalition, whose goal is not just to contain the Kremlin, but to defeat Russian tyranny, to secure an opportunity for the civilized world to win this war.

We explored three sets of issues related to short-term operational decisions to help Ukraine resist Russian aggression, as well as a long-term vision of how to strengthen our defenses in the face of strategic challenges. I would like to share with you the following outcomes:

First. we established an Advisory Group for the Defense of Ukraine, which will operate on an ongoing basis, and through which we will conduct monthly check-ins with partners. A permanent mechanism will enable the optimization and rapid implementation of important processes for obtaining weapons, improving logistics, and ensuring optimal coordination.

For example, when a decision is made to provide Ukraine with a certain type of weapon, this cooperation will ensure that weapons of the same type can come from different countries. As a result of several countries each providing 3-4 artillery pieces, in total Ukraine will receive an entire artillery division.

Second: Tectonic philosophical shifts have occurred. In the autumn of 2021, when I was appointed Minister of Defense, I stated that one of my key priorities is Ukraine’s de facto integration into NATO. For a long time, we have been working to convince our partners that it is appropriate to provide Ukraine with Western-compliant weapons that meet NATO standards.

The strategic decision to transition Ukraine to Western-caliber technology has finally been made. In particular, we are already receiving 155-mm artillery.

Gradually, this will ensure full interoperability of the Ukrainian military with the armed forces of NATO countries, which will result in a significant strengthening of the Alliance's eastern flank. I will admit - three months ago an achievement like this would have been considered almost impossible. But thanks to the courage and professionalism of Ukrainian defenders, and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, everything has changed.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has personally done tremendous work to make this transition happen. Prime Minister Denis Shmygal has been active at the level of heads of government. The head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak and the head of our diplomats Dmytro Kuleba have done their part on their respective fronts. This is the result of joint work, which, in my opinion, will provide Ukraine with strategic advantages.

I would like to recognize the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland Andriy Deshchytsia, the Defense Attaché in Washington General Borys Kremenetsky and the Defense Attaché in Warsaw Colonel Serhiy Yatsulchak. Thank you to all of our diplomats and attaches. Each and every one is part of a great team working for Ukraine's victory.

The term "transition" was the key word during the Ramstein meeting. This transition, which began more than 30 years ago, is now approaching its final stage.

I would also like to emphasize that our discussions did not center exclusively on the supply of weapons and ammunition. We also held significant discussion about the production of weapons and military equipment, and Ukraine's role in this sector. Indeed, the basis of long-term cooperation, interaction and interoperability not only concerns our armed forces, but also our defense industry overall.

We are still open to receiving Soviet-style equipment and weapons for the immediate strengthening of our army. And we will do so as long as there is such an opportunity. But material changes have already taken place.

Third: Evidence of this transition is the fact that our armed forces have been gaining expertise in the use of western weapons for quite some time. We have not publicized this work to maintain the confidentiality of our partners. The training programs will now be scaled up and will include even those weapons and equipment whose provision has not yet been confirmed. Once these decisions are made, which I personally have no doubt will happen, we will be prepared.

I can provide an example of a recent and very relevant experience: Our artillerymen, who were training on a 155-mm ACS at a test site in one of our partner countries, hit their target with their first shot. And they then helped our foreign colleagues to improve the computer software that manages this ACS, which impressed them. Our soldiers have experienced war and real-life battles, where human life is the cost of any error.

The overall conclusion I reached during the meetings at the Rammstein base is that there are truly historic changes underway, and that they will continue to materialize in the coming weeks and months.

In addition to the general discussion, I also held several individual in-depth meetings with my  colleagues.

I had the opportunity to personally thank the Minister of Defense of Germany Christine Lambrecht for Germany’s decision to provide Ukraine with Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and other steps that Germany has taken to support Ukraine. The position of the German Government is changing, thanks in part to the position of the Minister herself. We really appreciate it.

I also had a very productive meeting with my dear friend and great friend of Ukraine - the Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Ben Wallace. The role of our British partners cannot be overestimated, we are certain of and confident in their ongoing support, and we will never forget who was with Ukraine at the most difficult moment.

In addition, I met with my colleagues from Canada and Poland - Minister Anita Anand and Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. Ukraine has special relations with these countries, they are our strategic partners. In addition to military support, Poland is providing refuge to millions of our people, and Canada has always been our friend, and it is once again providing proof of its support of Ukraine.

We also held very good meetings with the Minister of Defense of the Netherlands Kaisa Ollongren, the Minister of Defense of Turkey Hulusi Akar, the Minister of Defense of Italy Lorenzo Guerini, the Minister of Defense of Romania Vasile Dink, the Minister of Defense of Slovakia Jaroslav Nadi, the Minister of Defense of Bulgaria and Bulgaria who was the first of the partners to visit Kyiv after February 24 - Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvidas Anushauskas.

Each of these nations is providing invaluable support to Ukraine, for which we are infinitely grateful. The international coalition in support of Ukraine against the Kremlin's tyranny is growing.

At the same time, I would like to be forthright and set realistic expectations. There are some extremely difficult weeks ahead. Practical implementation of agreements, training and logistics take time. And Russia has already consolidated its forces for a large-scale offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Assistance to Ukraine will grow, but in the coming days we will need to demonstrate our resilience and extraordinary unity.

The enemy is fully aware of its strategic defeat, but will still try to harm us as much as possible. Unfortunately, we will still lose members of our armed forces before we achieve victory. There will still be destruction and painful casualties.

We must persist. And persist we will!

For those who fought for a free Ukraine in different times in our history. For the sake of the defenders of Mariupol, Kharkiv, Izium, Rubizhne, Sumy, Chernihiv and heroes from other cities who have prevailed and who have given the gift of time to Ukraine.

For the sake of our future generations.

We will liberate our homeland. And our people will be returned to our land.

Ukraine will win! And now we no longer stand alone in our conviction of our victory!

Glory to Ukraine!»