Remarks by CdA Crowley at the Ukrainian Women’s Bandura Concert

Parco della Musica Ennio Morricone
Sala Sinopoli
February 22, 2023

(As prepared for delivery)

Good evening. Thank you, Undersecretary Mazzi. As a key member of NATO, the EU, and the G7, Italy plays a leading role in the international coalition supporting Ukraine. I would also like to thank all of our partners, especially Canada and the United Kingdom, without whom tonight’s event would not have been possible.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine. The attack on a neighboring country is a clear violation of international law and the UN charter. Putin thought he could roll over Kyiv and that the world was too divided to respond. Instead, Ukraine has defended itself valiantly.

More than 140 countries have condemned Russia. And the transatlantic alliance is stronger than ever before.

As Vice President Harris said in Munich, Russia’s atrocities and war crimes are an assault on our common values, an attack on our common humanity.

Tonight’s event is a reminder that Russia’s war is also an attempt to extinguish Ukraine’s culture and identity. From the bombing of the theater in Mariupol to the looting of museums and libraries, Russia has tried to destroy Ukraine’s cultural heritage. Russia will also fail in this effort. Tonight, we will hear music celebrating Ukraine’s identity and expressing hope and resilience for the future.

For the musicians and all our Ukrainian friends, I will repeat what President Biden said this week in Kyiv. “You remind us that freedom is priceless; it’s worth fighting for as long as it takes.” And that’s how long the international community will stand with Ukraine, for as long as it takes. Grazie e Slava Ukraiini!