Address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to both Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom
Combat aircrafts – for Ukraine, wings – for freedom – address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to both Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom
The people of the United Kingdom and their honorable representatives!
All the people of England and Scotland, of Wales and Northern Ireland!
Of all the lands which have been home to brave souls since Europe came into existence!
I have come here and stand before you on behalf of the Brave. On behalf of our warriors who are now in the trenches under enemy artillery fire. On behalf of our air gunners and every defender of the sky who protects Ukraine against enemy aircrafts and missiles. On behalf of our tank-men who fight to restore our Ukrainian border. On behalf of our conscripts who are being trained now, including here in Britain. Thank you, Britain! And who will be then deployed to the frontline – skilled, equipped and eager to win.
On behalf of every father and every mother who are waiting for their brave sons and brave daughters back home from the war.
You may well remember as roughly more than two years ago we met with you here in the Parliament. It was a great honor for me. We enjoyed tea, we talked a lot about our people, our countries, the British and Ukrainian political traditions.
Mister Prime Minister! Rishi!
When we had our meeting earlier today, I said to you I would tell a story in my address to the Parliament. A story about my feelings on my first visit to London as president in autumn 2020.
The programme was packed. Royal Highnesses William and Catherine. Buckingham Palace. The aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. Westminster. Downing Street. And, of course, the War Rooms.
There is an armchair in the war room. The famous Churchill’s armchair. A guide smiled and offered me to sit down on the armchair from which war orders had been given. He asked me – how did I feel? And I said that I certainly felt something.
But it is only now that I know what the feeling was. And all Ukrainians know it perfectly well, too. It is the feeling of how bravery takes-you-through the most unimaginable hardships – to finally reward you with Victory.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I thank you for your bravery. Thank you very much from all of us! This applause is for you!
London has stood with Kyiv since day one. From the first seconds and minutes of the full scale war.
Great Britain, you extended your helping-hand when the world had not yet come to understand how to react. Boris, you got others united when it seemed absolutely impossible. Thank you!
You all showed your grit and character back then. Strong British character.
You didn’t compromise Ukraine. And hence you didn’t compromise your ideals. And thus you didn’t compromise the spirit of these great Islands. Thank you very much!
Our countries knew different times. Our nations defended freedom in the Second World War. The iron curtain divided us. Our people went through crises and growth, inflation, and periods of social losses and social gains.
It was tough but we always found strength and stamina to move ahead and achieve results.
This is the bedrock of our and your traditions.
Ukrainians and Brits defeated the fear of war and had the time to enjoy peace.
No matter what we encountered on different stages of our and your formidable history, you and us and the whole mankind achieved similar result – evil lost.
We will always come out on top of evil. This lies at the core of our – but also your – traditions.
However, the horizon never stays clear for a while. Once the old evil is defeated, the new one is attempting to rise its head.
Do you have a feeling that the evil will crumble once again? I can see it in your eyes now. We think the same way as you do. We know freedom will win. We know Russia will lose. We know the Victory will change the world! And this will be a change that the world has long needed.
The United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of the war.
After we win together, any aggressor – big or small – will know what awaits him if he attacks international order.
Any aggressor who will try to push the boundaries by force. Who will inflict destruction and death on other peoples. Who will try to endure his dictatorship at the expense of other people’s blood in criminal and unprovoked wars, as the Kremlin does. Any aggressor is going to lose.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We have already achieved remarkable results. And we must make every effort to turn our achievements into the foundations of the future global security architecture.
The world needs your leadership, Britain, just as it needs Ukrainian bravery.
When the full-scale invasion began, we, together with you and the US and other allies, formed a true coalition of friends. This is very important.
You were among those very few who had helped before the large-scale invasion began – exactly as it will be necessary every time in the future to prevent aggression from happening.
Your help was preventive.
We must take these principles of preventive aid to those, who are threatened with aggression, and preventive sanctions – against those, who threaten aggression – as basic principles of the world anti-war policy.
We created a coalition of NLAW and Javelin that stopped the advance of the Russian army from the first day of the invasion.
We built a coalition of artillery rounds and a coalition of air defense, which allow us to save the lives of civilians, our women, children and elderly, in our cities from Russian atrocious occupation and missile terror.
We put together a powerful sanctions coalition. Your leadership in protecting international legal order through sanctions against a terrorist state – cannot be questioned. And we have to steadily continue along this way until Russia is deprived of any possibility to finance the war.
Most importantly, together with the G7 we brought about a coalition of values. A coalition that protects the rule-based world order and human rights.
A coalition that will work in such a way, that over time there will simply be no gray areas in the world in which human life does not matter.
In order for it to be so, there must be justice. Anyone who invests in terror must be held accountable. Anyone who invests in violence must compensate those who have suffered from terror, aggression or other forms of state violence.
Our proposals for the creation of a Special Tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine and a Special Compensation Mechanism, which will compensate war losses at the expense of Russian assets, are based on such principles.
Justice is one of the ten elements of the Peace Formula proposed by Ukraine and supported by Britain. I thank you for your readiness to invoke the Formula!
As I already mentioned, Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in Britain. In particular, to operate “Challengers”, your main battle tanks. It’s a tank coalition in action, and I thank you, Rishi, for this powerful defensive step – for tank assistance.
The coalition of long-range missiles is the latest of all. It will allow us to make the evil completely retreat from our country by destroying its hideaways deep in the occupied territories.
And it’s not just about weapons. We proved together that the world truly helps those who are brave in defending freedom. And thus, paves the way for a new history. A history of a world that knows how to be quick in help. Who knows how to be effective in defense. Who knows how to remain principled in dark hours. Who implements its treaties and arrangements in good faith. Who does not allow perpetrators to enjoy impunity. Who knows how to overcome veto when it is abused. Who knows no fear. And who knows how to win.
This shall be the new reality of the free world! I’m sure of that.
However, evil is still around today and the battle continues. Yes, we know how it is going to end and how we are going to feel on the day victory comes.
Everyday we continue to pay with lives, pain and tears for bringing the victory closer. With the lives of our heroes, whom we lose in battles. With the lives of our heroes who take life and death risks every day to save as many of our soldiers and civilians as possible.
Today, I will have the honor to be received by His Majesty the King. It will be a truly special moment for me. In particular, because I will convey to him from all the Ukrainians the words of gratitude for the support His Majesty showed to them when he was still the Prince of Wales.
I also intend to tell him something that is very important not only for the future of Ukraine but also for the future of Europe. In Britain, the King is an air force pilot. And in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is the king for us, for our families.
Because they are so few, they are so precious that we, the servants of our kings, do everything possible and impossible to make the world provide us with modern planes to empower and protect pilots who will be protecting us.
I am proud of our air force. And I brought a present from them to you, Great Britain. Open, please. I will explain. It’s the helmet of a real Ukrainian pilot. He is one of our most successful aces. He is one of our kings. And the writing on the helmet reads: “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.”
I trust this symbol will help us form our next coalition – coalition of the planes.
I appeal to you and the world with simple and yet most important words: Combat aircrafts – for Ukraine! Wings – for freedom!
You and us both struggle for peace, but instead we are forced to face the rage that seeks to deprive us of peace and everything else that is valuable in life.
Unfortunately, it is in human nature to allow evil mature. It then stands up against humanity. It then destroys and kills. It launches aggressions and breaks people’s lives.
You and us have already fought together against such evil. You and us already have the experience of defeating the evil that is generated by human nature.
I am not saying there will be no more wars after this war ends. It is impossible to completely erase evil from human nature. Yet, it is in our power to guarantee with words and deeds that the light side of human nature will prevail. The side you and us share. And this stands above anything else.
Thank you for your attention! Thank you for your support!
Leaving the British Parliament two years ago, I thanked you for delicious English tea. I will be leaving the parliament today thanking all of you in advance – for powerful English planes.
By the way, it’s almost five o’clock.
God bless Great Britain and long live the King!
Russia is trying to destroy the Ukrainian European way of life; we will not allow that – President’s speech at the special plenary session of the European Parliament 9 February 2023
Russia is trying to destroy the Ukrainian European way of life; we will not allow that – President
Dear Mrs. President, dear Roberta!
I thank you for these powerful words and I thank you for your personal attention, an extremely important attention for Ukraine. I thank you for your integrity and energy, two qualities that we see invariably in the current struggle for Europe and whose combination is always a prerequisite for progress. Europe is fortunate that in this hall, in the largest parliament in Europe, the European Parliament, principled and energetic people are an absolute majority. I thank you.
Dear representatives of Europe!
Dear leaders of Europe!
All of us, Europeans, each and every one of the hundreds of millions of people on our continent, combine these two statuses – representatives of Europe and leaders of Europe. This combination reflects what our Europe, a modern Europe, a peaceful Europe, gives to the world. European way of life. European path of life. European manner of life. European rules of life.
When everyone matters. When the law rules.
When states strive to be social and societies strive to be open. When diversity is a value and the values of the different are united by fair equality.
When the borders are inviolable, but their crossing is not felt.
When people believe in tomorrow and are willing to take to the streets to fight for their tomorrow. When there is only one single barrier between the president and the protesters, and that is fair elections.
This is our Europe. These are our rules. This is our way of life.
And for Ukraine, it’s a way home.
Now I am here to protect the way home for our people. All Ukrainian men, all Ukrainian women. Of different ages and different political beliefs, different social status, different views on religion, with different personal stories, but common European history with all of you.
There is an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian European way of life by all-out war. But what for?
For the destruction of the European way of life as such after the Ukrainian European way of life is destroyed.
For each of all twenty-seven elements of the European way of life. The twenty-seven countries of the European Union.
We will not allow that.
This total war that has been unleashed by Russia is not just about territory in one part of Europe or another.
Its threat is not only in the fact that there is a dictator with huge stockpiles of Soviet weapons and weapons inflow from other dictatorships, in particular the Iranian regime.
In order to be able to wage this war, the Kremlin has been consistently destroying, step by step, year after year, what we see as the basis of our Europe.
The sacred value of human life has been completely destroyed in Russia as well. No one matters to the authorities there, except those inside the Kremlin walls, their relatives and their wallets. For them, for the Kremlin, all others, all one hundred and forty million citizens are just bodies capable of carrying weapons – carrying weapons to Ukraine, carrying weapons on the battlefield, keeping others in line or being in line themselves.
The rule of violence and obedience are the rules there instead of law.
The Russian regime not only hates everything, any sociality and any diversity, but also deliberately invests in xenophobia and tries to make all the inhuman things that happened in the 1930s and 1940s part of the norm on our continent.
But will it last forever? This is a question for all of us. The answer is no! No!
Europe! We are defending ourselves against the most anti-European force in the modern world. We are defending ourselves. We, Ukrainians, are on the battlefield with you.
I thank you for the fact that we are defending ourselves together!
And we must defend ourselves!
And this is important not only for European countries. Not only for the communities of Europe.
No matter who we are, we always fight against contempt. Wherever we live, we always rely on good faith. Whatever we dream of for our children, for our grandchildren, the unconditional background for these dreams is peace – peace and security.
Will all of this be possible if we do not defeat the anti-European force that seeks to steal Europe from us, from all of us? No. It is only our victory that will guarantee all of this – each of our common European values. Our imperative victory!
Dear representatives of Europe! Dear leaders of Europe! Dear ladies and gentlemen of the parliament!
Dear employees of the European Parliament and other European institutions!
Dear municipal employees! Diplomats! Teachers! Professors! Scientists! Dear doctors, drivers and port workers! Farmers!
Dear industrialists and workers of industrial enterprises! Owners of small and large businesses, banks!
Dear power engineers and railway workers!
Dear students, pupils! Trade union activists, representatives of non-governmental organizations!
Dear directors and artists! Lawyers, judges, environmentalists, human rights activists!
The fate of Europe has never depended on politicians alone. There should be no such illusion now as well.
Each and every one of you is important. Each and every one of you is strong. Each and every one of you can influence our common result. Our common victory.
This applause is definitely not for me. This applause is for gratitude – I want to thank everyone in Europe, in hundreds of cities and towns, who supported Ukraine in this historic struggle. Thank you!
I want to thank you – everyone who has helped our people, our ordinary people, our displaced persons. Those who called on their leaders to increase support for the protection of these ordinary people. Who took to the streets, who asked questions, who spread the truth about Russian aggression. Who refrained from the temptations of Russian disinformation and who stand with us in the fight for life. In the fight for Europe. I thank you!
I thank everyone who is helping Ukraine with vital supplies. Weapons and ammunition. Energy equipment and fuel. Thousands of things that are essential to survive this all-out war.
I thank you, dear ladies and gentlemen of the parliament, and you personally, Roberta, for consistently defending the European way of life with your decisions. For consistently defending the Ukrainian European way of life.
You have made bold decisions and strengthened the European ambition to be the home of justice and freedom.
I recall the first days of the full-scale invasion, when Russia’s ambition to break us and the whole of Europe was still audacious. When Russian aggression was just beginning to break its teeth on our defense.
Already then, on March 1, on the sixth day of the full-scale war, the European Parliament adopted a resolution supporting not just our country, but the status of a candidate for accession to the European Union for our country.
It was a vision that motivated us to be resilient and stay on our path. Thank you.
Today, at a meeting of the European Council, I will have the opportunity to personally thank the heads of state and government of Europe, whose decisions over the past year have allowed our continent to do what the previous wave of leaders thought impossible.
Europe is finally freeing itself from destructive dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
Europe is cleaning itself of the corrupt influence of Russian oligarchic business.
Europe is defending itself against the infiltration of agents of the Russian special services, who have even considered Europe as a place to hunt for opponents of the Russian dictatorship already.
For the first time in its history, the European Union is providing military assistance of such magnitude. And for the first time in history, I believe, it is preparing a positive assessment of internal reforms in a European country that is defending itself in this all-out war and at the same time – while fighting – modernizing its institutions.
We are getting closer to the European Union.
Ukraine will be a member of the European Union!
A victorious Ukraine! A member of the European Union – a victorious European Union!
Perhaps some of you have not experienced the full power of the European way of life before. But now, together, Ukraine and the EU countries have made our power evident.
Why is this possible? Because we combine integrity and energy. We are all equal in representing Europe, and we are diligent as each of us is a leader of Europe in our own particular life.
We do not rely on words – we act. We do not cower before the enemy – we stand. We do not waste time – we change ourselves and we implement changes.
Europe will always remain free. As long as we are together and as long as we care about our Europe!
Care about the European way of life.
I thank you all! I invite you all to Ukraine!
Glory to all Ukrainian men and Ukrainian women who are in combat!