May 24. 2024. 5:04

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No alternative to Ukrainian victory, Zelenskyy tells Munich Security Conference

There is no alternative to Ukrainian victory as Kyiv presses on with efforts to fight back against invading Russia’s forces, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Munich Security Conference on Friday (17 January).

“There is no alternative to Ukrainian victory (…), no alternative to Ukraine in the EU, no alternative to Ukraine in NATO,” Zelenskyy said, addressing the security gathering of the world’s top politicians, security officials and diplomats via video link.

“It’s not just about Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said, likening the war with Russia to the mythical fight between David and Goliath.

“The point is that Goliath must lose and there is no alternative to this,” he said, and in reference to Western military support to Ukraine added: “I’m grateful to anyone who gives a sling to the Ukrainian David.”

This year’s conference is the first since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly one year ago, on 24 February 2022.

About 40 heads of state and government, as well as politicians and security experts from almost 100 countries, including the United States, Europe and China, are expected to attend the three-day security forum.

For the first time in two decades, conference organisers did not invite Russian officials to participate.

But in his address, Ukraine’s president also criticised allies for their slowness in acting to restrain Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014 and for their failure to back Ukraine in the years leading up to the outbreak of war last year.

Zelenskyy called on Ukraine’s Western allies to speed up their deliveries of weapons amid fears that a new Russian offensive is getting underway, possibly with the aim of capturing the city of Bakhmut by April.

Kyiv has, in recent weeks, repeatedly appealed to the West to add fighter jets to the delivery lists, but no country has yet publicly committed to providing them.

“We need to hurry up. We need speed – speed of our agreements, speed of our delivery (…), speed of decisions to limit Russian potential,” Zelenskyy said.

“There is no alternative to speed because it is the speed that life depends on,” he added.

‘No taboo on weapons’

Speaking earlier on Friday morning alongside visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Kyiv, Zelenskyy said there should be no “taboo” on the supply of military aid to Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said Kyiv had a “common understanding” with the Netherlands on the issue.

“There should not be any taboo on the supply and support of weapons to our army, to our Ukraine, because it supports and protects our sovereignty,” he said.