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Address to Ukrainian Diplomats

Distinguished Ambassadors:  It’s my great honor to address you during your annual conference.  But, First things first: a belated Happy Ukrainian Diplomats day! You have a lot to be proud of.  Let me first salute President Zelensky, whose leadership and grit have inspired the world. And let me also recognize my good friend and partner, Foreign Minister Kuleba – Dmytro – who has been as tireless as all of you in rallying international support for Ukraine.

We just hosted President Zelenskyy in Washington, where our two Presidents had a chance to meet in person, at a critical time for Ukraine, our partnership, the world.   President Biden told President Zelenskyy directly what he has said publicly many times: the United States is with Ukraine, and we will continue to be with you, for as long as it takes. That unwavering support was on clear display when President Zelenskyy addressed our Congress. You could see it in the rousing ovations he received from members of both of our political parties, who joined in calls of Slava Ukraini.

As a result of President Zelenskyy’s visit, and the work of all of you: our relationship is stronger than ever, and more support is on the way.  More military support, so your brave fighters can maintain their momentum in liberating Ukraine’s people and retaking more of your country’s sovereign territory. More air defenses, so you can protect your civilians against President Putin’s savage attempts to plunge them into cold and darkness. More economic support, so your government can continue to provide basic services for the Ukrainian people. More humanitarian support for the millions of Ukrainians who have been forced from their homes by Russian aggression.  You have our pledge for more diplomatic support, as well.

You all serve Ukraine around the world. And I want you to know this: wherever you’re working to build greater support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial independence, and democracy, wherever you’re championing the right of Ukrainians to choose their own future, you have a partner in the United States. Our ambassadors – all our diplomats – are with you. Count on us.

Because we recognize your work is crucial to sustaining the international support needed to ensure President Putin’s war is a strategic failure. The front lines of this battle are not only in Bakhmut and Kreminna – they are in every foreign capital, every engagement, where you are working to persuade countries to stand with Ukraine, and stand up for the principles at the core of the United Nations Charter.

That’s what you have done, day in and day out. You’ve rallied partners old and new to provide support, and apply unprecedented sanctions and export controls against President Putin and those who have enabled his aggression. You’ve led a counteroffensive of truth against Russian misinformation and disinformation. You’ve persuaded countries to welcome millions of displaced Ukrainians, and to provide them with access to education, health care, and the opportunity to work, so they can continue to lead lives of dignity and purpose as they await the ability to come home.

I’ve seen the difference these efforts make here in Washington, in the relentless and effective work of Ambassador Markarova. I’ve seen Dmytro do the same at the G7 and NATO, in the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council, and so many other places.  And you’re achieving all this under extremely difficult, and – as the recent attack in Madrid demonstrated – dangerous circumstances. You’ve endured threats, intimidation, harassment. You haven’t given up. You’ve worked harder.

You’ve endured personal hardships, too. You’ve seen your hometowns and cities destroyed by Russian missiles. You’ve seen friends and loved ones killed or wounded. You’re apart from family members in Ukraine – worrying about their safety. Still, you persist. You deliver for your nation and your people. Because of your efforts, Ukraine has stronger alliances and partnerships around the globe. And the world is better off for it.

Standing at the White House with President Biden, President Zelenskyy was asked what his wish was for the American people. Peace, he said. And the ability to see our children grow up in a world without war or violence, so they can play and learn and realize their full potential.

Today, as we prepare to start a new year, I wish the same for you and your children. And I want you to know that America will continue to stand by you, wherever you serve, to realize that just and durable peace, a return to a world where Ukrainian children can live without fear and realize their  full potential.

Slava Ukraini! And glory to Ukraine’s brave diplomats.