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President Volodymyr Zelensky asks Canada to protect Ukraine's skies from Russia - full speech in English

Wales Online logo Wales Online 16/03/2022 Alan Johnson

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Canadian parliament on Tuesday (March 15) in what proved to be an impassioned plea to counterpart Justin Trudeau to do more to help withstand the Russian invasion of his country.

Speaking at length via video-link on the 20th day of Russia's invasion, President Zelensky thanked Canada for it's support thus far, but issued a renewed call for the nation to help install a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Nato has so far ruled out imposing one for fear of entering into a direct war with Russia themselves.

Mr Zelensky used examples of Canadian landmarks such as Ottawa Airport and the CN Tower, comparing them to those bombarded in his own nation in a bid to pull on the heartstrings of MPs.

Following the speech Mr Zelensky was given a three minute standing ovation, led by Mr Trudeau.

President Zelensky's speech in full, in English:

"Dear speakers! Mr. Prime Minister! Dear Justin! Members of the government and parliament! Dear attendees, Dear friends!

"Before I begin, I want you to understand my feelings, the feelings of Ukrainians. As much as possible. Feelings during these 20 days. 20 days of full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation after eight years of war in Donbas.

"Just imagine. Imagine that at four in the morning each of you hears explosions. Terrible explosions. Just imagine that you hear it. And your children hear it. Hear missile strikes at Ottawa airport. At dozens of other places throughout your beautiful country, Canada. Cruise missiles. Even before dawn. And your children hug you and ask: "What happened, Dad?" And you are already receiving the first reports on which facilities in your country have been destroyed by missiles of the Russian Federation. And you know how many people have already died and where.

37 killed during Russian shelling in Zelenyi Hai village, Ukraine © Mirror 37 killed during Russian shelling in Zelenyi Hai village, Ukraine

"Imagine you are looking for words to explain this to children. Explain to them that a large-scale war has begun. The war aimed at the destruction of your state, at the conquest of your people. And you know it.

"The second day - you get a message about the columns of armoured vehicles. Thousands, thousands coming to your land. First - small cities, then larger ones. They want to block them all. And they do so.

"They approach Edmonton - imagine - and fire artillery. Fire at residential areas, at people. Schools are being burned down, kindergartens are being blown up. Just as in our cities - in Sumy, in our Okhtyrka. They blockade Vancouver and besiege hundreds of thousands of people who remain in the city. As in our Mariupol. For the second week under fire, without electricity completely, almost without food, definitely without water. In the basements.

"Imagine hearing the report on the dead every day. Yes, you are the president or the head of government, but you just hear about it, about the dead children. And the death toll is growing. 97 children were killed as of this morning.

"The famous CN Tower in Toronto. How many Russian missiles will be enough to destroy it? Believe me, I do not wish this to all of you. But we predict every day how many more missiles can hit our TV towers. And they hit them.

"Our Freedom Square in Kharkiv and your Churchill Square in Edmonton. Imagine Russian missiles hitting its heart. Our Babyn Yar is the burial place of the Holocaust victims. The Russians did not stop before bombing even this land. And what about the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa? Will it withstand the impact of three or five missiles? It happened to us. Air bombs. A minute ago there were people alive. There was a family that just came there. They were alive. And now - you understand.


Video: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses his country (Wales Online)

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"And then a terrible night. Each of these 20, when the Russian militaries fire from tanks at housing estates. From tanks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Direct guidance. When the fire started there. Can you imagine that happening to your Bruce Station in Ontario?

"And what would you feel if you saw your flag in every city where they pass, how your flag in Montreal is removed. Removed to be thrown away and replaced with a Russian one.

"I know that you support Ukraine, sincerely, effectively. We are friends with Justin. But I want you to understand me, and to feel it. Feel what we feel. Feel how we want to live. And how we want to win. Win for life.

"I want you to feel what it's like when you call your friends and say: close the sky, stop the shelling. No matter which way, just do it. Stop the bombing. How many more missiles must fall on our cities?

"And in response you hear that someone does not want to do it. But they are deeply concerned! Then give us planes, we tell our partners. They answer: Soon. Be patient a little. Everyone is deeply concerned. They just don't want to. And someone is looking for reasons. The main thing is the result.

"They talk about escalation. How can it get worse? They say Ukraine is not in NATO now. Although "the door is open". But for whom are these doors and where do they lead, if we are told that we will not be admitted.

"War always shows everything people are capable of. Who is strong. And who is weak. Who is wise. Who does not see the obvious. Who is honest and who is a hypocrite. And we saw it all. And we understood all this. In 20 days and eight years. I'm sure you've seen it all.

"Dear speakers! Mr. Prime Minister! Members of the government. Members of parliament! Dear friends! Canada has always been, is and, I am sure, will be a reliable partner in Ukraine. Partner of our land, our people of Ukraine, each of our families.

"You came to our aid as soon as we asked for it. You are giving us the weapons and other support we so desperately need now. You have imposed sanctions against Russia - truly moral. Really substantial. However, we see that the war, unfortunately, continues. That Russian troops are not leaving our territory. You see that our cities: Kharkiv, Mariupol are not as protected as your Edmonton and Vancouver. That Kyiv is under missile strikes. Like Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk and dozens, dozens of our Ukrainian cities that yesterday were peaceful and quiet.

"That means more needs to be done. Much more! For peace. We all have to do more to stop Russia. To protect Ukraine and protect Europe from this total evil that is destroying everything: memorials, churches, schools, hospitals, neighbourhoods and all our businesses.

"They have already killed 97 Ukrainian children! We do not ask for much. We ask for justice. We ask for real support that will help us endure and defend our life. Life of the whole world.

"Canada is already showing the necessary leadership! It is already the first to do what other countries come to later. But we need more leadership, and we ask for more participation from you.

"Justin! All friends of our country Ukraine! All friends of the truth! You understand how important it is for us to protect our skies from Russian missiles and planes. You can influence this. It seems so to me.

"You can force even more companies to leave the Russian market. So that there is not a single dollar for the war. If they stay in Russia and sponsor the war, they are not allowed to work in Canada. Let it be so - and it will give us peace. You know, perhaps better than many in the world, that this attack by Russia is an attempt to destroy us, to destroy the Ukrainian people. Nothing else. This is their main goal.

"This is a war against the people. Against our people. This is a war to destroy everything that makes Ukrainians Ukrainians. Against our future. Against our character. Against our will. Everything that you, Canadians, know very well, feel very well.

"So I ask you: do not stop. Do not stop helping Ukraine. Do not stop in leadership and in efforts to bring peace back to our peaceful land. I believe, I know you can handle it. I know that with Canada, our anti-war coalition, which we are reinforcing, will definitely yield the result.

"I want to address our Ukrainian diaspora, all Ukrainians in Canada. It is at this historic moment that we need your effective help. And you must prove with your steps that you are a part of the history of Ukraine, the living history of Ukraine.

Remember this - living. Because we want to live. And we strive for peace. I thank you for your support. I am thankful to everyone present in this hall of parliament. To every citizen of Canada. I'm grateful to you, Justin. Grateful on behalf of the entire Ukrainian nation.

"I am sure that together - and only together - we will defeat all enemies. Glory to Ukraine! Thank you Canada!"

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