Ukraine celebrates Defenders’ Day on Oct. 1. We bow our heads in honor of heroic, courageous and noble Ukrainian warriors unshakably standing for the security of our people, peace and stability on our land, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state.
Ukraine and its people have been fighting a full-scale war against Russia for independence since February 2022.
Even after 580 days of ill-destined military operations and 280,000 dead Russian soldiers, the aggressor has not abandoned attempts to occupy all of Ukraine, destroy our statehood and erase our identity.
In revenge for its losses on the battlefield, Russia continues to terrorize Ukrainian civilians by targeting critical infrastructure and residential areas with missiles and drones.
Along with that, the Ukrainian counteroffensive is gaining momentum and confidently moving toward new victories on both tactical and strategic scales. In some parts of the front line, we have significant progress, while in others we staunchly defend our positions.
Our stance remains unchanged: Ukraine is determined to fight on and expel the Russian invaders from its territory. We do require more mine-clearing equipment, air defense systems, artillery and ammunition, long-range missiles and armored vehicles.
We critically need to achieve superiority in the air. With F-16s, Ukraine will be able to much more robustly protect peaceful Ukrainian cities and civilians, while allowing our armed forces to make even more progress in the combat zone.
It is important to recognize that Ukraine not only fights militarily, but is also challenged economically. In this strategic context, President Volodymyr Zelensky has spearheaded our entire political leadership to comprehensively pursue essential national interests.
Ukraine’s economy is demonstrating resilience. It adapted to war conditions and began to recover even more rapidly than expected — national economic growth is forecasted to reach 3.2 percent, while inflation has fallen faster than predicted for the fifth consecutive month to 12.8 percent in June from 26.6 percent in 2022.
The level of Ukrainian international monetary reserves was fixed at almost $39 billion, a record for the entire history of independent Ukraine.
Our state has been granted EU candidate status, acknowledging the outstanding efforts by Ukraine to stop Russia's unprovoked aggression, while protecting mutually shared democratic values and international legal principles.
We are consistently developing our priority partnerships, which was shown in Vilnius during NATO Summit in July — a breakthrough event.
Members of the alliance are unshakable in their commitment to provide Ukraine with all necessary practical and political support. The vision is clear: Ukraine’s place is in NATO. Moscow does not have a say in this regard.
A meeting of national security advisers on the implementation of Ukraine’s peace formula held in Jeddah in August was a milestone event.
Ukraine’s delegation was led by Andrii Yermak, head of the Presidential Office, who pays special attention to developing relations with Saudi Arabia.
Today, the peace formula is the highest priority of Ukraine’s foreign policy, and we believe that in cooperation with our Saudi partners, along with other GCC states, it can be effectively implemented in accordance with international law.
This presidential initiative could be used as an example for the settlement of other regional conflicts.
It is a universal mechanism based on the UN Charter and international law that could easily be adapted to the circumstances in hand.
We welcome all states concerned to join our mission to deliver peace all over the globe.
It is crucial to acknowledge that a peaceful Ukraine is the strategic answer to lasting food security in the world. We have already delivered about 33 million tons of agricultural products to 45 countries, and can do more if sea routes are secure.
Ukraine plans to hold the second Summit on Food Security on Nov. 25 in Kyiv to maximize international cohesion for continuing implementation of the presidential initiative “Grain from Ukraine.”
Oct. 1 holds special significance, serving as a reminder of Ukraine’s indomitable spirit in the face of existential challenges. It is the date that showcases the nation’s resilience and its remarkable ability to overcome any struggles that it faces on the path to brighter future.
On this day we pay homage to each and everyone who demonstrates extraordinary courage and bravery while defending our lives.
• Anatolii Petrenko is the ambassador of Ukraine to Saudi Arabia.