The speech of Rustem Umerov in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine during his appointment to the post of Minister of Defence

2023-09-07 11:30:00 | ID: 70663

I am grateful to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the trust. I am honoured today to be submitted by the President for the position of Minister of Defence of Ukraine.

I thank all the warriors, who every day heroically force out the invaders from our territories and bring the Victory closer. I thank their families for being a reliable support for them.

This is a challenge. Enlisting your support, dear members of Parliament and members of Government, I accept this challenge and will do my best for the victory of Ukraine, so that we liberate every inch of our country.

For me, this war began not in 2020 and not even in 2014. For my family and for the entire Crimean Tatar people, the war with russia began several centuries ago, when moscow occupied my native Crimea for the first time.

I was born in exile. As a child, I experienced all the struggling caused by russian colonialism, which tried to make the indigenous Crimean Tatar people feel like strangers on their land. They [russians] did not succeed then and they will never succeed.

The main goal today is to win the war. Military costs are increasing day by day. In order to win, we must have a strong strategy to deal with such realities.

Ukraine needs over 3 trillion every year. Of them, 1.6 trillion are needed for the Security and Defence Sector. The budget revenue is only 1.4 trillion. This means it is necessary to add 1.5 trillion to continue the struggle.

More than 1 million people are currently involved in the Security and Defence Sector, of which more than 800 thousand are serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. By the time full-scale war broke out, that number was 261,000. Defence spending increased more than sixfold compared to 2021, and spending for the Armed Forces increased almost tenfold.

The defence budget makes up a third of the GDP. This is a gigantic figure for any world economy. Only by the end of this year alone, we will need additional UAH 250 billion for military compensation. And these expenses are growing every day.

The Ministry of Defence is the key authority for the formation of defence strategies and policies.

One of the first steps on the post is an audit in all areas that are currently subordinated to the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry's team will develop a concept for the transformation of Ukraine's defence system in line with new national security and defence strategy of Ukraine, in accordance with the "Victory Doctrine” offered by the President of Ukraine, in accordance with new challenges, realities, and NATO standards.

The experience of our army, of our warriors, and of our institutions is unique and unprecedented for the development of new global security architecture. Not only Ukraine implements NATO standards today, but also participates in developing new standards together with our partners.

The principles of NATO are based on freedom, as well as on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The NATO mission is to protect own territories. For these principles and for this mission, our Ukrainian warriors, our Ukrainian people have been fighting and shedding their blood every day for as long as ten years already.

The resistance of one person is the resistance of the entire country. Behind each of our soldiers stand 42 million Ukrainians. And we, as the Ministry, will do our utmost for the protection and provision of all our people. We will definitely bring back those who, unfortunately, are temporarily in captivity, including children, prisoners of war, political prisoners, civilians. We will bring normal and decent life back to those Ukrainian towns and cities, which, unfortunately, are temporarily occupied. We know that the people there are waiting for us, because these are our people and our territories.

It is our people and their lives and dignity that are our priority and the highest value. The work of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine is to ensure respect for the dignity of warriors in all their interactions with the state. As a result, we must give more strength to our warriors. Armament, focus on capacity building, and strategic early planning of requirements.

Among the important strategic tasks: we must increase the defence capabilities of Ukrainian manufacturers. Everything that can be produced in Ukraine should be produced in Ukraine. For our part, as a Ministry, we will provide our Ukrainian manufacturers with the best possible contracts. First and foremost, it is a matter of Ukrainian independence and security.

Priority operational tasks include the start of active preparation of the infrastructure necessary for full-fledged operation of the F-16.

Provision and contracts. Ukrainian warrior should be provided by the state with all the essentials: weapons, military equipment, uniforms, accoutrements, personal protective equipment, food. To do this, we need to establish a system of early planning and forecasting of needs. Digitising all processes.

We must introduce the practice of forming strategic reserves so that in the case of urgent needs, we can respond promptly.

Medicine! The system a warrior, especially a wounded one, falls into, must be transformed. The VLK abbreviation [the Ukrainian abbreviation for military medical commission], in it’s current sense, should remain in the past. Tasks: to digitize all processes, to launch an integrated register of conscripts, which will prevent any risk of corruption. Near-front medicine. The evacuation route for wounded persons from the battlefield to the place of medical care provision should function so that every soldier receives help in time. Our task is to provide the necessary armoured medical vehicles for evacuation, to set up a process of timely informing the stabilization points. Our task is to provide the necessities and to set up the processes.

Training! We have to completely change the philosophy and the approaches to military training. Our tasks are to implement basic general military training - a training system for citizens before their mobilization; to reform the system of military training taking into account the experience gained in combat operations; to deploy recruiting centres and to create targeted programs.

Digitalisation! We must digitise everything that can be digitised. All information about the military service member must be in digital format: electronic military ID card, digitization of military medical commissions and hospitals, electronic journals, electronic reports for the military service members. Cyber security issues are a particular work priority. Military personnel should not waste their time filling out piles of unnecessary paperwork. For example, I heard from the military that every company commander fills out an average of 11-16 journals and other documentation every day. This is unacceptable for a country at war.

Justice! We must create an effective and efficient system of military justice, military police, military prosecution, and military courts.

Combatting corruption! Zero tolerance for corruption. Every stolen hryvnia is worth the life and safety of our soldiers. According to my philosophy, corrupt officials are equated to terrorists, and no negotiations are conducted with terrorists. Our plan is to prevent corruption manifestations as efficiently as possible. We have to launch the full operation of procurement agencies. It is a matter of honour.

International cooperation! We have to work even more intensively with the international coalition in order to bring to Ukraine more promptly the heavy armament needed by our warriors. The main task is to ensure the shortest terms from agreement at the highest political level with partners to the delivery of armament to battlefield.