The address by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk at a special session of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (Vilnius, 1 June 2023)
01 June 2023, 15:30
Distinguished Madam Speaker,
Honourable Madam Prime Minister,
Distinguished Mr First President of the restored Republic of Lithuania,
Honourable Mr Aleksandras Stulginskis, the Chairman of the Star Commission,
Distinguished members of the Seimas,
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!
It is a special honour for me to be awarded the highest honour of the Lithuanian Seimas.
It is with great excitement and no less pride that I accept the Aleksandras Stulginskis Star, which will go with me tomorrow to its rightful owner – my dear, fearless and invincible Ukrainian people!
I want to sincerely thank my Lithuanian brothers and sisters, the Lithuanian state for this award.
I want to thank you for everything you do so inspiringly and tirelessly for Ukraine and Ukrainians in the difficult times of trials that have befallen us.
I know that you follow the events in Ukraine through your own hearts, through your historical memory, through your boundless national dignity.
You know well the price of freedom.
You know well the price of dignity.
You know well what russia is worth.
You understand us best.
Because you are an unconquered victorious people and will forever remain beyond the control of the ruthless stalinist machine, the occupying soviet authorities, and the chauvinistic putin regime.
Let us remember our victims today.
Please join me in a moment of silence to honour the memory of all Lithuanians and Ukrainians who fell in the struggle for their freedom and independence.
A minute of silence
Dear Lithuanian people, dear Lithuanians!
We are proud of you and thank you!
Thank you for being among those who led the frontline of assistance to Ukraine from the very first minutes of the large-scale invasion.
Thank you for your powerful and convincing voice in support of Ukraine in the world.
Thank you for not getting tired yourself and not letting others get tired.
Thank you for not letting us be forgotten, thank you for persuading, reminding, insisting.
Thank you for your visits of courage, support and solidarity.
We will never forget that despite the enemy’s presence and shelling, you, dear Viktorija, together with dear Inara and Juri, were the first foreign leaders to come to support us on 24 March last year.
And I will speak about this every time I speak from this or any other rostrum.
We will always remember every visit of Paulius Saudargas, Laurynas Kasciunas, Justinas Urbanavicius and many other friends.
Thanks to Andrius Kubilius and Zygimantas Pavilionis for the United 4 Ukraine mission, and to the tireless Emanuelis Zingeris for his reports and resolutions on Ukraine.
Thank you for your Stingers, which arrived on the eve of the invasion and prevented the russian landing force from taking Kyiv.
We thank you for your invaluable military and technical assistance, for training the Ukrainian military, and for the treatment and rehabilitation of our soldiers.
We thank you for all the financial, material and humanitarian support, including non-governmental support, which is impressive in both its volume and content.
And especially for the unique acts of solidarity.
In record time, you have raised incredible amounts for Bayraktar, for naval drones, and recently for radars!
There is no one in Lithuania who does not help Ukraine!
You have sheltered more than 70,000 of our citizens and continue to help our compatriots to this day.
Thank you for all the decisions taken by the Seimas, the Government and the President of the Republic to deter and punish russia.
You are one of the undisputed leaders in imposing sanctions against the aggressor country.
Back in April last year, Lithuania was the first country to stop importing russian oil and gas.
You have shut up the lying russian propaganda channels, refused to issue visas to criminals and their dumb accomplices, and strictly controlled the flow of sanctioned goods.
Your integrity in taking steps that will bring russian criminals to justice is truly impressive.
Thanks to you, russia will never wash off the stigma of a terrorist state and will definitely answer for its crimes before a special tribunal.
We are grateful to the city of Vilnius for its humanism, mercy and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
We are grateful to Klaipeda for becoming a grain corridor and hub.
We are grateful to all your cities and villages, to all your people!
We highly appreciate your participation in rebuilding Ukraine, which will be no less productive in peacetime!
And Borodianka and Irpin, Bucha and Mykolaiv thank you for the reconstruction!
Our struggle continues.
And we have to fight not only on the battlefield with weapons in hand.
There is a bloodless, but no less fierce struggle that we are waging for the right to be part of the European and Euro-Atlantic community.
And if in the first case we are overcoming the enemy, in the second case we are overcoming someone’s fears, stereotypes, distrust, inspired mainly by the same enemy.
Please continue to help us in this fight, as you were the first to do with your resolution of 6 April, calling on the Alliance to have no fear and no doubts about Ukraine and our membership in NATO.
We thank Lithuania and the European Union for the historic decision to grant Ukraine candidate status.
You know that despite the war, we are doing everything in our power to open accession negotiations this year.
Dear colleagues, today at dawn, on the International Children’s Day, russia killed and maimed children in Kyiv, our people, relatives and friends, parents, were killed.
Air raid alerts continue to sound in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine.
With great anxiety in my heart, but also hope, I ask you to help us bring home tens of thousands of our children who have been abducted and taken from Ukraine by russia.
I am asking you as a parent.
Dear Viktorija, we sincerely count on your involvement in the systemic assistance already provided by women speakers of the parliaments of the European Union.
I am asking you as a mother.
Dear participants of the meeting,
When I arrived in Vilnius, I stared for a long time at the Vilnius TV tower – a symbol of your struggle and indomitability!
In the terrible days of January 1991, its spire severely wounded, but did not kill, the maddened totalitarian beast.
I bow my head to its defenders, to all the defenders of Lithuanian independence!
Today, I am honoured to welcome among us the legendary Vytautas Landsbergis, the father of your and our revival.
Thank you, Mr First Chairman, for restoring Lithuanian statehood, for your leadership and solidarity!
We will definitely complete the work that you and your colleagues in Lithuania and Ukraine have started!
Long live independent Lithuania!
Glory to Ukraine!