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Zelensky's speech at NATO Headquarters

The Ukrainian leader delivered the first part of his speech in English, then switched to Ukrainian; as is known, Volodymyr Zelensky is currently visiting Brussels with the first foreign visit since he took power
18:56, 4 June 2019

Zelensky, Stoltenberg in Brussels, June 2019
Ukraine's Presidental Administration

Dear Secretary General, dear media representatives. I am grateful for the invitation to pay my first foreign visit to Brussels, and especially to NATO Headquarters. The strategic course of Ukraine [is] to achieve full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO we just secured in the Constitution of Ukraine remains unchanged. This is the priority of our foreign policy. Ukraine's progress towards high European security and living standards [audio signal breaks, - 112 Intenrational] for the Ukrainian society. The goal to improve living standards of Ukrainians, root out corruption and modernize the state - it is possible to accomplish only by our national security.

We're ready to negotiate with Russia. We are ready to implement the Minsk agreements. However, we must first be able to protect ourselves and to become stronger - in economic, political and military terms. I am very grateful for political and practical support that Ukraine is receiving from the Alliance, as well as from individual allies. I'm eager to give [a] new impetus of our engagement in the Alliance. The ongoing armed Russian aggression remains a major challenge for Euratlantic security. Our common task is to ensure stability and security in the Black Sea region that requires [the] Alliance's additional effort. We welcome two decisions endorsed by the Alliance in April in Washington - to strengthen the Black Sea security and to support the Ukrainian Navy.

Related: Zelensky's first foreign visit to take place in Brussels June 4-5

Ukraine, dear friends, is a unique partner of the Alliance in terms of intensity and variety of our interaction. We hope to renew our regular dialogue within the framework of the Ukraine-NATO commission at the level of heads of state and government, Defense and Foreign ministers. We look forward to welcoming the North Atlantic Council in Ukraine. We will keep the best of European and Euratlantic integration. We need all the existing mechanism[s] that will help us on this path, and any other that the Allies will be ready to offer. But at the moment we have to focus on our primary goal. The implementation of internal reform that will bring our country closer to NATO standards. Proper implementation of the law on national security is among my first tasks. By that, I mean the reform of the Security Service, reform of intelligence agencies, reform of defense industry, democratic civilian control over security and defense sector. Ukraine, which is stable, democratic and capable to defend itself is an integral part of the European security.

I'm confident that our distinctive partnership with the Alliance will advance effectively. I hope that in the long run, we will be able to transform our partnership into a full-fledged Alliance. 

Thank you very much for your attention. 

Related: Zelensky’s advisers visit Brussels, hold meetings

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