Now Ukrainians are forced to live in a paradigm of war, but our democratic values, for which Ukrainian civil society fought during all the years of the restoration of independence, remain unchanged. This was stated by the Chair of the Board at Civil Network OPORA Olga Aivazovska during the civil society summit "Security guarantees for Ukrainian democracy in times of war", which was held for the first time in Kyiv on June 27. We present the full-text version of her speech below.

Thank you, dear audience! I am grateful to the representatives of diplomatic missions and representations!

It is important for us to be on the same page regarding the events that are currently happening in the country and those that will happen when Ukraine transits to the European Union, to a developed democratic community, despite the fact that the war continues. 

As the leader of advocating for reforms in Ukraine and democratic values in Ukraine, the Civil Network OPORA is proud to bring you together here to discuss openly and frankly the situation and develop solutions related to democracy in times of war. We understand that in times of war, security is paramount, but we have to keep as a constant the values that our Civil Network OPORA and many advocates and human rights defenders in Ukraine have been fighting for.

We've had three revolutions, and they all stood for good governance, for the rights and freedoms. Not a single one was related to social payments or special economic conditions. It was about civil society raising its voice and demonstrating that it is in this country that we won't have the authorities that would change these constant values that we all ascribe to.

Even during the war, we do not agree to accept rules that would be different in terms of democracy and values from those that we support and promote during peacetime. Society has been fighting for 30 years to have fair and free elections, for society to be living in our conflict-free, civilized way so that every voice could be heard in the context of the reform of the European choice. I believe we do a lot of good things all together, but at the same time, we have to answer the key question. Where is this borderline between security and democratic institutions that, under the circumstances, have to develop nonetheless? Why is it so? According to the Declaration of Human Rights, every individual is entitled to participate in the governance of their country, either directly or through the legally and legitimately elected representatives. Now that we've got legitimate representatives, but we cannot ensure the change in the democratic institutions, we have to get more tools for inclusion, for the impact, for the open discussion.

We've tried to assess whether there is at least a single example in history whereby a country with democratic governance, with the relations commonly recognized as free and fair, would be thinking of establishing the vertical of power, but that would go through the war and huge challenges and difficulties of such processes as, for example, European integration. Ukraine is a unique country with a unique story and with unique, vibrant, democratic civil society whose voice should be heard. And we should find in our common open discussion fair solutions and answers to these questions. What is democracy in the times of war? How should we reboot our democratic institutions? We and our partners are on the right side of history and share the Western world's democratic values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. So how should we be strong? Because without that we won't survive. The state that now has sufficient armaments, ammunition, and economic and humanitarian support would not survive without the support of its allies. And nobody will be speaking about support unless we ensure that there is democracy and democratic values in force here.

So, I'm thankful to you for coming. I'm sure that together, we will be able to find the right answers. We will send all our partners a paper with recommendations from the best Ukrainian experts who have come to these discussions.