President of Ukraine

Speech by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Australian Parliament

31 March 2022 - 11:38

Speech by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Australian Parliament

Distinguished Mr. Prime Minister!

Dear Mr. Speaker of the House of Representatives!

Dear Mr. President of the Senate!

Dear leader of the opposition!

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the government, senators and members of the parliament!

Australian people!

Thank you for the great honor of speaking to you today.

In May 2016, thousands of Australians gathered at Perth Airport to see the Ukrainian "Mriya" for the first time. "Mriya" is the name of our An-225 aircraft. "Mriya" is a dream in English. After covering almost 15,000 kilometers, it delivered to Australia an urgent cargo - a 130-ton electric generator, which your enterprise desperately needed. Delivery by sea would take several months. And the Ukrainian plane did it in a few days.

We have always been proud of our "Mriya". Not because it is the largest on the planet. First of all because it helped people from all over the world by delivering food, drinking water, equipment for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

In 2019, after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our "Mriya" constantly delivered the most necessary medical supplies. That saved people. Adults, children - all. In different countries, on different continents. "Mriya" was bringing life. But now it is impossible.

Impossible, because there is a state that has completely different values than we have, than you have, than the whole civilized world has. And this state started a full-scale war against us.

It bombs and shells peaceful cities and villages, killing our peaceful people. Kills children. Arranges blockades of cities, holding hundreds of thousands of people hostage without water, food, light and heat. Daily. It separates thousands of children from their parents and takes them out, or rather kidnaps them, forcibly relocating to its territory.

And on February 27, as a result of fighting in the city of Hostomel, our plane "Mriya" was burned. Can we say that Russia has destroyed our dream? No. It burned the plane, it burned the iron. It destroyed matter, not soul. The shell, not the essence. Not freedom. Not dignity. Not independence.

We know that our dream cannot be defeated and destroyed. Especially if we can count on the support and help of the free world. On your support, on your help. And as in the story I told above, it is not needed in a few months, it is needed now.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Australian people!

The distance between our states is great, thousands of kilometers. We are divided by the seas and oceans, the territories of dozens of other countries, time zones. But this distance simply does not exist for the cruelty and chaos that Russia has brought to Eastern Europe, to the region of our Black and Azov Seas, to our Ukrainian land.

Everything that is happening in our region due to Russia's aggression and that is destroying the lives of our people has already become a real threat to your state and your people. Because this is the nature of evil - it can instantly overcome any distance and any barriers. Destroy life.

For decades, there has been no such threat of nuclear strikes as there is now. Because Russian officials and state propagandists are openly discussing the use of nuclear weapons against those who do not want to obey Russian demands.

For decades, it has not been the case that one state completely blocked the sea for another state and all merchant ships of any country.

But that is exactly what Russia has done. Our part of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is now a completely dead sea. And any ship that tries to enter our waters can simply be destroyed by the Russian fleet. More than a hundred merchant ships under various flags are blocked by Russia in our ports!

For decades, there has never been a state in the world that has started a war against a neighboring people, openly declaring its conquest or destruction. So that not even the name of this nation remains, so that there is no possibility of free life for this nation.

Russia has already returned to the world the worst pages of the XX century. The greatest threats of that century. It returned the evil that humanity has long hoped to forget.

But the worst thing is that if Russia is not stopped now, if Russia is not brought to justice, some other countries in the world that dream of a similar war against their neighbors will decide that this is possible for them as well.

The fate of global security is being decided now.

No human is capable of controlling the wind and precipitation on the planet, and therefore no one will be able to save one or another part of the Earth from radiation pollution due to the use of nuclear weapons.

No state on the planet should have even a theoretical possibility to block maritime trade routes and even more so to completely close the sea to other states. I repeat once again: there should not even be a theoretical possibility!

No ruler in the world should count on impunity when considering the prospect of war.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Australian people!

After 36 days of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, it is safe to say that there is no other way in the world to guarantee global security than to force Russia into silence, into peace. And also to bring it to justice - this is important - for everything it has done against global security.

A state that does not shy away from nuclear blackmail should immediately receive sanctions that demonstrate that blackmail has devastating consequences for the blackmailer.

Effective tools are also needed to bring to justice any state that blocks maritime trade routes. So that no one even has such a temptation - to make the sea dead.

Now there are simply no such tools in the world. Therefore, Australia's leadership can be indispensable in modernizing the global security architecture. As well as in strengthening our anti-war coalition, which is now working to return peace to Ukraine.

It is also necessary to improve the capacity of international institutions created for the responsibility of war criminals and those who commit any criminal act for which the whole world can punish in solidarity, not just one state alone. If this was done in time, life in the world would be much safer.

I am sure that each of you, as well as each of us Ukrainians, remembers the tragedy of MH-17. Malaysian Boeing shot down by the Russian occupiers in the sky over the Ukrainian Donbas. Then 298 people died. My condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones.

But was it possible to bring to justice those who caused this tragedy? No. They are hiding in Russia. And, obviously, received security guarantees from the Russian state. Has Russia paid compensation to the relatives of the victims? No. It still denies its guilt in the tragedy.

Eight years have already passed and justice has not been restored yet. And no one knows how much longer it will take for at least one tragedy to receive a worthy response from the international community, from all of us.

And how many more new tragedies has Russia created or will create?

It is often said that unpunished evil returns. I would add: unpunished evil returns winged, with a sense of omnipotence. If the world had punished Russia for what it did in 2014, there would be none of the horrors of this invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

We need to fix these terrible mistakes now.

I am grateful to Australia for its bipartisan support for our defense against invaders. For the help that your state has already given us. In particular, for 70 thousand tons of coal for the needs of our energy.

But this is just the beginning. Together we can, and therefore must do more. New sanctions against Russia are needed. Strong sanctions. As long as it doesn’t abandon nuclear blackmail, the blockade of the sea, it must pay the highest price. No Russian ship should be allowed into the ports of the free world. Buying Russian oil means paying for the destruction of the foundations of global security. Any business activity with Russia must be completely stopped. Not a single dollar for the elimination of people!

Any attempt by Russia to circumvent sanctions must also be stopped. After all, what kind of sanctions are these, if they can be circumvented thanks to simple schemes?

But above all, we must arm those who are really fighting for freedom. For evil to lose and for Russia to seek peace, Ukraine must have everything it needs on the battlefield.

For example, you have wonderful Bushmaster armored vehicles that can significantly help Ukraine. As well as other models of equipment and weapons that can strengthen our position. If you have the opportunity - Ukraine will be grateful to you.

Now in Ukraine they will definitely do more for our common freedom, for our common security than being covered with dust on your land. The Ukrainian people have already shown the world how sincerely we value freedom. How consistently we are ready to defend it.

Our heroes are fighting against the army that is considered one of the strongest in the world. But all our people, without exception, are already thinking about the future. About how we will live after the war. How we will rebuild our country, our Black Sea region.

We invite the world's leading countries, leading companies and the best specialists to join the project of Ukraine's reconstruction. Take patronage of a region, city or industry of your choice in our country that needs restoration.

Your state has given Ukraine a special status of a like-minded country. But we are not only related in our thoughts - we are also related in our dreams.

Therefore, I invite your beautiful country to look closely at our southern regions, at our coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Restoration of our ports, development of such cities as, for example, Kherson, which is fighting for its freedom today, restoration of the maritime industry of Ukraine can be a special contribution to stability for you after this terrible war.

Together with the fundamental protection of free navigation, this will restore the strength of the old but correct words: whoever is able to defend freedom at sea, is able to defend freedom in the world. I believe you can do it!

And I hope that the Ukrainian community of Australia, our strong Ukrainian community, will join this common work. It will support us now as much as in previous years.

Dear friends, the geographical distance between us is insane. Thousands of kilometers. But what does this distance mean for those who have a common understanding, who see the world the same way, who are bitterly disturbed when the enemy comes, when children are killed, when cities are destroyed, when refugees are shot on the roads, when a peaceful country is turned into a burned territory? Then any distance disappears. Geography means nothing. Only humanity matters. Only a dream of returning to a peaceful life.

A dream we will fulfill.

Definitely. And definitely together.

Thank you!

Thank you Australia!

Glory to Ukraine!