Prime Minister Draghi’s statement at the joint press conference in Kyiv
Thursday, 16 June 2022
[The following video is available in Italian with English subtitles]
Good afternoon everyone.
Today is a historic day for Europe.
Italy, France and Germany, three founding countries of the European Union, and the President of Romania have come to Ukraine to offer their unconditional support to President Zelensky and to the Ukrainian people – people who have turned themselves into an army to ward off Russia’s aggression, to live in freedom.
The European Union has shown, and is today showing, extraordinary unity in supporting Ukraine in every way, just as President Zelensky asked.
The governments of the Member States have done so, as indeed have their parliaments and citizens.
In this regard, I wish to recall the great solidarity shown by Italians and by all Europeans who have opened the doors of their homes to those fleeing the bombings in their own country, Ukraine.
Today’s visit, together with those of many other European leaders who have come to Kyiv in the last weeks, unequivocally confirms our support; Europe’s support and that of our allies.
In this regard, however, I would like to say today that the most important message of our visit is that Italy wants Ukraine in the European Union. It wants Ukraine to have candidate country status and will support this position in the next European Council meeting. As he just said, President Zelensky of course understands that the road from candidate country to member state is a road, not a point. This road must involve far-reaching reforms of Ukrainian society.
We are at a turning point in our history.
Every day, the Ukrainian people are defending the values of democracy and freedom, which form the basis of the European project, of our project.
There is no time to waste; we cannot delay this process. We must create a community of peace, prosperity and rights that unites Kyiv with Rome, Paris, Berlin and all the other countries that share this project.
The atrocities committed during this war testify, with terrible clarity, to how essential this project is.
I visited Irpin today, where massacres have been committed by the Russian army.
These terrible facts are deeply disturbing and we condemn them without hesitation.
We give our full support to the war crime investigations by international bodies.
Listening to the account of the person who accompanied us today to see the results of these bombings, I heard about horror, but I also heard about hope – hope for reconstruction, hope for the future. That is why we are here today, to help Ukraine build its future.
We want the atrocities to end and we want peace. However, if we want peace, Ukraine must defend itself, and it will be Ukraine to choose the peace it wants.
No diplomatic solution can disregard the will of Kyiv and what Kyiv deems to be acceptable for its people.
This is the only way to build a fair and lasting peace.
We must also unblock the millions of tonnes of grain that are stuck in Black Sea ports. I learned today that there are two weeks to demine the ports, the harvest will arrive at the end of September, and there is a series of deadlines becoming more and more urgent. These deadlines are bringing us steadily, inexorably, closer to tragedy.
To do this, to prevent this terrible event, safe corridors to transport grain need to be created with the utmost urgency.
The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine must not turn into a global catastrophe. The only way to move forward is to have a United Nations resolution that regulates the creation of corridors in the Black Sea; so far, Russia has rejected this.
This is Europe’s moment.
We must meet the challenges that lie ahead with courage, with the same courage shown by President Zelensky, with determination and with unity.
We owe it to Ukrainians and we owe it to Europeans.