Ukraine-Russia: Standing ovation by MPs as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky calls for more sanctions in historic Commons speech
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the UK to impose further sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime and declare Russia as a “terrorist state” in an historic speech to the House of Commons.
Addressing the House of Commons via video link, Mr Zelensky said “we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours, our country Ukraine”.
According to the English language translation on Parliament TV, Mr 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 a 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. However, we have to conduct this war, we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours, our country Ukraine.”
Concluding his speech to the Commons, Mr Zelensky thanked Boris Johnson by name and called on the UK for more support.
Speaking through a translator provided by Parliament TV, he said: “We are looking for your help, for the help of Western counties.
“We are thankful for this help and I am grateful to you Boris.
“Please increase the pressure of sanctions against this country [Russia] and please recognise this country as a terrorist country.
“Please make sure 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.
“Glory to Ukraine and glory to the United Kingdom.”
Mr Johnson told the House of Commons in response: “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.”
MPs, including Mr Johnson, delivered standing ovations both before and immediately after Mr Zelensky’s impassioned speech at Westminster.
Mr Zelensky was addressing the House of Commons by video link after Speaker Lindsay Hoyle approved a request for the “historic address” from the leader who, according to reports, is at risk of assassination by pro-Russian groups in Kyiv.
Members of the House of Lords also filled the upper galleries of the chamber to watch the speech alongside MPs.
Screens were installed in the Commons in preparation for the address in the same place that they were installed during the virtual parliament held during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.