Speech Prime Minister Rutte at opening European Political Community Summit in Moldova

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we are meeting in Moldova.
And that speaks volumes.
Here, in a country that borders on Ukraine, the Russian threat is palpable.
Russia is undermining the Moldovan people’s sense of freedom and security with cyberattacks and hybrid threats.
This highlights the widespread impact of this war.
We are deeply impressed by Moldova’s resilience.
And by your leadership, Maia.
It is an example to us all.
We are happy to be here.
Thank you for organizing this meeting in extraordinary times.

In the run-up to this summit, I was reminded of a quote by the Irish writer, George Bernard Shaw:
Liberty means responsibility, he said. That is why most men dread it.
Today, more than forty heads of state and government have gathered here to take responsibility.
United in our conviction that we must do whatever is necessary to restore peace, security and justice in Europe.

I could elaborate about those efforts if I had more time.
About how crucial it is to sign up to the register of damage we established in Reykjavik at the Council of Europe Summit.
About the need for even more countries to speak out against Russia’s war of aggression – countries in Africa, for example.

Instead, I will confine myself to one key point: Ukraine must win.
And we must do all we can to make that possible.
Like building an international fighter jet coalition, to enhance the capacity of Ukraine’s air force.
Together with Denmark, Belgium and the United Kingdom, and the help of others, the Netherlands will start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 as soon as possible.
This is an essential step in ensuring Ukraine can defend itself, also in the long term.
But we also need to expand the existing Patriot-coalition in which Germany, the United States and The Netherlands are participating.
We have seen what these systems do to protect for example the people living in Kyiv.
But you are using them at high speed, so we need more.
And we need more countries who own the Patriotsystems to get involved.
I will at least try today to convince as many partners as possible.
I don’t need to tell you how much is at stake.
Every day, we see the terrible images from Kyiv and the front lines of the war.
And we all know this war will not simply end by itself.

We all know, as in every war, there will be setbacks.
Especially in those times, Ukraine must know that they can count on all of us.
That in those times, the answer will be:
More humanitarian support, not less.
More financial support, not less.
More military support, not less.
Volodomir, this is our commitment to you.
Thank you for being here.

The watchword at this summit is ‘responsibility’.
It is the only answer to the question of how we should deal with the challenges we face.
Today, we will take new steps forward.
We will take responsibility.
Ukraine must win.
Ukraine will win.

Thank you.