Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi made a trip to Brussels on Thursday, February 9, a day after he made a surprise visit to the UK and France.
In Brussels, Zelenskyi delivered a speech to the European Parliament and later addressed the 27 EU leaders gathered for a summit.
The European Council is meeting for a summit in Brussels on February 9-10 to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine, EU support for Ukraine, and results of last week’s EU-Ukraine summit. Here are the highlights from President Zelenskyi’s addresses to the European Parliament and the European Council.
“Ukrainian European way of life”
During an address to EU lawmakers, President Zelenskyi said: “All of us, Europeans, each and every one of the hundreds of millions of people on our continent, combine these two statuses — representatives of Europe and leaders of Europe. This combination reflects what our Europe, a modern Europe, a peaceful Europe, gives to the world. European way of life. European path of life. European manner of life. European rules of life.”
“When everyone matters. When the law rules.”
“When states strive to be social and societies strive to be open. When diversity is a value and the values of the different are united by fair equality.”
“When borders are inviolable, but one does not feel them as they cross them.”
“When people believe in tomorrow and are willing to take to the streets to fight for their tomorrow. When there is only one single barrier between the president and the protesters, and that is fair elections.”
“This is our Europe. These are our rules. This is our way of life. And for Ukraine, it’s a way home, a way to its home.”
“Now I am here in order to defend our people’s way home. All Ukrainian men and Ukrainian women, [people] of different ages, political beliefs, social classes, religious views, personal history, who share European history with all of you.”
“There is an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian European way of life by an all-out war. But what for?”
“In order to fully destroy the European way after the Ukrainian European way of life is destroyed, [destroy it] for each of the 27 elements of the European way of life — the 27 countries of the European Union. We will not allow that to happen.”
“We defend ourselves against the most anti-European force in modern world.”
“This total war that has been unleashed by Russia is not just about territory in one part of Europe or another,” President Zelenskyi said as he addressed the European Parliament.
“Its threat is not only in the fact that there is a dictator with huge stockpiles of Soviet-made weapons and weapons supplies from other dictatorships, in particular the Iranian regime. In order to be able to wage this war, the Kremlin has been consistently destroying, step by step, year after year, what we see as the basis of our Europe.”
“The sacred value of human life has been completely destroyed in Russia as well. No one matters to the authorities there, except for those inside the Kremlin walls, their relatives and their wallets. For them, for the Kremlin, all others, all 140 million citizens are just bodies capable of carrying weapons — carrying weapons to Ukraine and on the battlefield, keeping others obedient or being obedient themselves.”
“The rule of violence and obedience are the rules there instead of the rule of law.”
“The Russian regime not only hates everything, any sociality and diversity, but also deliberately stirs xenophobia and tries to make all the inhuman things that happened in the 1930s and 1940s part of the norm on our continent.”
“But will it last forever? This is a question for all of us. The answer is no! No! Europe! We are defending ourselves against the most anti-European force in the modern world. We are defending ourselves. We, Ukrainians, are on the battlefield with you.”
“I thank you for our joint defense! We must defend ourselves!”
No free Europe without free Ukraine
Speaking later to the European Council, President Zelenskyi urged the EU leaders to step up support for Ukraine and sanction Russia’s missile and drone, and IT industries.
“You have to take this decisive step,” he said.
Zelenskyi urges to “act faster than Russia can mobilize its potential”
President Zelenskyi called on EU leaders to “enhance the dynamic of our cooperation and act faster than the aggressor can mobilize its potential.”
He thanked them for the “sanctions packages that are already in force.” “But have they sufficiently limited Russia’s aggressive potential? This is a path that needs to be completed,” he added.
“We need to add security to our freedom and unity. (…) The European Union is already on the way toward the security. Fundamental steps have already been taken, but we have to go all the way through. We must enhance the dynamic of our cooperation and act faster than the aggressor can mobilize its potential.”
“Security interaction [between the EU] and Ukraine created a historical precedent for any aggressor, and set an example of why one should not start aggression against Europeans. Russian aggression must inevitably fail,” Zelenskyi said.
“The sooner freedom and European values are restored in all of Ukraine, including the parts that are now occupied, the more solid and lasting will be the peace in all of Europe,” he said.
Zelenskyi called for a special tribunal to prosecute Russia for its crime of aggression against Ukraine. “There must be a compensation mechanism for all the damage caused by Russian terror,” he said.
“These are all part of the peace formula. Ukraine has never sought this or any other war. Ukraine has never provoked it and has always tried to maintain peace,” Zelenskyi said.
Regional journalists reflect on a year of the full scale war. Part Two. Ukraine in Flames #336
What did the war change? Most of the people would probably say – everything. And they’re right, war did change everything for everybody. There is no Ukrainian that hasn’t been affected by the war, russia inflicted on our country. Watch Ukraine in flames #336 to reflect on this year and find out how the war changed the life of regional journalists from different parts of Ukraine.
- Anna Tolstosheeva, freelance, Sumy
- Artem Korol, freelance, Sumy
- Valeria Melnyk, Trybun, Severodonetsk – Dnipro
- Victoria Kuts, Times.zt, Zhytomyr
- Olga Bulkovska, Pershyi, Sumy