September 22, 2022

President Zelenskyy’s address to the Ukrainian people: Sham referenda will make peace negotiations impossible


All our defenders!

Today I want to say special words of gratitude. Gratitude to all our people who defend our state, defend independence.

Ukraine held out after a full-scale attack by Russia. Ukraine managed to unite the world around the struggle for freedom. Ukraine managed to liberate a significant part of the territory the Russian troops invaded. Ukraine liberates people from Russian captivity.

And Ukraine managed to change the course of the war so that every occupier, even the most inadequate one, felt that we can win and are moving towards victory.

I am thankful to everyone who fights and works for this! For the sake of our victory.

It is precisely to the fact of Ukrainian strength that the leadership of Russia reacts, changing tactics and trying to draw even more Russian citizens and resources into the war.

Russia’s decision on mobilization is a frank admission that their regular army, which has been prepared for decades to take over a foreign country, did not withstand and crumbled. And now, due to mobilization, Russia’s war against Ukraine for the majority of Russian citizens is not something on TV or on the Internet, but something that has entered every Russian home.

I’ve held a meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief today. The questions are clear. Frontline. Provision of our military. And new threats created by Russia.

I will note right away: any decisions of the Russian leadership do not change anything for Ukraine. We should care only about our tasks. This is the liberation of our country, the protection of our people and the mobilization of global support for the implementation of our tasks.

Diplomatic mobilization of the entire international community is now taking place.

The circle of those who support us now is not limited to our traditional partners and those who openly supported our state after February 24. Now almost everyone supports us – this is the reaction to new Russian escalation steps.

In particular, the farce with the preparation of sham referenda in the occupied territory demonstrates what happened in 2014 in Crimea and Donbas.

And I am grateful to everyone in the world who supported us. Who clearly condemned another Russian lie.

Grateful to President Biden and all American friends. To President Macron, Chancellor Scholz, the President of Finland and all our Polish brothers, the Baltic states, Mr. Borrell, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, the OSCE and all Europeans from Iceland to Romania, who will never be deceived by Russia again.

I am thankful to Britain for the support! Türkiye! Thank you Canada! Thanks also to all those who now privately express their support for Ukraine.

When Russia declares that it supposedly wants negotiations, but announces mobilization… When Russia knows Ukraine’s clear position about the impossibility of a diplomatic process after Russia holds any sham referenda…

Everything is clear to everyone. Russia itself buries the prospect of negotiations with its own hands.

I will explain to the Russians what is happening in Russian.

Protests against mobilization took place in the cities of Russia – albeit not massive, but they took place. And they take place. And this is an indicator. Not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We know the real mood in the regions of Russia.

We see that people in Dagestan, in Buryatia, in other national republics and regions of Russia understand that they were simply thrown. Thrown to death.

Why, for example, Dagestanis or anyone else should die in the Kharkiv region or near Donetsk? Because one person in Russia decided so – for all the citizens of Russia. There is no other reason. That’s what he wants.

You are already accomplices in all these crimes, murders and torture of Ukrainians.

Because you were silent. Because you are silent.

And now it’s time for you to choose. For men in Russia, this is a choice to die or live, to become a cripple or to preserve health. For women in Russia, the choice is to lose their husbands, sons, grandchildren forever, or still try to protect them from death, from war, from one person.

Just think about the number of people they want to take away!

We know for sure that the conscription letters for 300,000 people were printed and signed in advance, even before this decision on mobilization appeared. Our intelligence has proven it. But the Russian leadership is preparing to take up to a million men into the army – this is the key thing they are now silent about.

We know that they will take everyone indiscriminately. Not only the military in the reserve, but any men. Anyone who will be so intimidated that he will be more afraid of avoiding war than of dying in war.

55 thousand Russian soldiers died in this war in six months. Tens of thousands are wounded and maimed. Want more? No? Then protest. Fight back. Run away. Or surrender to Ukrainian captivity. These are options for you to survive.

Russian mothers! Have no doubt that the children of the top officials of your state will not be sent to the war against Ukraine. Those who make decisions in your country take care of their children. And they do not even bury your children.

And we return ours.

A very important briefing was held today. Head of the Office Yermak, Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Budanov, Head of the Security Service Maliuk, Minister of Internal Affairs Monastyrskyi. They told the details of our operation to release 215 warriors, the details of the exchange. We do everything so that society and the world can see how Ukraine protects people and basic human values.

Once again, I congratulate 215 families and our entire country on the return of the heroes.

I am thankful to everyone who helps Ukraine!

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