President of Ukraine

Speech by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting of the European Council

25 March 2022 - 01:03

Speech by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting of the European Council

Greetings to all of you, greetings to all our friends, friends of Ukraine!

Greetings to all who support freedom!

Mr. President of the European Council, my friend Charles, I congratulate you and congratulate all of us on your re-election. I think this is very important and this is right.

I am grateful for the opportunity to address you and the nations of Europe.

Today it’s already been a month since the Russian invasion. After 8 years of aggression in Donbas. The month of the great war.

In short, about its chronicle. Because everything is in my head and everything is fragments. Unfortunately, tragic ones.

It all started on February 24. From Russia. When the missiles flew. Early in the morning. Against our peaceful cities. People have still been sleeping. Death has already come.

Russia sent armored vehicles against us. Brought several thousand tanks to Ukraine.

It’s hard to count how many of them have already been burned. How many can still kill us.

Bombs fell on our people. From planes that took off from Belarus. And they didn't even admit that they did it.

Russia captured the Chornobyl NPP. Staff have not been released for 24 days there. Imagine, people lived 24 days at such a facility, worked at such a facility. These are our people.

So that nothing terrible happens in Chornobyl again. To prevent the catastrophe.

And the Russian military held them hostage.

Russian tanks fired at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Russia fired missiles at Babyn Yar.

It has already destroyed more than 230 schools and 155 kindergartens. Killed 128 children. Fired missiles at universities. Burns residential neighborhoods with rocket artillery.

Whole cities, villages. Just to ashes. Nothing remains. The Russian military killed journalists. Although they saw the inscription "Press" on them. They may not have been taught to read. Only to kill.

Russia has blocked Mariupol. This is a blockade that no one could have imagined in our time. Hundreds of thousands of people without water, without food. Under constant shelling, under constant bombing.

The Russian militaries deliberately blow up hospitals, maternity hospitals, shelters. They even blow up shelters, imagine! Knowing for sure that people are hiding there.

They killed 96-year-old Borys Romanchenko in Kharkiv. A Russian projectile flew into his apartment. Into the apartment of a man who survived the Nazi concentration camps, but could not survive Russia that went to our Ukrainian Kharkiv. Thank God, our military stopped Russia there.

Russian troops are using phosphorus bombs - it was this morning. Rape women. Loot houses. Destroy churches! All churches. Even those of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Abducted more than 2,000 children from Ukraine. We don't know where our children are, where our 2,000 children are. Fire at humanitarian convoys. They don't care who's there. Children, women, church representatives who accompany the humanitarian cargo.

They kill people in Donetsk and say it's us. They say it's us, the "nationalists".

Russia is doing all this. For a month already. On our land.

And Ukraine? What is Ukraine doing?

It did not go to a foreign land. Never dreamed of any war. Shoots down missiles. Urges strangers to lay down their arms and return home. For the sake of life.

Do you understand? For the sake of life. Not death.

Heals and feeds war prisoners. Allows them to contact their relatives by phone. Collects the corpses of Russian soldiers from the fields, which they simply leave, abandon. Hundreds and hundreds.

Ukraine has united for peace. And for the sake of peace it unites the world. Tries to unblock the besieged cities.

Maintains the safe operation of nuclear power plants. Even in the presence of the occupiers.

Calls on the IAEA to intervene and patiently explains to the international bureaucracy what is happening. Evacuates people from dangerous areas. Does not stop trying to deliver humanitarian aid. Records Russian war crimes. Gathers evidence.

Invites journalists. Maintains the functioning of all institutions of a normal state.

Defends its own country!

And every morning... Do you hear me? Every morning, the whole state, the whole of Ukraine - children, grandparents - everyone honors the memory of all those who died for our state with a moment of silence.

Have you heard anything like this on Russian television? Have you seen this in their schools?

They are even ashamed of the word "war". They call it a "special operation".

Although they organized a massacre here, as the Nazis did. These are different worlds. We and they.

These are different values. This is a different attitude to life. The Russian military does not see what dignity is. They do not know what conscience is. They do not understand why we value our freedom so much. This is what determines how the country will live.

And who should be in Europe.

And what about the European Union?

I want to thank you - you are united, united around us. But I want to say that it was done in one way or another. But once again, the main thing is that you have united.

And we really appreciate that. You have applied sanctions. We are grateful. These are powerful steps.

But it was a little late. Because if it had been preventive, Russia would not have gone to war. At least no one knows for sure. There was a chance.

You blocked Nord Stream 2. We are grateful to you. And rightly so. But it was also a little late. Because if it had been in time, Russia would not have created a gas crisis. At least there was a chance.

And now you and I are preparing Ukraine's membership in the European Union. Finally.

Here I ask you - do not be late. Please. Because during this month you have compared these worlds, and you see everything. You saw who is worth what. And you saw that Ukraine should be in the EU in the near future.

At least you have everything for that. And we have this chance.

Lithuania stands for us. Latvia stands for us. Estonia stands for us. Poland stands for us. France - Emanuel, I really believe that you will stand for us. Slovenia stands for us. Slovakia stands for us. The Czech Republic stands for us. Romania knows what dignity is, so it will stand for us at the crucial moment. Bulgaria stands for us. Greece, I believe, stands with us. Germany... A little later. Portugal - well, almost… Croatia stands for us. Sweden - yellow and blue should always stand together. Finland - I know you are with us. The Netherlands stands for the rational, so we’ll find common ground. Malta - I believe we will succeed. Denmark - I believe we will succeed.

Luxembourg - we understand each other. Cyprus - I really believe you are with us.

Italy - thank you for your support! Spain - we’ll find common ground. Belgium - we will find arguments. Austria, together with Ukrainians, it is an opportunity for you. I'm sure of it. Ireland - well, almost.

Hungary... I want to stop here and be honest. Once and for all.

You have to decide for yourself who you are with. You are a sovereign state. I’ve been to Budapest. I adore your city. I have been many times - very beautiful, very hospitable city. And people, too. You have had tragic moments in your life. I visited your waterfront. I saw this memorial… Shoes on the Danube Bank. About mass killings. I was there with my family.

Listen, Viktor, do you know what's going on in Mariupol?

Please, if you can, go to your waterfront.

Look at those shoes. And you will see how mass killings can happen again in today's world. And that's what Russia is doing today. The same shoes. In Mariupol, there are the same people. Adults and children. Grandparents. And there are thousands of them. And these thousands are gone.

And you hesitate whether to impose sanctions or not? And you hesitate whether to let weapons through or not?

And you hesitate whether to trade with Russia or not? 

There is no time to hesitate. It's time to decide already.

We believe in you. We need your support. We believe in your people.

We believe in the European Union.

And we believe that Germany will also be with us at the crucial moment.

Thank you!

Glory to Ukraine!