Following is the translation of the full speech made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by video to the Canadian House of Commons March 15
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Speaker, Prime Minister, Dear Justin, members of the government, members of the parliament, all distinguished guests, friends.
Before I begin, I would like you to understand my feelings, and the feelings of all Ukrainians as far as it is possible. Our feelings over the last 20 days, 20 days of full scale aggression of Russian Federation after eight years of fighting in Donbas region. Can you only imagine? Imagine at 4 a.m., each of you, you start hearing bomb explosions, severe explosions. Justin, can you imagine hearing? You, your children hear all these severe explosions, bombing of airport, bombing of Ottawa Airport. Tens of other cities of your wonderful country. Can you imagine that? Cruise missiles are falling down on your territory and your children are asking you what happened. And you are receiving the first news which infrastructure objects have been bombed and destroyed by Russian Federation, and you know how many people already died. Can you only imagine what words, how you can explain to your children that full scale aggression just happened in your country?
You know that this is war to annihilate your state, your country. You know that this is the war to subjugate your people. And on the second day you receive notifications that huge columns of military equipment are entering your country, crossing the border. They’re entering small cities, they’re giving siege, their encircling cities and they start to shell civil neighbourhoods. They bomb school buildings. They destroyed kindergarten facilities. Like in our cities of Sumy, like in city of Okhtyrka. Imagine that someone is laying siege to Vancouver? Can you just imagine for a second, and all these people who are left in such cities.
This is exactly the situation that our city of Mariupol is suffering right now, and they are left without heat or electricity or without means of commnunicating, almost without food, without water, seeking shelter in bomb shelters. Dear Justin, dear guests, can you imagine that every day you receive memorandums about the number of casualties, including women and children. You’ve heard about the bombings. Currently we have 97 children that died during this war.
Can you imagine the famous CN Tower in Toronto, if it was hit by Russian bombs? Of course, I don’t wish this on anyone, but this is our reality in which we live. We have to contemplate, we have to see where the next bombing will take place. We have a Freedom Square in the city of Kharkiv. Our Babyn Yar, the place where victims of Holocaust were buried, it has been bombed by the Russians. Imagine that Canadian facilities have been bombed similarly as our buildings and memorial places are being bombed. A number of families have died. Every night is a horrible night. Russians are shelling from all kinds of artillery, from tanks. They’re hitting civilian infrastructure, they’re hitting buildings.
Can you imagine that there is fire starting at a nuclear power plant, and that’s exactly what happened in our country. Each city that they are marching through, they’re taking down Ukrainian flags. Can you imagine someone taking down your Canadian flags in Montreal or other Canadian cities. I know that you will support Ukraine. We’ve been friends with you Justin, but also I would like you to understand, and I would like you to feel this, what we feel everyday. We want to live and we want to be victorious. We want to prevail for the sake of life.
Can you imagine when you call your friends, your friendly nation, and you ask, “Please close the sky, close the airspace, please stop the bombing, how many more cruise missiles have to fall on our cities until you make this happen?” And in return they express their deep concern about the situation. When we talk with our partners, they say please hold on hold on a little longer. Some people are talking about trying to avoid escalation, at the same time in response to our aspiration to become members of NATO, we also do not hear a clear answer. Sometimes we don’t see obvious things. It’s dire straits, but it also allowed us to see who our real friends are over the last 20 days, and as well eight previous years. I am sure that you’ve been able to see clearly what’s going on, and I’m addressing all of you. Canada has always been steadfast in their support.
You’ve been a reliable partner to Ukraine and Ukrainians, and I’m sure this will continue. You’ve offered your help, you assistance at our earliest request. You supply us with military assistance, with humanitarian assistance, you imposed severe sanctions, serious sanctions. At the same time we see that unfortunately this did not bring the end to the war. You can see that our cities like Kharkiv, like Mariupol, are not protected just like your cities are protected, Edmonton, Vancouver. You can see that Kyiv is being shelled and bombed. It used to be we were a very peaceful country, peaceful cities, but not they’re being constantly bombarded.
Basically what I’m trying to say that we all need to do, you all need to do more to stop Russia, to protect Ukraine, and by doing that to protect Europe from Russian threat. They are destroying everything. Memorial complexes, schools, hospitals, housing complex. They already killed 97 Ukrainian children. We are not asking too much. We are asking for justice, for real support which will help us to prevail, to defend, to save life all of the world. Canada is leading in these efforts, and I am hoping that other countries will follow suit. We are asking for more of your leadership, and please take more, greater part in these efforts, Justin and all of our friends of Ukraine, all friends of the truth. Please understand how important it is for us to close our airspace from Russian missiles and Russian aircraft.
I hope you can understand. I hope you can increase your efforts, you can increase sanctions so they do not have a single dollar to fund their war effort. Commercial entities should not be working in Russia. Probably you know better than many other countries that this attack on Ukraine it’s their attempt to annihilate Ukrainian people, and there’s nothing else to it. This is their main objective. It’s actually the war against Ukrainian people, and it’s an attempt to destroy everything that we as Ukrainians do. It’s an attempt to destroy our future, to destroy our nation, our character.
You, Canadians, you know very well all this. That’s why I’m asking you please do not stop in your efforts. Please expand your efforts to bring back peace in our peaceful country. I believe, and I know that you can do it. We are part of the anti-war coalition, and jointly I’m sure that will achieve results. I would like to also ask our Ukrainian diaspora in Canada. This is a historical moment and we need your support, your practical support. We hope that with your practical steps you will show that you are part of more than Ukrainian history. Please remember, this is a practical modern day history of Ukraine.
We want to live, we want to have peace. I am grateful to everyone of you in the Parliament of Canada who is present there, to every Canadian citizen. I am very grateful to you, Justin. I am grateful to Canadian people, and I am confident that together we will overcome and will be victorious.
Glory to Ukraine. Thank you to Canada.