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Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Tyranny must always lose

Volodymyr Zelenskyy address the Riigikogu on January 11, 2024.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy address the Riigikogu on January 11, 2024. Source: Siim Lõvi/Priit Mürk/ERR

Every defense industry with the potential of helping Europe defend its freedom must start operating at full capacity. It is our common and vital interest, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a speech to the Estonian parliament.

Dear Estonian people! I am pleased to have the opportunity today to personally thank you. Thank you for being on the side of freedom, and not just any freedom, but the freedom of Ukraine.

In terms of the history of Estonia and Ukraine, February 24 takes on a very symbolic meaning and acquires a completely different significance. On this day, Estonia celebrates, and will always celebrate, its republic's independence. And it was also on February 24 that the rulers of Russia tried to renew the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire, or some hybrid of the two, by attacking Ukraine.

On February 24, we did not bend. Our people, our friends, the entire free world. Ukraine decided that we would fight. The free nations of the world supported us. Some supported us immediately, like Estonia, and I am grateful to you for that. Others supported us later, and we appreciate that as well. And now, most of the world is on Ukraine's side, on the side of international law and against Russia's genocidal aggression.

February 24 could have changed history, as well as the history of our people, our region and all of Europe. We were moving towards a new loss of freedom, but history took a turn towards even greater freedom than we hoped for, towards even more independence than we had imagined at the time. Towards a much greater steadfastness in Europe than anyone foresaw. This was only possible thanks to courage, thanks to solidarity, thanks to choosing freedom, because of our joint choice.

Thank you very much, Estonia, thank you to each and every one of you, for choosing freedom at that time. And we must win this fight that is happening now. We must win not only because it is a fight for our lives, for the Ukrainian people, for our cities, for our communities that Russia is trying to turn into ruins.

We must win this fight not only because it will decide the fate of our country and all the nations bordering Russia. This battle will determine what global attitudes towards freedom will be like now, and for our children, and our grandchildren after us.

Freedom must learn to win. By standing up to tyranny, this war, which Russia started against Ukraine, is meaningful not only for us and not only for our continent but for all peoples who value their freedom or dream of becoming free.

Tyranny must lose. Tyranny must always lose, and this is the message that all countries that value freedom, all peoples who do not want their children to fall into the hands of dictators, and all leaders who wish to be on the side of light in history, must convey. That's why in this fight, everyone is important, not only those with great military experience or many weapons, not only whether a country belongs to one or another ranking of capable nations.

Every nation is important. Every brave soul, every sincere heart, every wise mind is important. Everyone who can mobilize their humanity, not because it brings immediate benefit, but because it is right. It is right when freedom and humanity win. They must win.

Dear Estonia, I am sincerely grateful to all of you for being with us and thank you for every support package you give to our fighters and the Ukrainian people. I am grateful for the weapons with which you have helped. Thank you for your initiatives that really influence the course of all of Europe. Thank you for your determination and for pressuring Russia, and for making the aggressor truly feel that the losses caused by aggression are on him, this murderer, not on those whose fate Putin has decided to destroy!

We must continue to pressure Russia, and this must be done by all of Europe, the entire free world. Every sanctions evasion scheme that Russia uses must be blocked, every asset that Russia or those associated with it try to hide must be frozen and used to protect against Russian aggression and for reconstruction efforts after this war.

Every defense industry that currently exists or could be established in Europe and could help protect freedom in Europe must start operating at full capacity. This is our common vital interest and the interest of every European country.

Europe must have its own defense potential that can protect it and guarantee protection. Ukraine has already achieved dozens of agreements with various countries and companies regarding production in the defense industry. I invite you as well to this cooperation.

Estonia has already made significant progress in digital technology and new e-government solutions, as well as in business operations, and we must share this experience with other European countries and countries around the world. We must always remember and protect the fundamental truths of Europe. Europe can only stand if it is a united continent. United, not a continent of contradictions.

Currently, we have shown the greatest level of unity, and I am grateful for how you defend this unity, how you defend common interests, how you contribute to our European and Euro-Atlantic integration, how you help our people, the Ukrainians, and this too is an example of unity, a true example of European spirit. And especially to those people who sought protection from the war and found it in Estonia, I am grateful to you for this. I am grateful to you for this warmth, for solidarity with us, and of course, for choosing freedom on February 24. Thank you very much!

On my way to the Riigikogu, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas gifted me a sweatshirt with the inscription "Will to Defend" (Kaitsetahe). She said that this word united many Estonians, and it is also in the hearts of many of us Ukrainians: the will to defend. I am confident that the day will certainly come when we can all unite in another thought: the will to win. We will greet each other with victory, with victory over Russia in this war, together. Always together. Thank you very much!

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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