Transcript: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the American business community

Official transcript of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to the American business community at the National Association of Manufacturers Board Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 28, in Boca Raton, Florida.

Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers:

For more than a year now, the courage and resolve of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has inspired and rallied the free world to support the cause of the Ukrainian people.

He has reminded us all that the system that makes our way of life possible cannot be taken for granted. Ukraine’s fight is our fight because this is far more than a war between two countries.

It is a battle between freedom and tyranny. So America, and the American business community, stands with Ukraine today, tomorrow, through the end of the war and as Ukrainians rebuild their country after Russia is defeated.

And today, the NAM Board of Directors is honored to welcome President Zelenskyy to speak with us live via video link.

As he shares this address—to manufacturers and to the American business community—we reaffirm this Board’s resolve from a year ago, “denouncing Russia’s invasion.”

We reaffirm our support for the “sanctions implemented against Russia” and for Ukraine’s “fight to preserve freedom and independence.”

And we reaffirm our “commitment … to safeguarding democracy and democratic institutions not only here at home, but also abroad.”

Ladies and gentlemen, his Excellency, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine. Mr. President, the floor is yours.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine:

Thank you so much!

Thank you, Mr. President [Timmons], thanks everybody!

Thank you for your kind words and support!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I greet you from free Ukraine. Thank you for your attention and support of our struggle for freedom and independence.

I’m sure that none of you doubt that we will win despite. Ukraine is indeed the place where democracy will defeat tyranny. The united democracy — Ukrainian, American, all our allies and partners.

But what will our joint victory mean? This is not a purely ideological battle.

Yes, we will prove that democracy is stronger than tyranny.

When Russia loses, we will prove that terrorist states cannot overcome the power of a united democratic world.

And when we restore our territorial integrity, we will also restore the full power of international law, which is equally important for everyone in the world.

However, the battle is for much more, and there will be more winners in it.

The human nature is yet another battlefield where the confrontation continues right now.

In the world, will that creativity of the human mind be more successful in solving good or evil?

What will give more prospects, hard work or complicity in making money from the aggression?

This confrontation is going on right now. And that is why right now we are calling on all businesses to come to Ukraine and to leave the Russian market.

It is obvious that post-hostilities, reconstruction of Ukraine will give an extraordinary moral advantage to all businesses that will be in.

And it is also obvious that every business that is now helping the Russian tyranny in any way will not be able to avoid problems and their reputation crisis.

The American business has every opportunity to take on leadership positions both in the reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy and infrastructure, and in demonstrating to the world that human nature should serve worthy goals and that it produces, and will always produce, the best result.

The Ukrainian life will inevitably get a new start after this war.

We need to rebuild the energy system of Ukraine based on new security principles.

It is in Ukraine that we will combine green transformation with security transformation and create an example for the same transformation in other countries, such as to protect a specific country from any aggression against the energy industry.

And such that protects all humanity under that framework of a smart climate policy. For example, on the virtual power plants market, 7 out of 15 key companies are American.

This is the experience that Ukraine needs.

Ukraine is an opportunity that will give a historic impulse to the entire industry — solar power plants, wind power plants, small hydroelectric power plants, biomass burning plants.

Our modernized and centralized energy system is a project worth hundreds of billions of dollars and with the potential of replication for other nations.

We need to restore hundreds of thousands of industry, infrastructure and social facilities, residential buildings, whole cities’ industries.

This is a colossal task but realistic. Ukraine is interested in projects to create a full production cycle of titanium, lithium, aluminum and ferrous metals.

Ukrainian oil refineries, which were destroyed by Russia missile strikes, and the capacious domestic market provide the opportunity to restore this industry on a modern technological basis.

Machine building in Ukraine, agricultural processing in Ukraine, weapons production in Ukraine, including modern drones–IT in Ukraine, infrastructure and transport in Ukraine, a localization of business in Ukraine, convenient logistics with other markets from Ukraine, human capital of Ukraine.

All these are not just investment opportunities, not just industries and not just growth. This is a wide space for victories. Your victories, American business.

And I urge you to prepare for these victories now, to come to Ukraine now so that by the time we restore peace, your hard work has already yielded results.

And I believe that it will be soon. Thank you for your attention. I invite all of you to Ukraine. Glory to our brave soldiers. Glory to Ukraine.

Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers:

Mr. President, your leadership is not only inspiring your people in face of the unspeakable, but also inspiring us. It is inspiring the world.

Manufacturers in America will continue to stand with Ukraine, and we will be there after Russia is defeated so that we can help you and your people build a stronger nation forever rooted in our shared democratic values.

And, I want the Board to know that at President Zelenskyy’s request, we will be sharing the video of his remarks with our members so that they too can hear his powerful words.


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