For the first time in our history, a country is under attack because of its desire to be part of the European family, said the President of the European Commission in her speech at the GLOBSEC 2023 Bratislava Forum.
“The war against Ukraine is a pivotal moment for Europe. And we must meet this moment. It is of course a blatant attack against the principles of the UN Charter. Principles we have collectively signed up to. But it is also a war against our values, and a war against the idea of a united and free Europe. For the first time in our history, a country is under attack because of its desire to be part of the European family. It is Ukraine"s sovereign decision – and the clearly expressed will of its people – to embrace our Union"s values. And in doing so, they are also fighting for our freedom and our values; democracy and the rule of law, free speech and the freedom to determine your own destiny. That is what Ukraine is fighting for, and that is what President Putin is trying to extinguish. President Putin is trying to destroy the work of peace that we have built together since the end of the Second World War and later the fall of the Iron Curtain. And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the origin of this war. Here at GLOBSEC, I understand you have been discussing the causes of this war.
So let me be clear, Russia started this unprovoked and unjustified war. Without cause, it invaded Ukraine to wipe the country off the map. And Russia refuses to accept Ukraine as an independent country. But Ukraine"s will to fight and to be free has amazed the world. They know with ironclad certainty where they belong. The Ukrainian people have for years been the architect of Ukraine"s move towards the European Union and they have proven their courage and determination time and again. Never can we match the sacrifice and the bravery of the Ukrainian people. But we can and must stand firmly by their side”, - said Ursula von der Leyen.