Feb 18, 2024

Vice President Harris and President Zelenskyy Speak to the Press Transcript

Vice President Harris and President Zelenskyy Speak to the Press Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsKamala HarrisVice President Harris and President Zelenskyy Speak to the Press Transcript

Vice President Harris and President Zelenskyy Speak to the Press. Read the transcript here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Kamala Harris (00:00):

Are we ready?

Good afternoon everyone. President Zelenskyy, it was my honor to meet with you again. This is our fifth meeting by my count and our first meeting was here most exactly two years ago. I want to thank you for all that you have done and all that you are as a leader. You and I have had many conversations and it is my honor to say as part of a public conversation, that you have been an extraordinarily courageous leader and have shown your commitment to the Ukrainian people and to democratic principles including the most important, one of the most important, which is the importance of sovereignty and territorial integrity. So it is good to see you again. I was in Munich and have been here to talk about where we stand currently in terms of our relationship to the Ukrainian people and our unyielding commitment on behalf of the United States to the Ukrainian people and to their sovereignty, to their freedom.

Two years ago when I was here, it was to foreshadow the Russian playbook for the world and to outline the steps the United States, along with our allies and partners would take in response to their aggression. And I shared with the president then, President Zelenskyy that the United States stands with Ukraine and we have been proud to stand with Ukraine over the last two years. And President Joe Biden and I will continue to stand with Ukraine as I said yesterday, and as we say every day. Yesterday we received reports that Alexei Navalny died in Russia. I met with his wife Yulia yesterday and expressed my outrage and sorrow. In this fight, and I will say that Alexei Navalny has been a brave leader who stood up against corruption and autocracy and he stood up for the truth. The reports of his death are further proof of Putin’s brutality. It reminds us why our support for Ukraine is so important because Ukraine is fighting back heroically against Putin’s continued brutality.

In Munich two years ago, many thought Kyiv would fall in a matter of days. Yet thanks to the skill and bravery of the people of Ukraine and the support of the 50 Nation Coalition, the United States has led, Kyiv stands free and strong. President Zelenskyy, that is a testament as I’ve said to your extraordinary leadership and the determination of the people of Ukraine and their willingness to fight for their homes and their homeland, for their freedom and their independence. In this fight, Ukraine has achieved significant success against an adversary on an imperialistic quest to subjugate your nation. An adversary within an economy 10 times larger than Ukraine, a population 3 times larger, and a military that once ranked as the second best in the world.

You have stood strong in the face of Russia’s advances and countered its aerial assaults. You have regained half the territory Russia controlled at the start of this conflict. You have inflicted major damage on Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea and maintained the flow of grain to world markets. You have kept heat and electricity on in the face of unconscionable attacks on civilian infrastructure, and you have made a range of reforms that will help accelerate Ukraine’s integration with the West. Because of our collective strength, this war has been an utter failure for Putin. President Zelenskyy, the stakes of your fight remain high for your country and for the entire world, and it is in the strategic interest of the United States to continue our support. International rules and norms are on the line, including the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. History shows us if we allow an aggressor like Putin to take land with impunity, they keep going.

The other would be aggressors then become emboldened. On this trip to Munich, I have worked with our allies and partners to ensure that we stay united and strong in support of Ukraine. Today, President Zelenskyy, you and I had a productive conversation about ongoing support from the United States and the international community, and we spoke of our support for Ukraine on the battlefield. As I said yesterday, you have the support of bipartisan majorities in both houses of the United States Congress. So as we move forward, the President and I, President Biden and I will continue to work to secure the resources and weapons that you need to succeed. We will also continue to support your efforts to secure a just and lasting peace. We will work to make sure Russia pays damages to Ukraine and ultimately we want to see Ukraine emerge from this war as a nation that is free, democratic and independent. President Zelenskyy as President Joe Biden and I have made clear, we will be with you for as long as it takes. I thank you again and please-

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (05:51):

Thank you so much.

Kamala Harris (05:57):

Thank you.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (05:57):

[foreign language 00:05:57].

Translator (05:57):

Thank you so much esteemed Madam Vice President, esteemed members of the delegation, dear journalists, I’m glad to have this meeting with Madame Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris. Thank you so much, Kamala. It is quite natural that main topics of our conversation were security and resilience. Security that we together restore Ukraine and the United States by all signs of our cooperation and resilience that we together build up when we preserve unity and help each other. I’m grateful to Madam Vice President for attention and for your words and for your respect to our nation and for the respect that you have expressed during our meeting to our people, to our warriors, to Ukrainians. Thank you so much for that. And I’m thankful for the vital support and leadership of the United States of America who helped to unite the world and to stand-off against Russian strikes.

We shall be together in the future, Ukraine and the United States and all world, all our partners, we shall continue to build up our security, achieve joint results to increase our resilience against Russian aggression. And each day prove to Putin that his hatred towards people, hatred towards freedom will never prevail over our unity, unity of the free world.

Of course, the key issue for us now is the preservation of principle American support. Ukraine and all our warriors need and await of the respective positive vote regarding the assistance package and I thank to everybody who understands how much depends on this single voting procedure. We have today discussed with Madam Vice President about how significant results were already achieved because of our joint work with the US, with partners in particular regarding air defenses. American Patriots are the best life preservation means of people against Russian terror, and each patriot not only saves hundreds and thousands of lives, but also allows our cities to function normally and therefore our economy. One of Ukrainian goals this year is economic growth. Last year we have had plus 5% GDP. This year we would need a corresponding growth rate in order to build up more of Ukrainian’s economic independence. The issue of air defense in this regard is the main thing.

I have informed Madam Vice president regarding the current situation on battlefield about our capabilities and perspectives upon the conditions of needed support levels. I have also briefed about the ongoing transformation of our state, in particular about decisions that can build up our resilience. We have also discussed the preparation of the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland on the level of leaders. One more principle topic is justice, justice of the further pressure on Putin and his regime in all directions. In particular this year, we need to ensure the confiscation and usage of Russian assets for the sake of protection against Russia’s terror.

Putin does not value lives of people. He does not understand and does not respect any rules. The only thing that is important for Putin is money and power. We need a strong decision that would confiscate frozen Russia’s assets, and we would need further full scale pressure with sanctions on Russia in order to constrain Putin’s capabilities to finance this war. I am glad to praise the proximity of our views on absolutely principle issues. Madam Vice President, I am grateful to you for our conversation. I thank to all American people. I am extremely thankful to Mr. President Biden, to both parties and both houses in Congress for the vital support and I’m sure that together we can stop Russia, we must stop. Thank you for your attention. Glory to Ukraine.

Kamala Harris (10:34):

We’ll take questions now from the press. Cleve Wootson of the Washington Post. Hello.

Cleve Wootson (11:08):

[inaudible 00:11:09].

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (11:11):

Can you turn on the microphone? No, it’s not on.

Kamala Harris (11:17):

The interpretation happening.

Translator (11:21):

Unfortunately the interpretation is not happening as we cannot hear the speaker.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (11:32):

Yeah, let’s take this one if it’s possible. Sorry, I don’t hear him

Cleve Wootson (11:41):

No problem. Do I need to ask the question to you again Madam Vice President?

Kamala Harris (11:44):

No, I got it.

Cleve Wootson (11:45):

Okay. And to President Zelenskyy, let’s pull up my question. The US Congress so far has not approved more military aid for you. Without that aid, does your country have a path to victory? And is the lack of funding a betrayal because President Biden has promised that he would be with you until the very end?

Kamala Harris (12:07):

I’ll start. As I made very clear yesterday, the issue of supporting Ukraine and where the United States stands on that issue is integral to who we are as the United States of America. We have historically and currently stand as a global leader on certain fundamental democratic principles, including the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity. We stand with our friends. Our membership in NATO has been a role that is about a commitment to our allies based on shared principles of what it means to abide by democratic principles that have historically insured stability and security for those participating in this partnership. As I made very clear yesterday, when we talk about the role of America as it relates to our support for Ukraine, we must be unwavering and we cannot play political games. Political gamesmanship has no role to play in what is fundamentally about the significance of standing with an ally as it endures an unprovoked aggression.

Politics should play no role in standing for the fact that Vladimir Putin through his leadership of Russia, has shown himself to be fundamentally hostile to democratic principles. Not to mention what we learned about in the last 24 hours in terms of the killing of Navalny. So this is about where we stand as a nation. And as it relates to the supplemental, we have been clear, the President and I both in private conversations with members of the United States Congress and in public, we are clear and certain that for the majority in both the United States Senate and the United States House of Representative, there is bipartisan support for this approach. There is bipartisan support for what America is and what we stand for. And we are unwavering and that has nothing to do with an election cycle. It has to do with who we are and what kind of country we want to be, one that stands with our friends. President Zelenskyy?

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (14:59):

Thank you so much. [foreign language 00:15:05].

Translator (15:06):

Thank you for this question. We are counting on this positive decision of the Congress. For us, this package is vital. We do not currently look into alternatives because we are counting on the United States as our partner, strategic partner, that this partner will remain strategic partner. If we’re speaking about the alternative, then this means that it would be not our strategic partner. That’s why I’m not looking into such alternative.

And we also do not look into such alternative strategically and politically. Is this package a way to victory? No, this would not be enough because our path to victory is people, the morality of Ukrainian warrior, of people, the assistance packages, sanctions of the partners. That is a big allied work and not quarterly work but on a daily basis. And that’s why it is so important. But this package is a definitely way forward and that is a fact, but it would be not victory yet. But moving forward is much, much better than stagnation on the battlefield. Do I believe that this is a betrayal? No, because I do not think that our strategic partner can allow itself to not support Ukraine. This, I do not see the opportunity for strategic partner to take such stance. We see challenges: electoral, internal, political. I do not want to comment on those because those are in internal processes in the US and of the people of the United States. But I count that the allied stance will remain.

Kamala Harris (17:10):

President Zelenskyy If you want to.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (17:14):

[foreign language 00:17:22].

Nina Kolomiiets (17:14):

[foreign language 00:17:23].

Translator (17:23):

Greetings Nina Kolomiiets, Inter Channel. I have a question to Madam Vice President and to Mr. President. We see how difficult it is for the Congress to deal with the assistance to Ukraine. Could you please elaborate on why such vital issue to us has been so postponed and whether United States has a plan B, shall the House of Representatives not confirm the assistance package to Ukraine? And also the question regarding the signature of Ukraine with bilateral security agreements, firstly with Great Britain, yesterday with France and Germany. I have a question. When the agreement on cooperation in security field will be signed between Ukraine and the United States of America, perhaps there are already preliminary negotiations on this topic?

Kamala Harris (18:17):

There’s only plan A, which is to ensure that Ukraine receives what it needs. I will emphasize that an indication of where we can and frankly must be is that there is bipartisan support in both of our houses of Congress on the Senate side and the House of Representatives. And it is my full belief that were the supplemental packages security package to make it to the floor of the House of Representatives that it would actually pass.

I also believe that there is consensus across party lines in the United States Congress that recognizes the brutal nature of Moscow’s aggression and that there must be a response that includes standing by our friends and supporting those who fight against that aggression. And I do believe there is consensus within the United States Congress that the American leadership, elected leaders in the United States Congress must be unified in their opposition to Russia’s aggression as indicated over the course of the last 2+ years and the last 24 hours. And I do believe also there is consensus within the United States Congress that we must use everything that is available to us to support Ukraine in its fight to become and to maintain itself as an independent and democratic nation.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (20:04):

[foreign language 00:20:10].

Translator (20:10):

Thank you for the question. As regards to the security guarantees, right, so regarding the security guarantees, yes, our teams are working. We have held already two negotiation rounds and I’m sure that we will have a very powerful document with our partners. However, we have agreed upon that we all need to focus on what is needed right now. That’s why we focus on the work with Congress of the United States. And afterwards we will move on to security guarantees.

Kamala Harris (20:47):

Thank you all. Thank you.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (20:49):

Thanks so much.

Kamala Harris (20:49):

President Zelenskyy.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.