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UKRAINE: Zelensky addresses UK politicians

UKRAINE’S President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke earlier today with British politicians in the House of Commons via live a video link.

The Commons chamber was packed ahead of President Zelensky’s address.

It was the first time a foreign leader had spoken to MPs in the chamber of the Commons – normally these sorts of speeches happen in Westminster hall.

Much of the cabinet and shadow cabinet were present with the Ukrainian ambassador sitting in the gallery.

Zelensky said sanctions are welcome but it was not enough adding that there need to be a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

He went on to say that the decision by the ICC to investigate Russia for war crimes gave them hope that there will be consequences. He called for more sanctions and to help make sure Ukrainian skies are safe.

He revealed also that more than 15 children have died in the war, and these are “lives of children that could have lived”.

While speaking he compared Ukraine’s fight against Russia to the British war effort against Nazi Germany in World War Two.

“You didn’t want to lose your country when Nazis wanted to take your country,” he says. “And you had to fight for Britain.”

Commenting further he said his people had shown a “heroic” effort against Russian forces.

“Shelling didn’t break us,” he says.

President Zelensky quoted Shakespeare to MPs, saying Ukraine has concluded “to be” (as opposed to “not to be”).

Echoing Churchill’s famous 1940 he said: “we shall fight on the beaches” speech, Zelensky says: “We will not give up and we will not lose.

“We will fight to the end at the 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.”

In response to Zelensky’s speech to MPs, UK PM Boris Johnson said ordinary Ukrainians are inspiring millions by their courage.

Johnson further said UK and allies were determined to “press on” to supply military weapons, impose sanctions and add pressure against Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.

He added that the UK will employ every method possible until Putin had failed in this venture and Ukraine is free “once more”.

UK opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer also spoke to the House “everyone of us has been moved by the bravery, the resolve and the leadership” of President Zelensky.

The Labour leader said “he’s reminded us that our freedom and our democracy are invaluable”.

“He has shown his strength, and we must show him and the Ukrainian people our support,” Starmer said, adding: “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine).

Westminster SNP leader Ian Blackford reiterated the sentiments of PM Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer.

Saying:”President Zelensky, we salute you”.

He added that the UK government stands with the people of Ukraine and condemn Russia’s invasion and that the “peace, justice and the sovereignty” of Ukraine “must prevail”

Initially however, there had been debates in Westminster on whether the government had gone far enough to help people fleeing Ukraine and in imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

But when it came to opposing Russia and sending support to Ukraine, there has been widespread unity in Parliament.

President Zelensky urged the UK to go further. The ministers however said they are looking into it.

They however revealed that the harder request to fulfil was the one to secure the safety of the skies above Ukraine.

As that is something the ministers have repeatedly ruled out because they fear it would lead to a massive escalation of the conflict.

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