In a speech at Stanford University, President Volodymyr Zelensky outlined the difference between Ukraine and Russia.

“We have a common history, common victories and many great people,” Zelensky said. “But it so happens that the policies of Russia are different. They are aimed not at giving but at taking away.”

At the same time, Zelensky added that Russia and Ukraine “are still neighbors” and he hopes for a positive change in their relations in the future.

When asked if he is concerned about creating totalitarian rule in Ukraine, Zelensky said that this is not possible, as Ukraine’s civil society is too strong, free and democratic.

“Could I, a regular boy from a simple family, from a simple – wonderful – industrial town in the east of Ukraine, ever imagine that I would be presenting here? No. But everything is possible. Although, at the very least, to achieve this one must become the president of Ukraine,” Zelensky said in his Stanford address.


Zelensky visited Stanford as part of his historic tour of the west coast of the U.S. The Ukrainian leader met Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies director Michael McFaul, the university’s president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, and its non-resident senior fellow Steven Pifer.

In his nine-minute speech in front of the students and staff of the university, Zelensky stressed that Ukraine is a country of opportunities, saying: “Ukrainians have often proved to humankind that everything is possible. That it’s possible to create the first helicopter, the first artificial Earth satellite, the biggest plane in the world, and WhatsApp.”

Zelensky also drew comparisons between his team and the team of Apple founder Steve Jobs, saying that both were told that their mission is impossible. Yet today, he said, Ukraine is the first country in the world that has a digital passport.

“Right now, in my hands, I have the creation of Jobs and Apple – an iPhone. It has a beating heart that beats with every vibration during a call or text message. And in it, is our Ukrainian creation – a state within a smartphone,” Zelensky said.


The president said that Ukraine hopes to fully digitalize government services, including elections, ensure the de-occupation of Donbas and Crimea and transform itself into a leading European country.

Zelensky later met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, whom he told about the rapid development of the IT sector in Ukraine and discussed the potential for collaboration with Apple on education, public health and veterans’ affairs.

“The sides also discussed the potential for the creation of a data-center for iCloud services in Ukraine, similar to the one constructed by Apple in Denmark. Additionally, they talked about the localization of Apple products and Ukrainianization of Siri,” Zelensky’s press service said.

Zelensky’s state visit to the U.S. began in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 30. On Sept. 1, he met with U.S. President Joe Biden, where the two discussed security, energy and cooperation between the two countries. The U.S. agreed to provide Ukraine with a $117 million military and humanitarian aid package.

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