Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke via video link today to the Canadian Parliament. Here is the translation of his speech:
Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Speaker, prime minister, dear Justin, members of the government, members of the Parliament, all distinguished guests, friends: before I begin, I would like you to understand my feelings, and feelings of all Ukrainians as far as it is possible.
Our feelings over the last 20 days; 20 days of a full-scale aggression of Russian Federation after eight years of fighting in Donbas region. Can you only imagine?
Imagine that at 4 a.m., each of you start hearing bomb explosions. Severe explosions. Justin, can you imagine hearing it? You, your children hear all these severe explosions: bombing of airport, bombing of Ottawa airport, tens of other cities of your wonderful country. Can you imagine that?
Cruise missiles falling down, and your children asking you, ‘What happened?’ And you’re receiving the first news which infrastructure objects have been bombed and destroyed by Russian Federation, and you know how many people already died.
Can you only imagine? What words, how can you explain to your children full-scale aggression just happened in your country? You know that this is war to annihilate your state, your country. You know that this is the war to subjugate your people.
And on the second day, you receive notifications that huge columns of military equipment are entering your country. Crossing the border, they’re entering small cities. They are giving siege, encircling cities and they start to shell civil neighbourhoods.
They bomb school buildings. They destroy kindergartens. Like in our city: city of Sumy, like in city of Okhtyrka. Imagine that someone is laying siege to Vancouver. Can you just imagine for a second?
And all these people who are left in such cities, this is exactly the situation that the city of Mariupol is suffering right now. And they’re left without heat or hydro, without means of communicating, almost without food, without water, seeking shelter in the bomb shelters.
Dear Justin, dear guests: can you imagine that every day you see memorandums about the number of casualties, including among women and children? You heard about the bombings: currently, we have 97 children that died during this war.
Can you imagine the famous CN Tower in Toronto, if it was hit by Russian bombs? Of course, I don’t wish this on anyone but this is our reality in which we live. We have to contemplate, we have to see where the next bombing will take place. We have a freedom square in the city of Kharkiv, our (unclear), the place where victims of Holocaust have been buried, and today it was bombed by Russians.
Imagine that Canadian facilities have been bombed similarly as our buildings and our memorial places are being bombed. A number of families have died. Every night is a horrible night.
Russians are shelling from all kinds of artillery, from tanks. They’re hitting civilian infrastructure. They’re hitting big buildings. Can you imagine there is a fire starting at a nuclear power plant? That’s exactly what happened in our country. Each city that they’re marching through, they’re taking down Ukrainian flags. Can you imagine someone taking down your Canadian flags in Montreal and other Canadian cities?
I know that you all support Ukraine and (unclear) friends with you, Justin, but also I would like you to understand, and I would like you to feel this: what we feel every day.
We want to be victorious. We want to prevail for the sake of life.
Can you imagine when you call your friends, your friendly nation, and you ask: ‘Please close the sky, close the airspace, please stop the bombing. How many more cruise missiles have to fall on our cities until you make this happen?’
And they, in return, they express their deep concerns about the situation.
When we talk with our partners, they say, ‘Please hold on, hold on a little longer.’
Some people are talking about trying to avoid the escalation and at the same time, in response to our aspiration to become members of NATO, we also do not hear a clear answer.
Sometimes we don’t see obvious things. It’s dire straits, but it’s also allowed us to see who our real friends are over the last 20 days and as well, eight previous years.
I am sure that you’ve been able to see clearly what’s going on and I am addressing all of you.
Canada has always been steadfast in their support. You’ve been a reliable partner to Ukraine and Ukrainians, and I am sure this will continue. You’ve offered your help, your assistance at our earliest request. You supply us with the military assistance, with humanitarian assistance, you imposed serious sanctions.
At the same time, we see unfortunately this did not bring an end to the war. You can see our cities like Kharkiv, Mariupol and many other cities are not protected, just like your cities are protected: Edmonton, Vancouver. You can see that Kyiv is being shelled and bombed. City of Ivano Frankivsk: it used to be a very peaceful country, peaceful cities but now they’re being constantly bombarded.
What I am trying to say is that we all need to do, you all need to do more to stop Russia, to protect Ukraine and by doing that, to protect Europe from Russian threat.
They’re destroying everything: memorial complexes, schools, hospitals, housing complex.
They already killed 97 Ukrainian children.
We’re not asking for much. We’re asking for justice, for real support which will help us to prevail, to defend, to save lives all over the world. Canada is leading in these efforts and I’m hoping that other countries will follow the same. So we are asking for more of your leadership and please take greater part in these efforts.
Justin and all of our friends of Ukraine, all friends of the truth: please understand how important it is for us to close our airspace from Russian missiles and Russian aircrafts. I hope you can understand.
I hope you can increase your efforts. You can increase sanctions, so they will not have a single dollar to fund their war effort. Commercial entities should not be working in Russia.
I believe you know better than many in any other countries that this attack on Ukraine is an attempt to annihilate Ukrainian people, and there is nothing else to it. This is their main objective. It’s actually a war against Ukrainian people. And it’s an attempt to destroy everything that we as Ukrainians do. It’s an attempt to destroy our future, to destroy our nation, our character.
You Canadians, you know very well all this. That’s why I’m asking you please do not stop in your efforts.
Please expand your efforts to bring back peace in our peaceful country. I believe and I know that you can do it. We are part of the anti-war coalition and jointly I am sure that we’ll achieve results.
I would like to also ask our Ukrainian diaspora in Canada: this is a historical moment, and we need your support, your practical support.
We hope that with your practical steps you will show that you are part of the modern Ukrainian history.
Please remember: this is practical, modern-day history of Ukraine. We want to live. We want to have peace.
I’m grateful to every one of you in the Parliament of Canada that is present here, to every Canadian citizen. I am very grateful to you, Justin. I am grateful to Canadian people. And I’m confident that together we will overcome, and will be victorious.
Glory to Ukraine.
Thank you to Canada.