Speech by the President of Ukraine at a joint meeting of the Senate, the National Assembly of the French Republic and the Council of Paris

23 березня 2022

Thank you for the honor of speaking to you today

I am sure that you are well aware of what is happening in Ukraine. You know why this is happening. And you know who is to blame. Even those who hide their heads in the sand know. And whose hands are still trying to get money from Russia.

So today I am addressing you. Honest, brave, rational and freedom-loving. I am addressing you with questions: how to stop the war? How to return peace to our state? Because most of the puzzles that make up the answer are in your hands.

On March 9, Russian bombs were dropped on a children's hospital and a maternity hospital in our city of Mariupol. It was a peaceful city in the south of Ukraine. Absolutely peaceful - until Russian troops approached and besieged it, as in the Middle Ages. Until they began to torture people with famine, thirst, kill with fire.

There were people in the maternity hospital on which the Russians dropped bombs. There were women in labor. Most of them were saved. Some were seriously injured. One woman had to have her foot amputated, as it was completely shattered.

And another woman... She had a shattered pelvis. Her child died before birth. Doctors tried to save the woman. Fought for her life! But she begged the doctors for her death. She begged to leave her, not to help her. Because she didn't know what to live for. They fought. She died. In Ukraine. In Europe. In 2022. When hundreds of millions of people could not even think that it could be so, that the world could be so ruined.

I ask you now to honor the memory of thousands of Ukrainian men and women, all those who were killed as a result of Russia's invasion of the territory of our peaceful Ukraine with a moment of silence.

After weeks of Russian invasion, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities hit by the occupiers resemble the ruins of Verdun. As in the photos of the First World War, which, I'm sure, each and every one of you saw. The Russian militaries do not care which targets to hit. They destroy everything: residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, universities. Warehouses with food and medicine are being burned. They burn everything.

They do not take into account concepts such as "war crime" and "binding conventions". They brought terror to Ukraine, state terror. Each and every one of you is aware of this. All information is available. All the facts are there.

About women raped by the Russian military in the temporarily occupied areas. About refugees shot on the roads. About journalists they kill knowing for sure that they are journalists. About old people who survived the Holocaust and are now forced to save themselves from Russian attacks on peaceful cities in bomb shelters.

For 80 years, Europe has not seen the things that are happening in Ukraine now. Because of Russia's actions. When there are people so desperate that they beg for death! Like this woman.

In 2019, when I became President, there was already a format for negotiations with Russia. It was the Normandy format. The format of negotiations that were to end the war in Donbas. The war in eastern Ukraine, which has been going on for 8 years, unfortunately.

Four countries took part in the Normandy format - Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. Four, but through them the whole world, all positions were represented. Someone supported. Someone was trying to delay the process. Someone wanted to ruin everything. But it seemed important that the world was always present at that Normandy table, the table of peace.

And when the negotiations yielded the result, when we managed to free people from captivity, when we were able to agree on some decisions in December 2019, it was like a breath of fresh air. Like a glimmer of hope. Hope that talks with Russia can help. That the Russian leadership can be convinced in words so that Moscow chooses peace.

But February 24 came. A day that ruined all those efforts. All of us. Ruined the old meaning of the word "dialogue". Ruined the European experience of relations with Russia. Ruined decades of European history.

All this was bombed by Russian troops. Destroyed by Russian artillery. Burned after Russian missile strikes.

The truth was not found in the offices. So now we have to look for it and gain it on the battlefield.

So what now? What do we have left? Our values. Unity. And the determination to defend our freedom. Common freedom! One for Paris and Kyiv. For Berlin and Warsaw. For Madrid and Rome. For Brussels and Bratislava.

Sips of fresh air will definitely not help anymore. It makes sense to act together. To put pressure together. To force Russia to seek peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

French people!

On February 24, the Ukrainian people united. Today we have no right or left. We do not look at who is in power and who is in opposition. The usual policy ended on the day of Russia's invasion and will resume only when there is peace.

And this is right - to fight for life. To protect our state.

We are grateful to you, we are grateful that France helps. We are grateful for the efforts of President Macron. Who showed true leadership. We are constantly communicating with him, it is true, we are coordinating some of our steps.

Ukrainians see that France values freedom as much as it has always been. And you protect it. You remember what it is. Freedom, equality, brotherhood. Each of these words is full of power for you! I feel it. Ukrainians feel it.

That is why we expect from you, we expect from France, from your leadership, that you will be able to make Russia seek peace. To make it end this war against freedom. Against equality. Against brotherhood. Against everything that made Europe united and full of free diverse life.

We expect from France, from your leadership, that Ukraine's territorial integrity will be restored. And together we can do it.

If among the attendees there are those who doubt it, your people are already sure. Like other nations of Europe.

And that during France's presidency in the European Union the long overdue historical decision will be made - on Ukraine's full membership in Europe and the EU. Historical decision in historical time. As has always been the case in the history of the French people.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

French people!

Tomorrow will be a month since Ukrainians have been fighting for their own lives, for their own freedom, since our army has been heroically opposing the overwhelming forces of Russia.

We need more help! We need more support!

In order for freedom not to lose, it must be well-armed. Tanks and anti-tank weapons, aviation and air defense. We need all this! You can help us. I know. You can!

In order for freedom not to lose, the world must support it with sanctions against the aggressor. A new sanctions package every week. Every week!

French companies must leave the Russian market. Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others. They must cease to be sponsors of Russia's military machine, sponsors of the killing of children and women, sponsors of rape, robbery and looting by the Russian army.

All companies must remember once and for all that values are worth more than profit. Especially profit on blood. And we must already think about the future. About how we will live after this war.

Guarantees are needed. Strong guarantees. Guarantees that security will be unshakable, that there will be no war, and that war in general will be impossible.

We are creating such a system of guarantees. A new security system. In which France, I believe, will play a leading role. So that no one will ever have to beg for death again! So that people live their life. Full life. And so that we say goodbye to people not under bombs, not in war, but when the time comes.

Only in peace. Only in dignity. Because you have to live so that you are respected. So that you are remembered. And so that people say goodbye to you in a way France said goodbye to the great Belmondo.

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