Speech by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Federal Parliament of Belgium

02 квітня 2022

Eight years of war. 36 days of full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation

Did many people expect that our state and our people would be able to resist Russian troops for so long?

Let's be honest: no. Few. They thought we would fall under the blows of Russian troops. But we withstood. Our people endured. We are fighting. We are defending our freedom, amazing the world with the courage of Ukrainian heroes, our Armed Forces of Ukraine and all citizens of Ukraine who do not surrender, who believe in victory.

In the south of our state there is a city of Mariupol, which you mentioned today. I am very grateful to you, Madam Speaker. One of the most promising and economically powerful cities in Ukraine. That was before this war. And now more than 90% of all buildings in this city are completely destroyed by Russian strikes - aircraft, artillery, mortars, tanks. Thousands of peaceful Mariupol residents died. People are buried just in the city. In the courtyards of high-rise buildings. Or rather, what is left of the high-rise buildings.

Mariupol has been under complete blockade for more than three weeks. The Russian military closed all entrances to the city and blocked access from the sea. You all know these details, there is nothing in the city: no water, no food, no medicine, no life. There is nothing you need to sustain any life.

But Mariupol does not give up. Mariupol continues to fight the occupiers. Its defenders had a choice - they could leave the city and give it to the Russian invaders. They did not.

Every day we try to do everything to make the humanitarian corridors from Mariupol work! To save civilians who still remain in the city. Women and children, the elderly… In part, we succeed. But in most cases, the Russian military does not release people into the free territory of Ukraine. And does not allow any humanitarian cargo into Mariupol.

Today it is the most horrific place in Europe. It is hell. It is a catastrophe that everyone knows about, the whole world. But no one is determined enough to help stop the catastrophe in this city and in other cities in our country.

And now I want to ask everyone - I want to ask you, I want to ask all Europeans who hear me now. What do the defenders of Mariupol hope for? What do the defenders of other cities, towns and villages of Ukraine hope for? In all those areas where the battles are no less appalling than you had near Ypres. Or maybe it's even worse in Mariupol... I don't know.

Do the defenders of our cities hope for the closure of the skies over Ukraine to Russian missiles and aircraft? They know there is no courage to do so.

Do they think about whether our state meets the criteria for joining the European Union? Our state, which has already given thousands of lives in the war for freedom in Europe...

Do Mariupol residents or defenders of any other city in Ukraine calculate the level of losses of European companies from the termination of business in the Russian market? Do they think about money at all?

No. They do not hope for it. Do not calculate it. Because that's exactly what they deserve.

Agree, these are completely different worlds. The world of those who really fight for freedom. Here and now. Against tyranny. Against a tyranny that wants to split Europe and destroy everything that unites us.

Everything that unites you... And the world of those who are so used to freedom that they don't even want to notice what the struggle for it is worth. The world of those who believe that Russian diamonds in Antwerp, for example, are more important than the war in Eastern Europe.

Or the world of those who believe that the accessibility of European ports to Russian ships is more important than the Russian military machine's attempt to destroy the entire nation around you. 40 million Ukrainians!

The main question in the life of every person is not what this person hopes for, what this person thinks or calculates... The main question is what this person is worthy of.

And I, as the President of a worthy country, address you with quite logical statements. With what is clear to the vast majority of the world, Europe, Europeans in different countries. We have seen these polls, we know how people support us.

Our defenders deserve to receive from Europe for the freedom of which they are fighting the weaponry that will definitely stop Russia's offensive, and therefore the onset of tyranny.

When we are talking about aircraft, tanks, artillery systems, anti-ship weapons, we are talking about what is really needed. And what the countries of the European Union, the countries of NATO have.

Our defenders deserve that European companies finally stop making money together with those who are trying to destroy us.

Our defenders deserve not to think about the criteria, but to know that Ukraine will be a member of the European Union. Because if they lose, if we lose Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities, there will be no strong European Union anymore. Because tyranny will come to take away from you everything you possess and are proud of.

Of course, we do not wish you this. And this is by no means a threat. This is the reality. We feel it. This is a statement of all the facts we live in. A statement of what is clearly visible from Mariupol - the headquarters of the European resistance. Of what is clearly visible from Ukraine - the headquarters of European dignity.

And I am sure that those esteemed headquarters that are located on your beautiful land are fully aware of everything I am telling you. They realize it. Although, perhaps, they do not speak aloud. So let us all together in Europe be worthy of the feats that Ukrainians demonstrate in the war for freedom. For a free Europe and against tyranny. Against Russia.

We are grateful to you, very grateful to your state for the support you have already provided. Belgium was one of the first to provide us with defensive assistance. This is a historical moment, a historical gratitude. We will never forget that.

You have already warmly welcomed more than 30,000 Ukrainians who left their homes because of this war. But it is you, as the heart of Europe, who can inspire all other Europeans to do more. To help us drive the occupiers out of Ukraine and restore the precious peace.

Peace that is worth more than anything, more than any values, more than any diamonds. More than any agreements with Russia. More than any Russian vessel in European ports. More than any barrel of Russian oil.

Each of you knows what needs to be done to restore peace. To be truly worthy of Europe. So help us, do it! Weapons. Sanctions. EU membership.

And soon the future will thank you.

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