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Zelenskyy: Next year the enemy will experience the fury made in Ukraine

Monday, 1 January 2024, 00:01
Zelenskyy: Next year the enemy will experience the fury made in Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Photo: Office of the president of Ukraine

New Year’s Address of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Dear people! Dear Ukraine!

The year 2023 is coming to an end very soon. This is another year of our independence. Another year of our fight for independence. Another year of the war. The war for our land. For our freedom. For each other.


If you ask millions of Ukrainians what this year has been like, you will get millions of different answers. Everyone will remember something close to their heart. Someone special. Everyone has something to smile about. Because it was successful. Everyone has something to cry about. Because of the losses. Each of us has fought, worked, waited, helped, lived and hoped this year. In our own way. Everyone.

But this year, all Ukrainians have something in common. The main result of this year and the main achievement is that Ukraine has become stronger. Ukrainians have become stronger. 676 days ago, we were challenged. Missiles were flying at us from all sides, and the Russian invasion was coming at us from all fronts.

676 days ago, at this very place, I addressed you, Ukrainians, and reported about the start of the full-scale invasion. We did not know what awaited us back then. Many did not believe we would endure even for a week. Few believed that we would resist all throughout 2022, let alone 2023. But today we are celebrating 2024.

Ukraine is alive. Ukraine is living. Ukraine is striving and fighting. Ukraine does not stop, and Ukraine is moving forward along the path. Ukraine is gaining. Ukraine is working. Ukraine exists. And all of this is not a New Year’s miracle. It is not a fairytale, not magic, but a merit of every one of you. Each of the millions of Ukrainians. Everyone who has been proving every day and every night this year that Ukrainians are stronger!

At the beginning of 2023, in January and February, we overcame, without exaggeration, the hardest winter in our history. When we proved that Ukrainians are stronger than cold and darkness. Stronger than a power outage and the threat of a blackout. Ukrainians will overcome any power deficit since they do not have a deficit of stamina and courage. We have not disappeared in the dark. The darkness did not swallow us. We defeated the darkness. Our energy sector has withstood. Our country has withstood. It won this year. And I want to thank everybody who made it possible in the first place. All our security and Defence Forces. I am proud of every Ukrainian soldier. Ukraine exists as long as you exist. I know how bravely and heroically you are defending us. During all this time. The time of daily hard and fierce battles. From the first minutes of 1 January and up until now, even on New Year’s Eve, Ukrainian soldiers are fighting and have no right to give up. You are deterring the evil that has become greater. But it has not succeeded in anything else. Because you fought it on every front, every street and every house. You were strong. You have not yielded a single blue-and-yellow heart. Not a single kilometre of our freedom. This is what you are like. You are our warriors. Each and every one of you proves that Ukrainians are stronger than evil. I want to thank all our people, and I want to thank our nation. Everyone who is here today. I want to tell everyone: I am proud of every one of you. Of every Ukrainian citizen. Of every strong one.

And I know how much everybody is struggling today. Everyone who has put their life on hold. Who put everything on hold for later, for after the victory. Everyone who says: "I am working, and this is not a heroic deed but a norm". Everyone who works and fights every day because they know: wars do not end themselves – wars are ended. And victory is not received as a gift but fought for.

So today we must live according to the rule: you either work or fight. Because the biggest terrorist organisation in the world is fighting against us. And it is obvious how much more we have to do, how much more active we have to be, and how much stronger our unity and struggle have to be.

Everyone who does not ask themselves: "what can I do?" but lives adhering to the "I must do more than I can" formula. Because that is what the word "win" means. In our language. To win, to overpower yourself, to make an extra effort and to do more than it would seem at first glance. Because, in fact, each one of us is capable of more.

Our heroic people prove this every day. Our heroes. Our medics who save soldiers in the combat zone and civilians in cities and villages. Those who prove that Ukrainians are stronger than pain, wounds and death. These are our firefighters and rescue workers who demonstrate that Ukrainians are stronger than fire and debris. These are those who prove that Ukrainians are stronger than any circumstances and stronger than hopelessness. Our teachers who teach children despite the war. Online, in person or by setting up a school in Kharkiv metro. Our railway workers, our drivers, our communication workers and our engineers. Our volunteers, our diplomats, the Ukrainian business, everyone who pays taxes and provides Ukrainians with workplaces, everyone who sows, harvests and gives bread to Ukrainians, everyone who provides Ukrainians with shelter, everyone who produces shells and ammunition, who repairs and builds, restores and rebuilds and who works and proves every day that Ukrainians are stronger than fatigue. And this means Ukrainians are stronger than this war. 24 February has convinced us of it.

The war has taught us a lot. It has shown us a lot. It has affected us in a lot of ways and it has changed us.

Unfortunately, the war separated families, took away sons and daughters and at the same time united us into one big family. And on 24 February 2022, we made a choice. And the dry, emotionless truth of wartime realia is that this choice was different for everybody. Someone stayed here in Ukraine, someone fled, someone was besieged, someone evacuated children, someone went to the combat zone, someone saved others, someone went abroad and stayed there, and others went abroad but came back home. To Ukraine.

And these are the stories of people, and stories of boys and girls. Of those who were not able to sit at home and went to the front. Of those who could no longer stay abroad, somewhere far from home, and came back. Having realised and told themselves: "I care. And I am needed here. Victory needs me, and Ukraine needs me". Those who have proven that I am stronger than fear. Those who have proven that I am stronger than doubts. Because I know that one day I will have to ask myself: who am I? To make a choice about who I want to be. A victim or a winner? A refugee or a citizen? And everyone knows the answer. And the answer is Ukraine. Because Ukrainians are stronger together. So it is time to be together!

And this is the time that all the Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories are waiting for. All those who have not lost Ukraine within themselves. Those who did not let their heads and hearts be occupied. All those who keep Ukraine alive in their children. Those who protect our flag and the belief that Ukraine will come back. Those who know that all the waiting is not in vain. And I want you to feel our gratitude for it. And I want you to remember that Ukraine will be incomplete without each of you.

Today we celebrate the New Year together. On our time. At midnight we will sing our anthem, the anthem of Ukraine. We will sing it with love for Ukraine. This love is stronger than the occupation. This love for Ukraine is the force that the invaders are afraid of. All of our people in Crimea, Donbas, Luhansk Oblast, Berdiansk, Melitopol, Mariupol should know: the enemy really is afraid of you. They’re not afraid of international organisations with their political messages, they’re afraid of Ukrainian people’s Ukrainian spirit, the spirit of the people who have proven, are proving, and will continue to prove that we are stronger. Stronger than oppression. Stronger than the enemy. Stronger than this war. Because that’s just the kind of people we are.

And you can see that these people inspire the entire world. This is the country others want to see as part of the European family. This has been confirmed by the European Council’s decision to open negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU – the decision many have waited on for dozens of years. It is a decision that was once difficult to imagine, with sceptics saying it won’t happen today, it won’t happen tomorrow, it’s nearly impossible; don’t hope, don’t put your faith in it, don’t expect it. But the Ukraine of 2023 is determined, steadfast, resolute, and tenacious. Ukrainians are stronger than every blockade and every veto, stronger than disbelief or scepticism. We are a country that is undertaking extremely challenging but needed reforms and changes. It is this that has made us a country that is welcome in the European Union. These are not just words – there are official decisions and documents to confirm this. This process will definitely be brought to its logical conclusion: Ukraine’s full membership in a strong Europe. An enduring Europe, from Lisbon to Luhansk.

This is a real, historic victory. We had so many of these diplomatic victories this year. They weren’t easy. Ukraine’s Peace Formula has been supported by 80 other countries. Security guarantees for Ukraine have been supported by 30 countries. We have been told: "You can’t have a grain corridor without Russia’s support." We have been blocked and blackmailed, but we have found a solution. We have found it, and our grain corridor is operating. As of today, we have used it to export 13 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain. This year Ukrainians proved that we’re stronger than lies, stronger than PSYOPS, stronger than despair, than discord, than disbelief. We have maintained and multiplied international support for Ukraine. We have opened new directions and new perspectives for Ukraine. We have held 120 meetings with country leaders this year alone, securing 156 defence-aid packages. We have once again proved that Ukrainians are stronger than the plots and attempts to undermine global solidarity and the coalition of our allies.

Instead, this coalition has only grown. The coalition of Patriots, the air defence coalition, the tank coalition.

I would also like to thank every country that has joined the coalition working to bring back Ukrainian children kidnapped by Russia. I am grateful to all our partners for the fact that this year we received Patriots, IRIS-Ts, HIMARS, NASAMS, Hawks, Abrams and Leopard tanks, and plenty of other equipment. Our pilots are already training on F-16s, and soon we will see them in our skies. Our enemies will see what our fury is really like.

Next year the enemy will experience the fury made in Ukraine. Ukraine-manufactured weapons, equipment, artillery, munitions, drones, our naval weapons and at least one million Ukrainian FPV drones. Finally, they’ll taste that: on land, in the air, and of course at sea. Our Black Sea. This year, like never before, the enemy experienced that they don’t belong there. Our Black Sea operations marked a black page in the history of the ruscist navy. 

Their landing ships can confirm this, as can their missile carriers and patrol corvettes that are now lying on the bottom of the sea. Our Zmiinyi (Snake) Island is now free of their snakes and their flag.

Dear Ukrainians!

Ukraine made it through 6,000 air-raid warnings this year. Almost every night we woke up to sirens and went to shelters to protect our children from enemy missiles and drones. Every night and every day our air defence forces worked heroically to protect the Ukrainian sky and to make sure that for each of those warnings an all-clear was sounded and that each time we could leave the shelters and see that sky once again, proving that Ukrainians are stronger than terror. No matter how many missiles enemy forces launch, how many wicked, ruthless, country-wide attacks they launch in an effort to destroy and intimidate us, the Ukrainian people, to bring Ukraine under their heel, to make us disappear – we will rise every time. And those who bring hell to our land will one day see it outside their own windows.

I spoke to you from where I work, in this very office, 676 days ago.

There was a painting behind my back: a Ukrainian landscape. Today I have Ukrainian soldiers’ chevrons behind me. Each of them tells a story about our land, our sky, and our Ukraine, about our people and what we have achieved and what we are yet to achieve. About everyone who has left us. And about everyone who is still fighting. And about everyone who is yet to live on this land, and who will be proud of being Ukrainian. The whole world will know: Ukrainians are stronger! To everyone who has already found their place in our common struggle, I wish you to always have someone by your side who will lend you their shoulder and who will not betray you. To everyone who is still hesitating, my wish is that you make a brave choice next year: to defend what’s yours, to defend your country, to fight for it, to help it, to find your place in your country, because that’s the only place where we can find home.

Today, just like a year ago, we are saying: "We don’t know what the coming year will bring us." This year, however, we can add: "Whatever it brings, we will be stronger."

Now I want to say a few words that would have been considered trivial before the war, but that are now priceless.

I wish you, your families, your loved ones, and everyone dear to you warmth and health.

I wish everyone with a kindred heart a long life. I wish that those who we’ve lost can stay in our hearts forever.

I wish lovers to have as much time together as possible.

I wish that every child can have their dreams come true.

I wish everyone simple human happiness.

I wish our Ukraine victory and peace.

Happy New Year, dear Ukrainians!

Happy New Year, Ukraine!

Glory to Ukraine!

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