Kiev, Ukraine

08 May 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter for 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine

Dobryi Ranok! [“Good morning.”]

It is a great honour for me to be here, standing together with the President Poroshenko and his people of Ukraine in this very solemn and sacred place where we are honouring and commemorating many valiant and courageous Ukrainian soldiers and citizens who fought to defend their country, to defend their human dignity against the aggression of Nazism.

It seems that I am hearing their ardent aspirations, their voices... ardent aspirations wishing the people of Ukraine to live in peace and harmony and preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Yesterday I was with many European leaders and international organizations who commemorated the victorious end of the Second World War, the 70th Anniversary. And this morning, I am standing with people of Ukraine to commemorate and to express my deepest admiration and respect to many people who gave their lives to defend freedom, liberty, democracy, and their human dignity. It is a day of celebration and commemoration, and solemn remembrance.

Today, we pay our profound respect to the memory of the millions of people who fought for freedom. Ukraine contributed and sacrificed immensely, a fact that the world cannot and will never forget. We honour the valiant veterans, some of whom we are fortunate to still have with us to commemorate today.

This morning, I was very humbled to meet a veteran who even came to my country Korea at a time of liberation from Japanese colonialism. He was proudly wearing a medal from Korea saying “Liberation”. That is most humbling.

As we recall the huge price of victory over fascism, we renew our solemn promise that the sacrifice of the fallen will not be in vain. Out of this tragedy emerged a common resolve by the international community to come together and create the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations says their main purpose is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”

The United Nations has been working very hard to protect human lives and human dignity. I know that there had been some setbacks and failures, but the United Nations is the most legitimate organization in the international community to preserve peace, freedom, human dignity, and human rights.

I am saddened that I come to Ukraine amidst a debilitating conflict in the east, where nearly 7,000 people [lives] have been lost, along with so much destruction of your society. The United Nations stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. I am here to reaffirm my support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, in a manner upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The United Nations and Ukraine are strong partners: Ukraine is a founding member of the United Nations and in its 24 years of independence, Ukraine has provided peacekeepers to so many places in the world. And if Ukraine now turns to the UN for assistance on its own peace and security, I will do my utmost to assist Ukraine’s Government and people.

The United Nations and the international community will continue to stand together with the Ukrainian people. I am deeply admiring of the strong leadership of President Poroshenko, for his vision and resilience to keep this country independent and sovereign, and its territorial integrity. I am standing with you. I wish you all the best.

Duzhe diakuiu. [“Thank you very much.”]