Address by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Italian Chamber of Deputies

23 березня 2022

This morning I spoke with His Holiness Pope Francis and he said very important words: “I understand that you want peace

I understand that you have to protect yourself. Both the servicemen and civilians courageously defend the homeland. Everyone is defending the homeland."

And I replied: "Our people have become this army."

They became this army when they saw the trouble the enemy was causing. The devastation it leaves behind. And the huge amount of blood it wants to shed.

When I addressed a rally in Florence and dozens of other European cities a little over a week ago, I asked all Italians, all Europeans to remember the number 79. The number of children killed in Ukraine at that time.

Now it's 117.

38 children more during these days.

This is the price of the delay.

Delay with pressure on Russia. So that it ends this brutal war. 117 children, thousands of adults. Thousands wounded. Tens of thousands of destroyed families. Hundreds of thousands of ruined destinies. Millions, already millions of abandoned homes. And it all started with one person.

In the occupied areas, murdered families are buried right in the yards of high-rise buildings. In the parks. In mass graves. This is happening today. In 2022. And we know that every next day of the war will take the lives of our children. 117 is not a final number. The Russian invasion will destroy more families and destinies. Unfortunately, the full-scale war continues. Russian missiles, aircraft and artillery do not stop killing. Ukrainian cities are being ruined. Some are almost completely destroyed.

Like Mariupol. You heard of it. Our city on the shore of the Sea of Azov. Where about half a million people lived. Just as in your city of Genoa. I was there. And now there is nothing in Mariupol. Only ruins.

Imagine completely burned Genoa. After three weeks of total blockade. Bombing, shelling, which did not stop for a moment. Ruined Genoa, from which people are being evacuated, your wonderful people. On foot, by cars, by buses... Just to get to where it is safe.

I am addressing you from Kyiv, our capital. From a city that is as important to our region as Rome is to the whole world. The origin of the great culture of a great nation is in Kyiv. And now we are on the verge of survival. Kyiv has gone through brutal wars throughout its history. And it deserves, after all the losses and tragedies, to live in peace. In eternal peace.

As Rome and any other city in our world deserves. But, unfortunately, there is an air alarm in Kyiv every day. Bombs and rockets fall every day.

Near Kyiv, in neighboring towns and districts, there are several groups of Russian troops. Those who kill and torture, rape and kidnap children, destroy and rob. The occupiers take our property to Russia by trucks. The last one who did something like this in Europe were the Nazis. When they invaded other countries.

Russian troops have even mined the sea near our ports. And now it threatens neighboring shores and neighboring countries, because mines can drift by sea to them.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Italian people!

It’s time to do everything possible to ensure peace!

This is a war that Russia has been preparing for a long time. Which one person has been preparing for a long time. One! For decades. Earning crazy money on oil and gas exports and directing them to prepare for war. And not only against Ukraine. Their goal is Europe. Decisive influence on your life, control over your policy, destruction of your values. Not only ours. Democracy, human rights, equality, freedom... The same values as ours.

Ukraine is the gateway to Europe for Russian troops. They want to break in. But barbarism must not pass. Ukrainians were one of the first to come to your aid when you needed it during the COVID pandemic. We sent our doctors. Italians were among the first to come to our aid when our people were affected by the terrible floods.

You supported us - sincerely, quickly. Without asking for anything in return. You are helping us now - we really appreciate it. But still...

The invasion has not stopped in 27 days. Almost a month. So more sanctions are needed, even more pressure, so that Russia is looking not for military reserves or mercenaries somewhere in Libya or Syria, but for peace. So that the same one person is looking for peace. The consequences of this war are already felt in many parts of the world. Not only in Europe. And the worst thing will be famine. Approaching different countries.

Ukraine has always been one of the largest exporters of food. But how can we sow under the blows of Russian artillery? How can we sow when the enemy deliberately mines the fields, destroys fuel bases? We do not know what harvest we will have and whether we’ll be able to export. When our ports are blocked and seized. Corn, vegetable oil, wheat and many other products. Vital goods. For your neighbors as well. Across the sea.

Prices are already rising. So how many tens of millions of people will need help? In front of your shores...

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Italian people!

You know Ukrainians well. Our people who never wanted to fight. Who are Europeans just like you. You know those who brought war to Ukraine. You know for sure. Those who order to fight. And those who promote it. Almost all of them use Italy. As a place for vacation. So don't be a resort for murderers. Block all their real estate, accounts and yachts - from "Scheherazade" to the smallest ones. Block the assets of all those who have influence in Russia. Let them apply their influence for peace. To be able to come back to you someday. Support greater sanctions against Russia. A complete embargo on trade, starting with oil. Support a ban on entering your ports for Russian ships. So that they feel the price for their aggression and for mining the sea.

There should be no exceptions to the sanctions regime for any Russian bank. Do not allow the food crisis in your neighboring regions. Help us. Stop the killings. Save Ukrainian families.

This war must end as soon as possible. Peace must be restored. Enemy troops must be withdrawn from Ukraine. Demining must be carried out. And reconstruction. Reconstruction of Ukraine after this war. Together with you, together with Italy. Together with Europe. Together - in the European Union.

Before the war, I often visited your country. I appreciate your hospitality, sincerity and sometimes loudness. I saw what family and children mean to you. You have wonderful families, you have wonderful children. What life means to you. I want to thank you for helping the Ukrainians who found a shelter from this war in your country.

Today, there are more than 70,000 of our people in Italy who, unfortunately, had to hide from the war. More than 25 thousand children. And many of them have received warmth in your Italian families. Including in the families present in this hall. The first Ukrainian was born in Italy, whose mother found refuge on your land. Dozens of Ukrainian children with severe shell shock and injuries are being treated by you.

We are grateful to you for that, very grateful! And we are waiting for them to return home. To Ukraine - already peaceful. And you can definitely help us with that.

From the first day of this war, you have shared our pain and are helping sincerely - from the heart. Ukrainians will always remember this. Your warmth, your care and your strength that must stop one person. Just one person for millions to survive.

Glory to Ukraine!

Grazie Italia!

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