Pressemøde den 20. august 2023


Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen:

Welcome, and thank you all for coming.

And thank you to all of you Danes who have just tuned in.

This is a remarkable moment.

I am honoured and humbled to present a very special guest.

One of the greatest heroes of our time – Mr. President Zelenskyy.

Few – if any – can understand the brutal reality you face. The responsibility you carry on your shoulders.

Millions of Danes have followed you and your people. From the very first day of this terrible war. And every day since.

And now, you are standing right here in Skrydstrup in Southern Jutland –

i Sønderjylland.

Your leadership has inspired us all. The entire world.

The extraordinary willpower. Of you. And your people.

On behalf of the Danish people: We are proud to have you here.

You have our deepest respect and gratitude.

Mr. President Zelenskyy.

You are the face of good against evil. Right against wrong.

For almost one and a half year, you and your countrymen have been fighting against a cruel and shameless aggressor.

Against all odds, you have stood your ground.

Tirelessly defended your country.

We see it in the eyes of every Ukrainian man and woman.

The strength. The determination. Not to let the oppressor win.

Not to give in the use of brute force.

You are fighting – not only for your own country.

But for free nations, men, women and children all over the world.

This battle. For freedom. Democracy. A safe Europe and a just world.

It’s a battle that none of us can afford to lose.

Mr. Zelenskyy, every day you and your fellow Ukrainians have shown us what true bravery is.

And for that we owe you all the support that we can give.

Since the beginning of the war, Denmark has been standing by you.

And it goes for all Danes.

Because we know that your freedom is our freedom.

We also know that you need more. 

That is why, today, we announce that we will donate 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Together with the Netherlands, we are the first country to make a solid and concrete commitment to donate Western fighter jets.

And hopefully, others will follow now.

Ukraine’s ability to secure your airspace is crucial.

We hope and we believe that the Danish jets will help you defend your sky.

To protect the Ukrainian people.

And help Ukraine take back the land that is rightfully yours.

I am very thankful for the very broad political commitment from all parties in the Danish Parliament.

As well as the overwhelming support from the Danish people.

President Zelenskyy – please take this donation as a token of Denmark’s unwavering support for your country’s fight for freedom.

We stand by you – now and in the future.

And I promise you. On behalf of all Danes: No matter how long this terrible war might last – Denmark will not falter.

And with those words, I am very proud, today, in Sønderjylland, to pass on the floor to our honoured guest – Mr. President Zelenskyy.

Welcome to Denmark!

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

It is too much, (too) hot. And warm words to me.

But I’m very thankful. Great honour to be here and I am thankful to you, Mette, your team, and, of course, to your strong, great people.

Thank you, that you are with us.

And tomorrow I will have the possibility to address (to) you and I will have much (more) time for it.

And of course, I will do it with pleasure, from the heart of each (and every) Ukrainian.

And I’m really, really thankful, very much, to you.

Dear Mrs. Prime Minister.

Dear Mette, dear participants, dear journalists.

Our dear fighters, who are already here, and whom I can see in Denmark.

All of our soldiers in Ukraine are waiting for the chance to protect our skies.

When we have an opportunity to use the F-16.

Today we have a day of powerful news for Ukraine, and it is much needed.

As Mette said, the most important is that our agreements are very specific, as always, and that they are, as they say, “without water”.

They are very precise and very clear in content.

We have agreed on the transfer from Denmark of 19 F16-fighter jets.

It is a very important support for us.

The training is already under way. We already talked to our boys and girls who are studying here, who will be working with the F-16, and are going to be working with the F-16 in our airspace.

I would like to speak some kind words to our soldiers and our specialists.

A very clear and well-earned praise.

They are motivated, just like all of us in the Ukraine. Motivated to win.

And there was a very important signal that was given today, that everybody will do everything possible in order to receive the first planes as fast as possible.

I won’t speak more about that now, but it is a very important signal.

I thank you, Mette.

We will extend the training missions. For our part, we have understood the algorithm.

Our entire infrastructure will be improved.

We are preparing. We will be working together with other partners.

Thus, the success of the Ukrainian air defence system will grow.

Today, the great support from Denmark and the Netherlands create an important possibility and with that number of planes we will protect Ukraine and we will protect our people.

This is a powerful and great agreement.

Today we talked about our capabilities on the battlefield.

Today, Denmark’s support is one of the most important. 

It certainly takes the lead.

It is air defence as well as artillery and ammunition.

Coastal defence. Leopard tanks.

Armed personnel carriers. Demining machinery.


We work with the capabilities we have in our defence, not just on land, but also at sea.

Our Ukrainian ports.

It is important for food security, globally.

It is very important that at the meeting in Copenhagen a cooperation format was outlined by national security experts and representatives from the Ministry of foreign Affairs, with the peace formula.

It is no longer a question of whether the formula is going to be implemented.

Now, it is a question of which states are going to take the lead with specific points in the peace formula, and the movement originated in the preliminary political negotiations which took place in Hiroshima during the G7 summit and during advisory meetings in Copenhagen, as well as the concrete work of officials and diplomats.

I thank you for your help.

And I’d like to emphasize the importance of your participation in the rebuilding of Ukraine.

Mette, of your work.

The absolute specificity of your assistance, in particular to our city, which is permanently under shelling by the occupiers, Mykolajiv.

Is a very good example, Mykolajiv, for other countries that want to help restore and protect normal life.

Mrs. Prime Minister personally visited Mykolajiv, and we were together with her.

I know that the feedback on the cooperation between Ukraine and Denmark in such an important issue as reconstruction, is extremely positive.

And it is very important that we work together in all areas, in all details, to protect people, their lives, international law and our Europe.

Free, strong, and giving the world more freedom.

Thank you so much, Mette. Thank you, Denmark.

Thank you to all citizens of your wonderful state.

Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen: Thank you so much Mr. President and now we will open the floor to some questions.

Natalia Fiebrig, Ukrainian TV-channel 1+1:

Mr. President today you were just inside the F-16, and I know that our pilots even didn’t have such an opportunity. How did you feel?

Don’t you think that this decision from Denmark and the Netherlands could maybe push other countries to easier take some decisions and which decisions are you hoping for?

Which type of armament is really necessary for Ukraine?

And, if I may, Mrs. Prime Minister, the question is the following: This discussion, about those aircrafts, was very long. So, did you need to convince your voters of why Ukraine needs those aircrafts? Why the support is necessary, for Ukraine.

Why aren´t you afraid as others are afraid?

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

Thank you, Mette. Well, first of all we are grateful to our partners for their support.

And really, we have several coalitions, rather important ones.

They were not that easy to get. But the outcome is there, and that is a fact.

We had the united coalition of air defence, including Patriots.

Yes, they are not enough, so far, but we have a big number of different air defence systems, including Danish. Which provided us with different systems, of different levels. But all of them are really needed.

And during this year we united lots of countries.

As for air defence which is insufficient – yes, we understand that, and the whole world acknowledges that, because if it were enough there were no missiles, or at least there would be missiles, but people wouldn´t be killed.

When is it enough? When is it sufficient enough? When everybody survives.

At least to decrease these risks. We’ll try to speed up those processes. Working with the countries.

We are working powerfully and it’s a very hard process.

Today we are at the level when for instance NASAMS and IRIS-T are increased in numbers, and I am thankful to our partners for that.

But it’s not that easy to deal with Patriots and even though, we need to be as transparent as possible.

Today, this is the most powerful system which does not allow to kill our people, by any missile of Russian adversary.

That is why, to stop this terror is to work more powerfully with this coalition.

Secondly, as for the modern armed vehicles, which would save the lives of our soldiers. Not the civilians, but on the battlefield – yes, we feel this lack as well.

The third point, which we are working on. We are thankful to the EU countries and the United States for the artillery rounds and shells.

They will always not be enough. Of course, the supremacy on the battlefield as for the amount of ammunition and rounds is higher for Russia, at the time. But I’m sure that we will cope with that, we’ll overcome this deficit.

And, again, this is a groundbreaking day. Denmark and the Netherlands are the first signs.

But I think that this signal when you ask why, well, different reasons are there. Some people say this is politics, some people say that their society does not support that much.

Well, I am grateful that the team, with Mrs. Prime Minister and the society, are united in this support.

It is very important. And I think the most important of what takes place today is that this is a huge push for other countries, which were in doubt whether to deliver jets to us or not.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen:

Well, first of all thank you for your question and I had to admit as the Danish Prime Minister there are so many things, I am proud about when it comes to Denmark and the Danish population.

But one of the things I am mostly proud of in these years is that we have never had – it has never been necessary – for us as a government, to convince the Danes about our support to Ukraine.

The Danes are totally behind Ukraine, and it has been like that from the very beginning.

We know that you are struggling.

It has now been more than a year and a half. And from the very first day, the Danes have totally been behind you and all the signals we are receiving as a government are that this will be the case, also, in the future.

So, for as long as it takes, we will be with you.

And one of the things I’m really looking forward to, while you and your team are visiting Denmark, is to show you as a president and to show the people of Ukraine that this is not only a decision made by politicians, in Denmark. This is a population. All the Danes are with you, and this is what we are going to show you in the hours to come.

Lotte Mejlhede, TV 2 Denmark:

From both of you, we’d like some more information on when those F-16s can be delivered to Ukraine, and then, perhaps also an important question, if there are any conditions linked to the donations, for instance that they can’t be used to hit targets inside Russia.

And if that is the case, Mr. President, do you, then, think that such conditions are reasonable?

Thank you.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen: Can I start this time?

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Yes, please.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen:

Well, first of all, when we have decided to donate these airplanes and to train, to start training, and we have seen it today, more than 70 people from Ukraine are now on the ground here in Sønderjylland (Southern Jutland), preparing for the training, this is a decision about defending Ukraine. So, the purpose of this donation is to defend Ukraine, and the country.

And on the concrete questions. When are we planning to deliver.

Well, the screening is going on now. The training will soon be starting, and hopefully around the new year, the first group of planes will be leaving Denmark, going to Ukraine. Around six, and then, hopefully, next year, eight more planes are leaving Denmark for Ukraine and then the year after, five planes.

So, we will do it as quick as possible and we just need all the technical details and all the skills to be prepared, in a good way, and then we are ready.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

I think Mette knows everything about the dates. That’s it.

I think, when everybody will be ready, we will get them. The main thing, that is the decision. We have very concrete decision with a very concrete number. But in terms of the dates, it is also that both sides have to work hardly. Not only training here, we have to prepare our pilots, and to send our guys here, engineers, pilots and interpreters, also people who work on infrastructure in Ukraine with our … to prepare. Of course … who has experience in it … of course we will work together, but anyway now that   … on our unity …

Conditions? About the (not hitting targets in) Russia? We didn’t talk about it. Really.

I mean, for us, the main thing: they occupied our territory. So that is, for this very concrete mission, to defend ourselves. It´s not only about counter defence.

For us, the main goal: To defend our houses, to defend our people, our soldiers. That is defensive, to have such heroes and we cannot lose them. The main goal, the main target.

You know, we are not Russians. We need Ukrainian land.  

Svetlana Addis:

Hello, Svetlana (…)  (…) television channel. I have a question to both of you, Mrs. Prime Minister, and Mr. President.

Lately we can hear so many statements and comments that in exchange of this, in exchange of NATO membership, Ukraine will have to give up some of the territories. What´s your attitude towards these statements? How would you comment?

Is it the pressure of the West? That the war is too long?

Thank you.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen:

Well, I can be very clear on that. The question of the future of Ukraine belongs with the Ukrainians. And we have said that from the very beginning. It is up to Ukraine to decide when and how.

And this will be the case for Denmark.

We are going to support you for as long as it takes, but the question about when you are ready to go into negotiations can only be taken by Ukraine.

Svetlana Addis: Mr. President, what will you say?

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: The exchange of territories? We are ready to exchange Belgorod for our membership in NATO. Thank you.

Mads Korsager, DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation):

Mr. Zelenskyy, while you were waiting for a decision on a donation of heavy weapons, of fighter planes, Russia was preparing, digging trenches, digging mine fields.
Do you think that in that waiting time there was an opportunity, there was an open window for counter-offensive closing?

And are you also afraid that the same countries that made you wait also will force you to make a deal with Russia about trading land?

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:

Thank you for the question. Well, you know, it’s a very complicated question.

Why? Well, because our military, our soldiers, did not provide any powerful counter offensive actions before, because, honestly, we didn’t have anything to do it with.

If you have a lack of armed vehicles, a lack of tanks, everything is very simple. You will just loose the people.

Thousands of people may perish. And you will just take one, two or five kilometres, but you will lose thousands of people, who will just perish.

But you will not achieve the objective, which was the only one which we needed, that is, deoccupation, the full deoccupation of our territories. That´s it. We will be waiting until we have capacities.

Yes, during all this time, you’re right, the Russian Federation was mining and fortifying the territories. That is obvious, lots of fortifications were made, even eight years ago, by the way.

Let me be sincere. Since 2014, 2015, 2016, they were doing that, in Donbas, they were doing that after they occupied the part of our Donbas.

That is a very complicated process, and we did not loose our motivation and we are moving forward.

And I cannot criticize our partners because today, as well as any other Ukrainian, I’m getting support from our partners. And it’s why I can be only grateful for such support.

That’s it.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen: Thank you so much, all of you, for coming here today, and this was the end of the press conference.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Thank you so much.