President Zelenskyy of Ukraine Addresses the European Parliament
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has addressed the European Parliament during an extraordinary plenary session in Brussels today. President Zelenskyy said Russia presents a grave threat to the European way of life and said that Ukraine is ‘defending ourselves against (the) biggest anti-European force of the modern world.’
He thanked the people of Europe for the support provided to date. Ukrainian officials are now seeking to secure long range rockets and fighter jets in a bid to win the war following commitments of battle tanks from the West in recent weeks.
Opening the session, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said, ‘We understand that you are fighting not only for your values, but for ours.’
She continued by saying, ‘Ukraine is Europe and your nation’s future is in the European Union,’ adding that the EU should give Ukraine the ‘fastest possible accession process’ and, ‘as a next step, provide the long-range systems and the jets needed to protect the liberty too many have taken for granted.’
In his address to MEPs, President Zelenskyy stressed how Russia is trying to annihilate not only sovereign Ukraine, but also the European ‘way of life’. He outlined how he sees Europe as a continent steeped in rules, values, equality and fairness, and … a place where Ukraine is firmly at home. The Kremlin, on the other hand, is doing its utmost to destroy European values, President Zelenskyy said, stressing how Ukraine is fighting for and protecting Europe from this anti-European force.
He thanked all Europeans who have supported Ukraine in the fight against the Russian invader and all those who have helped Ukrainian refugees arriving in the EU. Looking ahead, President Zelenskyy called on Europe and Ukraine ‘to walk together and define a common European future.’ However, he underlined that, ‘for our dreams for our children and grandchildren to come true, we need peace and security. These dreams will not be possible if we do not overcome this anti-European force trying to steal our Europe from us,’ he concluded.
This was President Zelenskyy’s first official visit to the European Parliament, after having addressed MEPs remotely in March 2022, shortly after Russia started its war against Ukraine. He also spoke before plenary on December 14th of the same year, when Parliament’s 2022 Sakharov Prize was awarded to the people of Ukraine.
President Zelenskyy received a standing ovation from MEPs following his address today.
Image by The Presidential Office of Ukraine/Via Openverse/https://openverse.org/image/375dfc1a-919a-4c98-b2b0-dc9424939cc1/ CC BY 4.0