Oleksii Reznikov at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on the level of Defense Ministers with the participation of the NATO Secretary General

2022-05-17 16:30:00 | ID: 67549

Dear Mr. Presiding!

Dear Mr. Secretary General!

Dear colleagues.

In recent weeks, I have met or talked to many of you on the phone. I would like to once again thank the European Union, the North Atlantic Alliance and all the countries that stand with Ukraine today.

I was pleased to hear Mr. Borrell's statement that for the EU the victory in this war would mean restoring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. This is fully in line with our aspirations.

Few words on the current situation.

More than 80 days have passed since the full scale aggression of russia against Ukraine. During this period, the Ukrainian defenders (both men and women) proved that russia’s ability to conduct successful offensive operations simultaneously in several strategic areas been overestimated.

According to our evaluations, 17 BTGs were completely destroyed in 80 days.

Despite the huge losses, the russians still outnumber us in heavy weapons. First of all, they dominate in aviation, and also in armored vehicles, MLRS and artillery.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the total combined group of troops used against Ukraine (including reserves) is about 167 thousand personnel. 91 BTGs are directly deployed to take part in the fighting.

Taking into account all the reserves, russia can send additional 55 BTGs to the hostilities within 1 to 2 months.

Currently, the kremlin's main efforts are focused on encircling and destroying groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, creating and maintaining a land corridor from russia to Crimea, and completing the occupation of southern Ukraine. In the war zone, the russians are intensively shelling civilian objects, residential buildings, which leads to massive casualties among the civilian population.

The enemy carries out missile and bomb strikes at the objects of defence industrial and fuel-energy complexes of Ukraine on our territory. They also target transportation infrastructure and logistic hubs. The kremlin has increased the number of missile strikes in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine and in the Odesa region.

In most cases the enemy uses air-launched cruise missiles from long-range aircrafts without entering the airspace of Ukraine. There is a looming threat of strikes by naval-based cruise missiles (primarily Caliber) from ships and submarines from the Black Sea and missiles from the Bastion coastal missile systems.

In the north, where we forced the enemy to withdraw, the surrounding areas of Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv regions are being shelled from the territory of the russian federation. Belarusian troops are actively maneuvering along the border with Ukraine. We have to reserve part of our forces in case Moscow presses Minsk and forces it to openly invade.

There are many indications of russia preparing for a long-term military operation. The war is entering a protracted phase. We can already see how the russians occupiers are beginning engineering and fortification works in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhya in order to move to defense if necessary.

Having said that, I would like to emphasize on the following.

First. Every day of the war brings casualties among our military and great suffering of the civilian population. Especially in the territories temporarily occupied by russia. The whole world saw what happened in Bucha. The same "Buchas" are now taking place wherever russian troops are stationed. Our people are being kidnapped, tortured, killed.

The war is destroying the Ukrainian economy. The need for resources for recovery is increasing day by day. The protracted war creates the risk of a global food crisis, as well as another migration crisis.

With this in mind, we want to defeat the enemy and liberate our territories as soon as possible. Do not let russia prolong the conflict.

That is why we are very interested in receiving international aid, buying weapons as quickly as possible and in the right quantities. We need tanks, armoured vehicles, long-range fire weapons systems (MLRS, heavy artillery, aircraft, missiles). We strive to save the lives of our people.

Second. We see the need to increase the effectiveness of international assistance through better coordination between all partners.

In particular, weapons that we can get in the form of technical assistance or commercial contracts can come in the short, medium and long term.

We are interested in coordinating the efforts of all partners - the EU, NATO, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan and other countries - in such a way as to:

• first, to break down possible deliveries into three baskets - short-term, medium-term, long-term; to be able to build up necessary capabilities and use opportunities for a specific period of time.

This is important, including in terms of troops training.

• secondly, to look at all deliveries not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of the criteria of developing the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

o In particular, the ideal goal is to obtain weapons and military equipment not just as platforms or tubes, but as an organic unit. So that in the end we get not just guns, but also counter-battery means, control machines, UAVs for aiming, air defense / anti-missile means for cover. Elements of this complex may come from different countries, but due to integration we will get a qualitative advantage.

Third point. To implement this approach, it is necessary to ensure synergies between partners.

This applies in particular to:

• EU Military Staff and European Peace Facility resources,

• NATO,

• as well as US EUROCOM and US Government programs.

For example, the United States has already approved a law on land lease. A bill with the specific parameters of assistance to Ukraine is being considered.

We do not currently have an understanding of the specific needs of EPF resources. We see only generalized figures.

This leads, in particular, to the fact that these resources are directed to the positions that Ukraine needs in general, but which can be provided by non-European countries from which we cannot get weapons. Instead, EU resources could be directed to EU products that only they have.

Another point. There are EU countries that do not have weapons or other positions we need, but those which want and can help, in particular, through providing funds. In this context, it may be appropriate to consider extending EPF tools. Complement it with an element such as a trust fund. EU countries, which do not have weapons, could be transferring to this fund’s management the financial resources that, at Ukraine's request, will be sent to other EU countries as payment for certain items.

We really appreciate the support you provide and we understand that it cannot be unlimited. Therefore, we are interested in its most effective use.

We can clearly see that russia can be defeated on the battlefield. This will free the world from tyranny and Europe from a constant threat.

And we look forward to the NATO summit in Madrid. A NATO Strategic Concept for the next 10 years will be adopted. What place will Europe see for Ukraine in the interests of protecting Europe's eastern borders? Do we all present here think about updating the security architecture of Europe, at least?

Ukraine has already proven that it can be a reliable security partner.

Strengthening Ukraine is strengthening Europe in the east.

Thank you for listening.