Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Address to the British Parliament on the Russian Invasion of Urkaine

delivered 8 March 2022

 

  [as translated from the Ukrainian language by the Ukrainian Govt]

Mr. Speaker! Mr. Prime Minister! Members of the government, parliament, lords.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Iím addressing all the people of the United Kingdom. All the people of Great Britain. Great people. With a great history. Iím addressing you as a citizen, as President of a great country as well. With a great dream. And a great struggle. I want to tell you about our 13 days. 13 days of fierce war, which we did not start and did not want. But we are waging it.

Because we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours -- Ukraine. Just as you did not want to lose your island when the Nazis were preparing to start the battle for your great power, the battle for Britain.

13 days of our defense.

On the first day at 4 am, cruise missiles were fired at us. So that everyone woke up -- we, the children, all of us, living people, all of Ukraine. And we haven't slept since. We all took up arms becoming a large army.

The next day we fought off attacks in the air, on land and at sea. And our heroic border guards on Zmiinyi Island in the Black Sea told everyone about the end of the war. Namely: where the enemy will go in the end. When a Russian ship demanded that our guys lay down their weapons, they answered him... As firmly as one cannot say in the parliament. And we felt the power. Great power of our people who will persecute the invader to the end.

On the third day, Russian troops openly fired at people and apartment buildings without hiding. Used artillery, air bombs. And it finally showed us, showed the world who is who. Who are great people and who are just savages.

On the fourth day, when we have already begun to take dozens of prisoners, we have not lost our dignity. We didnít abuse them. We treat them like people. Because we remained human on the fourth day of this shameful war.

On the fifth day, the terror against us has already become outright. Against cities, against small towns. Ruined districts. Bombs, bombs, bombs, again bombs on houses, on schools, on hospitals. This is genocide. Which did not break us. It mobilized each and every one of us. And it gave us a sense of great truth.

On the sixth day, Russian missiles hit Babyn Yar. This is the place where the Nazis executed 100,000 people during World War II. 80 years later, Russia killed them for a second time.

On the seventh day, we realized they were destroying even the churches. Using bombs! Rockets again. They do not know the holy and great as we know.

On the eighth day, the world saw Russian tanks firing at a nuclear power plant. The largest in Europe. And the world began to understand that this is terror against all. This is a great terror.

On the ninth day, we listened to a meeting of NATO countries. Without the desired result for us. Without courage. That's how we felt -- I don't want to offend anyone -- we felt that alliances don't work. They can't even close the sky. That is why security guarantees in Europe must be built from scratch.

On the tenth day, unarmed Ukrainians protested everywhere in the occupied cities. Stopping armored vehicles with bare hands. We have become unbreakable.

On the eleventh day, when residential areas were already bombed, when everything was destroyed by explosions, when children were evacuated from a damaged children's oncology hospital... We realized: Ukrainians became heroes. Hundreds of thousands of people. Entire cities. Children, adults -- all.

On the twelfth day, when the losses of the Russian army have already exceeded 10,000 killed, the general also appeared in this number. And this gave us confidence: for all crimes, for all shameful orders there will still be responsibility before the International Court or Ukrainian weapons.

On the thirteenth day, a child died in Russian-occupied Mariupol. Died of dehydration. They do not allow food or water to people. They just blocked it -- and people are in the basements. I think everyone hears: people don't have water there!

In 13 days of the Russian invasion, 50 children were killed. 50 great martyrs. This is dreadful! This is emptiness. Instead of 50 universes that could live, they took them away. They just took them away.

Great Britain!

Ukraine did not strive for that. It did not seek greatness. But it became great during these days of this war.

Ukraine that saves people despite the terror of the invaders. Defends freedom despite the blows of one of the world's largest armies. Defends despite the open sky. Still open to Russian missiles, aircraft, helicopters. "To be or not to be?" -- You know this Shakespearean question well.

13 days ago, this question could still be raised about Ukraine. But not now. Obviously, to be. Obviously, to be free. And if not here, where should I remind you of the words that Great Britain has already heard. And which are relevant again.

We shall not give up and shall not lose!

We shall go the whole way.

We shall fight in the seas, we shall fight in the air, we shall defend our land, whatever the cost may be.

We shall fight in the woods, in the fields, on the beaches, in the cities and villages, in the streets, we shall fight in the hills ... And I want to add: we shall fight on the spoil tips, on the banks of the Kalmius and the Dnieper! And we shall not surrender!

Of course, with your help, with the help of the civilization of great countries. With your support, for which we are grateful and on which we rely. And I am especially grateful to you, Boris, my friend!

Increase sanctions against the terrorist state. Recognize it as a terrorist state finally. Find a way to make our Ukrainian sky safe. Do what you can. Do what you have to. Do what the greatness of your state and your people obliges to.

Glory to the Great Ukraine! Glory to Great Britain.


PM Boris Johnson: Mr. Speaker, may I say that never before, in all our centuries of parliamentary democracy, has the house listened to such an address.

In a great European capital, now within range of Russian guns, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is standing firm for democracy and freedom, in his righteous defiance I believe he has moved the hearts of everybody in this house.

At this moment, ordinary Ukrainians are defending their homes and their families against a brutal assault, and they are by their actions inspiring millions with their courage and their devotion.

And I think today, one of the proudest boasts in the free world is: Ya Ukrainets -- ďI am a Ukrainian.Ē1

So this is a moment for us to put our political differences aside, Mr. Speaker.

I know I speak for the house when I say that Britain and our allies are determined to press on, to press on with supplying our Ukrainian friends with the weapons they need to defend their homeland as they deserve.

To press on with tightening the economic vice around Vladimir Putin and we will stop importing Russian oil. Mr. Speaker the business secretary will update the House on that tomorrow.

And we will employ every method -- diplomatic, humanitarian and economic, Mr. Speaker, until Vladimir Putin has failed in this disastrous venture and Ukraine is free once more.


1 Allusion to well-known line in John F. Kennedy's Address to the People of Berlin (the line itself an allusion to a phrase of the classical Roman period): "Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum ["I am a citizen of Rome."] Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is Ich bin ein Berliner. The figure was a rhetorical rejoinder of sorts to Zelenskyy's own allusion to a famed line in Churchill's 4 June 1940 House of Commons address during WWII: "Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,"

Text and Video Image of Zelenskyy's Address Source: president.gov.ua

Text Note: Texts of Zelenskyy's remarks translated/transcribed by Independent Ukrainian-English language specialist

Audio and Video Source: parliamentlive.tv

Flag of Ukraine Source: goodfreephotos.com/ukraine/other-ukraine/flag-of-ukraine.jpg.php

Page Updated 3/16/22

U.S. Copyright Status: Text and Video Image of Zelenskyy's Address = Used in compliance with the terms found here and licensed under CC 4.0 International. Flag of Ukraine = Public domain. Text of PM Johnson contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0. Audio and Video = Used in compliance with the terms found here (w/ slight volume adjustment and trucating of the empty space at one juncture in the source audio).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 100 American Speechess

Online Speech Bank

Movie Speeches

© Copyright 2001-Present. 
American Rhetoric.