Volodymyr Zelensky speech to UK Parliament in full: what did Ukraine President say in address to MPs?

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President Zelensky visited the UK for the first time since war broke out in Ukraine

The Ukrainian leader spoke at Westminster Hall in front of a large crowd who had gathered to hear him speak. The trip marks the first time he has visited the UK since war broke out in Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

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Recent development in the conflict have seen the West, including the UK, EU and the US, agreeing to send tanks to help bolster Ukrainian defences. Zelensky, and his close personal ally Boris Johnson, have lobbied for fighter jets to be sent to further aid their fight against Russia.

Zelensky used his address to make the plea once more. However, Rishi Sunak has so far held out on sending the jets to Ukraine after stating that an extended training tme would be need to equip Ukrainian pilots with the skills needed to use the aircraft.

He also shared his thanks to the UK for its support up until this point. Here’s everything Zelensky said during his speech in the Houses of Parliament in full.

What did Volodymyr Zelensky say during his speech?

Zelensky began his speech in Westminster Hall saying: “The people of the United Kingdom and their honourable representatives, all the people of England and Scotland, of Wales and Northern Ireland, of all the lands which have been home to brave souls since Europe came into existence.

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“I have come here and stand before you on behalf of the brave, on behalf of our war heroes who are now in the trenches under enemy artillery fire, on behalf of our air gunners, and every defender of the sky who protects Ukraine against enemy aircraft and missiles, on behalf of our tank command who fight to restore our Ukrainian borders, on behalf of our conscripts who are being trained now including here in Britain.

“Thank you, Britain. And who will be then deployed to the frontline, skilled, equipped and eager to win on behalf of every father and every mother who are waiting for their brave sons and brave daughters back home from the war.

He continued: “Mr Speaker, you may I think well remember as roughly more than two years ago we met with you here in Parliament. What an honour it was for me. And we, I remember, we enjoyed tea.

Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord McFall, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Westminster Hall (Credit: PA)Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord McFall, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Westminster Hall (Credit: PA)
Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord McFall, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Westminster Hall (Credit: PA) | PA

“We talked of course, talked a lot about our people and about our countries, the British and Ukrainian political traditions. Mr Prime Minister, Rishi, when we had our meeting earlier today and I said to you that I will tell a story in my address to the Parliament and a story about my feelings on my first visit to London as President in Autumn 2020.

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“The programme was packed, Royal Highnesses William and Catherine and Buckingham Palace and aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, the Westminster, of course, Downing Street, and of course, the War Rooms and there is an arm chair in the War Room, Churchill’s famous arm chair, and a guide smiled and offered me to sit down on this armchair from which war orders have been given, and he asked me how did they feel?

“And I said that I suddenly felt something. But it is only now that I know what the feeling was.

“And all Ukrainians know it perfectly well too. It is a feeling of how bravery takes you through the most unimaginable hardships to finally reward you with victory.

Zelensky shared his thanks for the West for the support offered to Ukraine during the war, adding: “Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your bravery. Thank you very much from all from all of us. Yes, please. That is for you. All applause for you.

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“London has stood with Kyiv since day one, from the first seconds and minutes of the full-scale war, Great Britain you extended your helping hand when the world had not yet come to understand how to react.”

A special thanks for Boris

He then singled out Boris Johnson’s personal support during his time in power. Zelensky and the former Prime Minister formed a close relationship upon the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent influx of support from the UK.

The leader said: “Boris: you got others united when it seemed absolutely, absolutely impossible. Thank you.

“You, all of you, you all showed your grit and character back then, strong British character. You didn’t compromise Ukraine. And hence, you didn’t compromise your ideals. And thus, you didn’t compromise the spirit of these great islands. Thank you very much.

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“And, of course, of course, everybody understand that our Congress knew absolutely different times, our nation’s defended freedom in the Second World War, the Iron Curtain divided us, our people went through crisis … and periods of social losses and social gains.

Boris Johnson was in attendance as Zelensky addressed the UK Parliament. (Credit: PA)Boris Johnson was in attendance as Zelensky addressed the UK Parliament. (Credit: PA)
Boris Johnson was in attendance as Zelensky addressed the UK Parliament. (Credit: PA) | PA

“It was tough, but we always found friends and stamina to move ahead and achieve results. This is the bedrock of our land, and your traditions, Ukrainians and Brits defeated the fear of war, and have the time to enjoy peace, no matter what we encountered on different stages of our and your formidable history. And you and us, and the whole of mankind achieved similar result, evil lost.

He continued: “We will always come out on top of evil. This lies at the core of our, but also your, traditions. However, the horizon never stays clear for a while. Once the old evil is defeated, the new one is attempting to rise its head.

“Do you have a feeling that the evil will crumble once again? I can see in your eyes now, we think the same way as you do. We know freedom will win. We know Russia will lose.

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“And we really know that the victory will change the world and this will be a change that the world has long needed. The United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most, I think, the most important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of the war.

“After we win together, any aggressor, it doesn’t matter big or small, will know what awaits him if he attacks international order. Any aggressor who will try to push the boundaries by force who will inflict destruction and death on other peoples, who will try to endure his dictatorship at the expense of other people’s blood in criminal and unprovoked wars as the Kremlin does. Any aggressor is going to lose.

‘There must be justice’

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have already achieved remarkable results and we must make every effort to turn our achievements into the foundations of the future global security architecture, the world, the world needs your leadership Britain just as it needs Ukrainian bravery. When the full scale invasion began, we together with you Britain and United States and other allies formed a true coalition of friends.

“That is very important. You were among those very few who have helped before the large-scale invasion began – exactly as it will be necessary every time in the future to prevent aggression from happening.

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“Your help was preventive. We must take these principles of preventive aid to those who are threatened with aggression and preventive sanctions against those who threaten aggression as basic principles of the world anti-war policy.

“We created a coalition of NLAW and Javelin that stopped the advance of the Russian army from the first day of the invasion. We build the coalition of artillery rounds and a coalition of air defence which allow us to save the lives of our children, of our people, of our civilians, our women, our elderly, and our cities from Russian … occupation and missile terror.

Zelensky address the crowd inside Westminster Hall. (Credit: PA)Zelensky address the crowd inside Westminster Hall. (Credit: PA)
Zelensky address the crowd inside Westminster Hall. (Credit: PA) | PA

“We put together a powerful sanction coalition and your leadership is protecting the international legal order through sanctions against a terrorist state cannot be questioned. And we have to steadily continue along this way until Russia is deprived of any possibility to finance the war.

“Most importantly, together with the G7, we brought about coalition of values that protects the rules-based world order and human rights, a coalition that will work in such a way that over time, there will simply be no grey areas in the world in which human life doesn’t matter.

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“In order for it to be so, there must be justice. Anyone who invests in terror must be held accountable. Anyone who invests in violence must compensate those who have suffered from terror.

“Terror, aggression or other forms of state violence. Our proposals for the creation of the special tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine and special compensation mechanism, which will compensate war losses at the expense of Russian assets are based on such on such principles.

“Justice is one of 10 elements of the peace formula proposed by Ukraine and supported by Britain. I thank you, for your readiness to invoke the formula. Thank you, Prime Minister, thank you very much.

Zelensky continues plea for equipment

He continued: “As I already mentioned, Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in Britain, in particular to operate Challengers, your main battle tanks, and it’s a tank coalition in action. And I thank you very much for this powerful defensive step, for tank assistance. Thank you.

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“The coalition of long-range missiles is the latest of all, it will allow us to make the evil completely retreat from our country by destroying its heavyweights, deep in the occupied territories.

“And I’m not speaking just about weapons, we proved together, that the world truly helps those who are brave in defending freedom and thus paves the way for a new history of the world that knows how to be quick in help, who knows how to be effective in the defence, who knows how to remain principled in dark hours, who implements its treaties and arrangements in good faith, who does not allow perpetrators to enjoy immunity, who knows how to overcome veto when it’s abused, who knows no fear and who knows how to win. This shall be the new reality of the free world I’m sure.

“However, evil is still around today and the battle continues. Yes, we know how it’s going to end and how we are going to feel on the day victory comes. Every day we continue to pay with lives.

“Pain and tears for bringing victory closer, with the lives of our people, our heroes, whom we lose in battles, with the lives of our heroes who take life and death risks every day to save as many of our soldiers and civilians as possible.”

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“And today, I will have the honour to be received by His Majesty, the King. It will be a truly special moment for me, for our country, and in particular because I will convey to him from all the Ukrainians the words of gratitude for the support His Majesty showed to them when he was still the Prince of Wales.

“And I also intend to tell him something that is very, very, very important, not only for the future of Ukraine, but also for the future of Europe. In Britain, the king is an air force pilot and in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is a king for us, for our families, because they are so few, they are so precious, that we the servants of our kings do everything possible and impossible to make the world provide us with modern planes to empower and protect pilots who will be protecting us.

Zelensky gifted the helmet of a Ukrainian pilot to the UK during his trip. (Credit: PA)Zelensky gifted the helmet of a Ukrainian pilot to the UK during his trip. (Credit: PA)
Zelensky gifted the helmet of a Ukrainian pilot to the UK during his trip. (Credit: PA) | PA

“And I’m proud of our air force and I brought a present from them to you Great Britain. It is the helmet of real Ukrainian pilot. He’s one of our most successful aces and he’s one of our kings. The writing on the helmet reads: ‘We have freedom give us wings to protect it.’”

Johnson had previously lobbied for the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine while on a trip to the US, after Zelensky made a plea for further military equiptment. The Ukrainian president said: “I trust this symbol will help us for our next coalition, coalition of the planes and I appeal to you and the world with simple and yet most important words, combat aircraft for Ukraine. Wings for freedom.

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“Great Britain, you and us both struggle for peace, but instead we are forced to face the rage that seeks to deprive us of peace and everything else that is valuable in life.

“Unfortunately, it is in human nature to allow evil … sure it then stands up against humanity. It then destroys and kills. It launches aggressions and breaks people’s lives. You and us have already fought together again against such evil. You and us already have a experience of defeating the evil that is generated by human nature.

“I’m not saying there will be no more wars after the war ends. No. It is impossible to completely erase evil from human nature. Yet it is in our power to guarantee, with words and deeds that the light side of human nature will prevail – the side you and us share and this stands above anything else.

“Thank you for your attention, thank you for your support. And leaving British Parliament two years ago I thanked you for delicious English tea. And I will be leaving the Parliament today thanking all of you in advance for powerful English planes. God Bless Great Britain and long, long live the King. Slava Ukraini.”

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