Yesterday, Prime Minister Janez Janša was the keynote speaker at the All-Slovenia Rally in Support of Ukraine, organised by the Ljubljana-Kyiv Cultural Society on the Congress Square in Ljubljana. In addition to the Prime Minister, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Slovenia Mihajlo F. Brodovič, the President of the National Council Alojz Kovšca, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defencce Matej Tonin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Zdravko Počivalšek and representative of the Ljubljana-Kyiv Cultural Society Yevgeny Goresnik, also spoke at the rally.
In his speech, the Prime Minister said in the introduction that people are dying in Ukraine now. “It is not just soldiers who are dying, civilians are dying, women and children are dying. The Russian military is rocketing and bombing civilian facilities, firing on civilians who oppose Russian tanks with their bare hands. Today’s shots are horrifying. However, the courage of Ukrainians is encouraging as some place themselves in front of tanks with their bare hands. This reminds us of the brave Slovenes in the Vipava Valley 30 and a half years ago, when Slovenia was facing a similar test.”
He went on to say that when Slovenians felt united and brave at the time, we knew we would succeed. “We said it might take a long time, but we would never give up and in the end we would win. And we did. However, we still remember well those tensions, threats, fears, and casualties in those June days. That is why we know how Ukrainians feel and that is why we are in solidarity with them from the bottom of our hearts and we ask them to persevere.”
In his speech, he recalled yesterday’s event when a Russian grenade hit the Slovenian consulate in Kharkov. “Late at night, I spoke with the Prime Minister of Ukraine. He told me that he had just spoken to the Ukrainian Minister of Health, who was crying on the phone because a few minutes ago a Russian rocket hit a car carrying the best and most famous Ukrainian cardiologist who had saved the life of a wounded Russian soldier in the hospital. On the way home, she was hit by a Russian grenade.” The Prime Minister said that a Russian grenade hit a building in which 60 children were killed yesterday. “Today we have been receiving such news practically all day.”
“So, in Ukraine today, they are not just fighting for freedom, for democracy and for a European future, they are fighting for their lives. If life is at stake, everything is at stake. Those who have come from Kiev in recent days said they were surprised by something.” The highway on the way from Kiev to the Polish border is full, as well as the part of the highway leading from the Polish border to Kiev. “Tens of thousands of men and boys working across Europe are returning home to defend Ukraine. The latest figure is 80,000. In war, you can defeat someone who withdraws and flees, but you cannot defeat a country where people from safe European cities go en masse to defend it. That is why Putin lost this war. However, every effort must be made to keep the war as short as possible, to negotiate, to bring peace and to withdraw the Russian army from Ukraine, and to establish a peace in which the clock can be turned forth and not back again.”
In his speech, Prime Minister Janez Janša presented the reasons why dictator Putin went into aggression against Ukraine. “The real reasons Putin went to Ukraine are not only that Putin fears a European Ukraine, where there is freedom and democracy that will also affect the internal situation in Russia, but the reasons are like those of other dictators who started wars in history. This is dangerous and we must be aware of it. That is why we need to know how important it is for Ukraine to defend itself and for the war not to spread.”
Putin also invaded Ukraine because it has the largest reserves of uranium ore in Europe, Ukraine has the largest area of fertile land in Europe, it has the second largest reserves of titanium ore in Europe. Ukraine has the third largest shale gas reserves in Europe. Ukraine is the third largest producer of nuclear energy in Europe. But Ukraine is also important for the entire world civilisation. Ukraine has the second largest iron ore reserves in the world and is the world’s third largest exporter. Ukraine has the second largest reserves of manganese ore in the world, the seventh largest reserves of coal in the world. Ukraine ranks fourth in the world in terms of mineral wealth, Ukraine ranks third in the world in terms of the area of black fertile land, together it has 25 percent of this most fertile land in the world. Ukraine is currently the third largest exporter of cereals in the world and has the potential to produce food for 600 million people. Ukraine is the fourth largest exporter of turbines for nuclear power plants in the world. So, for centuries, millennia, dictators have invaded neighbouring countries to steal their wealth, to strengthen themselves. Once they occupied the neighbouring country, they moved on. Anyone who thinks that Putin needs to be conceded to take over Ukraine and be stopped by sanctions has learned nothing from history. If Putin takes over Ukraine, then Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic states, and maybe some other intervention in the Balkans are next. Wherever Europe has not expanded, where NATO’s security umbrella is not in place.
He added that if Hitler had been stopped when he and Stalin invaded Poland in 1939, there would have been a war, of course, but it would not have lasted six years and claimed tens of millions of lives, but the dictator would have been stopped at the outset for a thousand times lesser price. “This is what the history of the last century teaches us, the history of this century, and in recent decades we have been taught that if the space of peace, democracy and freedom is not expanding, if the European Union is not expanding, someone else is expanding. That is why the enlargement of the European Union to all countries on the European continent is a strategic political response to the current strategic political challenge.” He also expressed great joy in recent days when we see a completely changed European Union. “What was not possible last week is possible today. The 27 member states of the European Union are united in this response, and we are united in NATO.” He reminded that no union is ideal, that it is full of conflicts and problems, but all this is now in parentheses, and we stand firmly together. “It is by far the greatest hope and guarantee of peace in the future. By far the greatest guarantee that the war will not spread, by far the greatest guarantee that the scenes we experienced in 1991 will not be repeated on our soil. Therefore, by helping Ukraine to defend itself, we are also defending Slovenia, we are defending Europe, we are defending European and world peace and the future of present and future generations. We will do our best to be successful.”
At the end of his speech, the Prime Minister thanked the participants of the All-Slovenia Rally. “We are doing everything we can in these aid measures.” The Prime Minister also thanked for many letters and messages. He said that he receives many calls from those who want to directly help refugees from Ukraine, that volunteers also apply. “Such unity has not existed in Slovenia or Europe in recent decades. Let us insist on helping the Ukrainians, let us be always with them. This aggression can drag on for a while, the Russian military machine is not as ideally powerful as some imagine. But it is not a paper tiger either.” He reminded us that we must persevere in this solidarity and help and not forget everything in a few days. “We should do everything in our power to make Ukraine endure, because Ukraine is fighting for us as well. Thanks for support. God lives in Slovenia. Glory to Ukraine!”