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Volodymyr Zelensky speech to House of Commons - full transcript of Ukrainian leader’s address to British MPs

President Zelensky appealed to MPs during an emotional address to the House of Commons

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky made a historic address to the House of Commons as he spoke directly to British MPs.

The President spoke emotionally of the toll which war has brought on the Ukrainian people since Russia invaded the country on 24 February.

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In an emotional speech, he detailed the deaths of civilians, including 50 children, who have died since the start of the conflict.

He also took the opportunity to invoke Winston Churchill with lines such as “we will fight in the forests. In the fields, on the shores, in the streets.”

While speaking in Ukrainian rather than his mother tongue of Russian, President Zelensky also urged the UK to “make Ukrainian skies safe” as he continues to urge the West to implement a no fly zone over Ukraine.

Here’s the full transcript from President Zelensky’s address.

President Zelensky made history by appearing by video link in the House of Commons (Credit: PA)

What did President Zelensky say to House of Commons?

During his 10 minutes speech to the house, President Zelensky said:

Mr. Speaker, all the members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, I am addressing all the people of the United Kingdom and all the people from the country with a big history.

“I am addressing you as a citizen, as a president of also a big country with the dream and big effort. I would like to tell you about the 13 days of war. The war that we didn’t start and we didn’t want it. Well, we have to conduct this war.

“We do not want to lose what we have, what is ours - our country Ukraine - just the same way as you once didn’t want to lose your country when Nazis started to fight your country and you had to fight for Britain.

President Zelensky appeared via video link the chamber. (Credit: PA)

“13 days of this struggle. On day one at 4:00 in the morning, we were attacked by cruise missiles. Everybody woke up.

“People, children, the entire of Ukraine. And since that, we have not been sleeping. We have all been fighting for our country with our army. On day two, we have been fighting air strikes and our heroic military servicemen on the the islands have been trying to fight when Russian forces demanded that we lay down the arms.

“However, we needed to continue fighting and we did. We did feel our force, the force of our people that oppose the occupants and until the end. The next day, the artillery started fighting us. Our army showed us who we are and we have been able to see who our people and who are best known.

“On day four we started taking people captive, we have not been torturing them.

“We remained humane even on day four of this terrible war. On day five, the terror against us was going on against children, against the cities and constant shellings have been taking place around the country, including hospitals. And that didn’t break us, that gave us a feeling of truth. On day six, the Russian rockets fell on Babyn Yar.

“That is the place where the Nazis killed thousands of people during the Second World War. And 80 years after the Russians hit at them for the second time, and even churches are getting destroyed by shelling.

“On day eight, we have seen Russian tanks hitting the atomic power station and everybody has got to understand that this is a terror against everyone.

“On day nine, there was a meeting of NATO’s conference without the result that we were looking for. Yes, we did feel that we did feel that. We did feel , unfortunately, that the alliances don’t work properly all the time and the no fly zone cannot be enforced. And on day ten, the Ukrainians started protesting and was stopping the armored vehicles with their own hands.

MPs listened tentatively as President Zelensky made his speech (Credit: PA)

“And on day 11, the children and cities were being hit and hospitals as well with the rockets and constant shelling and on that day we realised that Ukrainians became heroes. Entire cities - children and adults. And on day 12, the losses of a Russian army exceeded 10,000 people killed, including the general. That gave us hope that that there will be some kind of responsibility for those people of in front of the court.

“On day 13 in the city of Mariupol that was attacked by the Russian forces, a child was killed. They do not allow any food and water and people started panicking. I think everybody can hear that people do not have water over there.

“Over 13 days of this situation, over 50 children have been killed. These are the children that could have left. But these people have taken them away from us.

“They do not condone Ukraine. We’re not looking to have this for the Ukraine, have not been looking to become big, but they have become big over the days of this war. We are the countries that are saving people despite having to fight the one of the biggest countries, one of the biggest armies in the world.

“We have to fight the helicopters, rockets. The question for us now is to be or not to be. This is Shakespearean question. For 15 days, this question could have been asked. But now I can give you a definitive answer. It’s definitely yes, to be. And I would like to remind you the words that the United Kingdom have already heard, which are important again - we will not give up and we will not lose.

“We will fight till the end at sea. In the air. We will continue fighting for our land whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.

“I would like to add that we will fight on the on the banks of different rivers like Nepal.

“We are looking for your help, for the help of the civilized countries. We are we are thankful for this help and I’m very grateful to you, Boris.

“Please increase the pressure of sanctions against this country. And please recognise this country as a terrorist state. Please make sure that our Ukrainian skies are safe. Please make sure that you do what needs to be done and what is stipulated by the greatness of your country.

“Best of all, to Ukraine and to the United Kingdom.”

What was the reaction to Zelensky’s address?

President Zelensky received a standing ovation from all MPs in the house after he concluded his speech.

In response, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Never before in all our centuries of our parliamentary democracy has the House listened to such an address.

“In a great European capital now within range of Russian guns President Volodymyr Zelensky is standing firm for democracy and for freedom.”

He continued: “In his righteous defence I believe he has moved the hearts of everybody in this House.

“At this moment ordinary Ukrainians are defending their homes and their families against a brutal assault and they are, by their actions, inspiring millions by their courage and their devotion.

“This is a moment to put our political differences aside and I know I speak for the whole House when I say that Britain and our allies are determined to press on with supplying our Ukrainian friends with the weapons they need to defend their homeland as they deserve, to press on with tightening the economic vice around Vladimir Putin and we will stop importing Russian oil.

Boris Johnson commended President Zelesnky’s strength address MPs in the House of Commons. (Credit: PA)

“And we will employ every method that we can – diplomatic, humanitarian and economic – until Vladimir Putin has failed in this disastrous venture and Ukraine is free once more.”

His comments were echoed by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, who all responded to the emotional address.

Sir Keir Starmer said: “Every one of us has been moved by the bravery, the resolve, and the leadership of President Zelensky.

“Invading troops march through his streets, shells rain down on his people, and assassins seek his life. No-one would have blamed him for fleeing but instead, he has stayed in Kyiv to lead the Ukrainian people and to fight.

“He has reminded us that our freedom and our democracy are invaluable. He has prompted a world into action, where too often we have let Putin have his way. He has inspired the Ukrainian nation to resist and frustrated the Russian war machine.

“Labour stands for the unity at home and abroad that will isolate the Putin regime. Labour stands for the toughest sanctions that will cripple the Russian state. Labour stands for providing Ukraine with the arms it needs to fight off their invaders. Labour stands with President Zelensky, with Ukraine, with democracy. Slava Ukraini.”

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