stated that the state should make veteran policy a priority of its activity, as respect for our Defenders should be felt at all levels of public life. He said this during his speech at the “Defenders. Roll Call” forum, which took place within the framework of the 5th International Volunteer and Veterans Forum “Ukraine Is Where We Are”, which is traditionally organized annually by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine and the “Return Alive” charity foundation.
The Head of State emphasized that every veteran should feel the gratitude of Ukrainians for his/her feat. He outlined the components that should form the basis of state policy.
“Veteran policy is a priority and independent direction of state policy. Not an addition to something, not on the residual principle, but priority and independent direction,” the President highlighted.
In his opinion, all the details of the state policy regarding veterans should be determined in synergy with the veteran community.
“Veterans should not only know what is being done for them and about them, but also participate in the development of concrete solutions. So that it is not the official who decides, but the veteran,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President noted that the state and business should do everything possible so that Ukrainian veterans do not lose the feeling that they are needed by the state and society, and have a perspective.
“First of all, this means a well-thought-out system of support for veterans during the transition from military to civilian life. No one from the veteran community should be left alone with difficulties, no matter what they are,” he stressed.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, veterans should receive the necessary assistance in obtaining education, employment and launching their own business.
“It should be an honor for every employer in Ukraine to have veterans of the war for the independence of Ukraine among its employees,” said the President.
The Head of State noted that these principles should be followed not only by representatives of the authorities, but also by all Ukrainians.
“All elements of veterans' policy need a modern legislative framework, clear coordination of state authorities and local self-government, awareness of business and the public of their part of responsibility in this area,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy is convinced.
The President announced that he signed the law that develops the system of transition from military career to civilian life.
The Head of State also underlined the need to solve the problem of housing for service members and veterans.
“Last year, we set the final solution of this problem as one of the key tasks. And now I not only confirm this task - despite all the difficulties, whatever they may be, I guarantee that we will fulfill it,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President noted that within the framework of the plan for reconstruction and further development of Ukraine, all conditions will be provided for clear and transparent provision of housing for Ukrainian military personnel and veterans.
The Head of State paid special attention to the system of rehabilitation of former defenders, which should focus on the development and adjustment of a person.
“We have to make sure that no one is afraid to talk about their problems because of what they experienced in war. And everyone should get the appropriate help,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
The President said that on the initiative of the First Lady of Ukraine, the National Program of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support is being created, which will be aimed in particular at helping veterans.
“At the level of the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs, relevant initiatives are also being implemented, but there should be more of them, much more, and they should be all-Ukrainian, so that every region of our country has a modern, convenient and effective rehabilitation system,” he said.
The Head of State also announced that he would give a prize of USD 100,000 for the Medal of Freedom awarded to him by the National Constitutional Center of the USA for the reconstruction and renovation of the rehabilitation center in Borodyanka, Kyiv region. The President also plans to make a personal contribution to the development of the veterans' rehabilitation system.
“I believe that this award is not for me personally, it is an award for the bravery of the entire Ukrainian people, our Armed Forces, and the desire of all our people to be free,” he said.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, society should realize the role of veterans and their feat in the name of all Ukrainians.
“The state will do its part in the management, information, and, importantly, educational spheres. It is important to do this on daily basis. But this requires the active participation of the veteran community. No one can tell about veterans better than they themselves,” the President is convinced.
The Head of State underlined that veterans, together with other citizens, should preserve and pass on to the next generations the truth about the war for the independence of Ukraine.