February 24, 2023
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Delivers Remarks at Ukrainian Institute of America on One Year Commemoration Of Ukraine's Resilience And Resistance

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Delivers Remarks at Ukrainian Institute of America on One Year Commemoration Of Ukraine's Resilience And Resistance

Governor Hochul: "[W]hat Russia did a year ago, what Putin did a year ago, was an assault on our ally. It was a strike on their sovereignty, an invasion of their ideals, a violation of their values and a drive against their democracy - all values that we as Americans, and we as New Yorkers, share with the Ukrainian people."

Hochul: "And today, Ukraine remains strong and above all, it remains free. And it will remain free because we, as the rest of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder in your fight to preserve not just freedom for your people, but freedom for the world. That is the battle we are in."

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered remarks at the Ukrainian Institute of America on the one-year commemoration of Ukraine's resilience and resistance. The Governor also visited St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in New York City today and lit a candle on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yesterday, the Governor announced that New York State landmarks would be lit blue and yellow tonight, February 24, to mark the one-year anniversary. The Governor also directed the Ukrainian flag to be flown over the New York State Capitol building in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Thank you for such a warm welcome. I'm so proud to be here. Kathy, thank you for the introduction. Thank you for making me feel a part of the Ukrainian family as all New Yorkers do. And what we have gone through over this last year is nothing short of extraordinary. But to know that the Ukrainian American Institute right here in the City of New York is a place that people can gather on an occasion like today, honor the struggles, honor the lives lost and honor those who served with such dignity that you inspired the world.

I want to give a round of applause to the members of the Ukrainian military in the front row. Your courage is why the rest of the world could not turn their eyes away from what was happening, because people stood up and said, "No." And that inspires people all across this world. And that is part of your legacy, gentlemen. It is part of your story.

Because what Russia did a year ago, what Putin did a year ago, was an assault on our ally. It was a strike on their sovereignty, an invasion of their ideals, a violation of their values and a drive against their democracy - all values that we as Americans, and we as New Yorkers, share with the Ukrainian people. And today, Ukraine remains strong and above all, it remains free. And it will remain free because we, as the rest of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder in your fight to preserve not just freedom for your people, but freedom for the world. That is the battle we are in.

One year ago, I was with many leaders of the community, the Consul General, business members, members of this organization. We went to St. George's Church, and we prayed. We prayed. We prayed that the Lord would deliver us, the people of Ukraine, from this brutal assault by the Russians. And over the course of this year, there were countless times that I'm sure Putin just shook his head and says, "Why won't they go down? Why won't they submit? Why won't they surrender?" But it wasn't in the soul of the Ukrainian people. It just wasn't there.

And I want to say that New York is the home of many things. That's why as Governor, I needed to be here tonight. It's the home of the Statue of Liberty, the symbol to the rest of the world that we treasure the ability of people to come here from throughout the world to have freedom, a taste of freedom that's what that statue symbolizes. It's also the home of the United Nations, built after conflicts and people came together and said, "No more. We will stand with each other." And most of all, today, it's the home of the largest Ukrainian population in our country. There are 150,000 people, and I'm enormously proud of that.

So, I went back a year later to St. George's, lit a candle, prayed, continued our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people once again. And I was so proud to see President Biden make that treacherous journey over, slip into the country. No one knew he was coming. And he stood with President Zelensky showing the solidarity of our people together. If that was not one of most powerful images to show who we are standing with, then I don't know what possibly could be. And I was so proud in that very moment.

And I also thought about what New York State could do. Yes, we're embracing thousands of refugees who are now calling New York home, at least temporarily, until they can go back to their homeland because they want to go back to their homeland - a free land. And we'll make sure they're taken care of until they can.

But when the assault happened, I said, "I need to do more." So immediately I issued executive orders to say, "We are no longer doing business with the brutal dictatorship and Putin." We said, "We're not doing business with Russia." So we stopped all of our companies from doing business with Russia a year ago. I prohibited all of our state agencies from doing any businesses. We also said, "We'll stand with our local businesses for sure." And I've been out there promoting our local businesses to show that we support what they're doing. And that includes lunch many times, dinner many times at a wonderful place called Veselka. I mean I love that place. They have Pierogis that rival my Polish mother-in-law's pierogis, which brings me to someone else I want to make sure you know before I leave here today.

New York never had a female Governor before, so you never had a First Gentleman. I'm proud to introduce my husband, Bill Hochul, who has traveled to Ukraine many, many times. He has walked the streets in service of the United States government to bring peace. That was one of his responsibilities as a federal prosecutor, U.S. attorney. On behalf of the federal government, he went to Ukraine. He got to know the people. He told me the stories. This is a long time ago, but the story is still the same. The Ukrainian people are undeterred. They are strong, they are resilient. And I'm here to tell you they will be victorious.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the people of Ukraine.

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