Text of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech to Congress on Wednesday. He speaks Ukrainian, which was simultaneously translated into English by his interpreter.
Madam President, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen, Americans, friends, I am proud to greet you from Ukraine, from our capital kyiv. A city that suffers missiles and airstrikes from Russian troops every day, but does not give up. And we didn’t even think about it for a second. Like many other cities and communities in our beautiful country, which has found itself in the worst war since World War II, I have the honor to greet you on behalf of the people of Ukraine, a courageous and freedom-loving people who for eight years has been resisting Russian aggression. Those who give their best sons and daughters to stop this full-scale Russian invasion. At this moment, the destiny of our country is being decided. The fate of our people. If the Ukrainians will be free, if they will be able to preserve their democracy. Russia has not only attacked us, not only our land, not only our cities, it has launched a brutal offensive against our values - basic human values. He threw tanks and planes against our freedom, against our right to live freely in our own country, choosing our own future. Against our desire for happiness, against our national dreams. Just like the same dreams you have. You Americans. Like anyone else in the United States. I remember your national memorial at Rushmore, the faces of your distinguished presidents, those who laid the foundations of the United States of America as it is today. Democracy, independence, freedom and care for all, for each person, for all those who work diligently, who live honestly, who respect the law. In Ukraine, we want the same for our people. It’s all part of your own life. Ladies and gentlemen, American friends, in your great history you have pages that would allow you to understand Ukrainians. Understand us now when you need it. Right now, when we need you right now. Remember Pearl Harbour. Terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from planes attacking you. Remember it. Remember September 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked, attacked from the air. As no one else expected, you couldn’t stop it. Our country is going through the same thing every day right now, every night for three weeks now. Various Ukrainian cities… Russia has turned the Ukrainian skies into a source of death for thousands of people. Russian troops have already fired nearly a thousand missiles into Ukraine, countless bombs. They use drones to kill us with precision. It is a terror that Europe has not seen, has not seen for 80 years and we demand an answer, an answer to this terror from all over the world. Is that a lot to ask? Create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people. Is that too much to ask? The humanitarian no-fly zone is something Ukraine, Russia, would not terrorize our free cities. If that’s too much to ask, we offer you an alternative. You know, what kind of defense systems we need, S-300 and other similar systems. You know, it all depends on the battlefield, the ability to use aircraft, strong and powerful aviation to protect our people, our freedom, our land. Planes that can help Ukraine, help Europe. And you know they exist, and you have them, but they are on earth, not in Ukrainian skies. They are not defending our people. I have a dream. These words are known to each of you today. I can say, I have a need. I have to protect our sky. I need your decision, your help, which means exactly the same. The same you feel when you hear the words, I’m having a dream. Ladies and gentlemen, my friends, Ukraine is grateful to the United States for its overwhelming support for all that your government and people have done for us, for weapons and ammunition, for training, for finances, for leadership in the free world, which helps us to exert economic pressure on the aggressor. I am grateful to President Biden for his personal involvement, for his sincere commitment to the defense of Ukraine and of democracy everywhere in the world. I am grateful to you for the resolution which recognizes all those who commit crimes against Ukraine, against the Ukrainian people as war criminals. However, now that it is true in the darkest times for our country, for all of Europe, I call on you to do more. New sanctions packages are constantly needed every week until the Russian military machine comes to a halt. Restrictions are needed for all on whom this unjust regime is based. We propose that the United States sanction all politicians of the Russian Federation who remain in their offices and not cut ties with those responsible for the aggression against Ukraine. From members of the State Duma to the last official who lacks the morale to break the state terror. All American companies must leave Russia out of their market, leave their market immediately because it is drenched in our blood. Ladies and gentlemen, members of Congress, please take the lead. If you have companies in your districts that fund the Russian military machine by leaving business in Russia, you should lobby. I’m asking to make sure that the Russians don’t get a penny that they use to destroy people in Ukraine. The destruction of our country, the destruction of Europe. All US ports should be closed to Russian goods. Peace is more important than income and we must defend this principle all over the world. We have already been part of the anti-war coalition, a grand anti-war coalition that brings together many countries, dozens of countries, those who reacted in principle to President Putin’s decision to invade our country. But we must move forward and do more. We need to create new tools to react quickly and stop the war, the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, and it would be fair if it ended in one day, in 24 hours, that evil would be punished immediately. Today, the world does not have such tools. The wars of the past prompted our predecessors to create institutions that should protect us from war. But unfortunately they don’t work. We see it, you see it. So we need new ones, new institutions, new alliances, and we are proposing them. We propose to create an association. U-24, United for Peace, a union of responsible countries that have the strength and conscience to immediately stop conflicts, provides all necessary assistance within 24 hours. If necessary, even weapons. If necessary, sanctions, humanitarian support, political support, finances, whatever it takes to keep the peace and quickly save the world, to save lives. Also, associations such as a trade union could provide assistance to those who experience natural disasters, man-made disasters who have been victims of humanitarian crises or epidemics. Remember how hard it was for the world to do the simplest thing just to give vaccines, COVID shots to save lives and prevent new strains. The world has spent months, years, doing things like this much faster to make sure there are no casualties, no casualties. Ladies and gentlemen, Americans, if such an alliance existed today, that is, U-24, we could save thousands of lives in our country. In many countries of the world, those who need peace, those who suffer inhuman destruction. I ask you to watch a video, a video of what Russian troops have done in our country, on our land. We have to stop it. We must prevent it. Prevent actively destroying every aggressor who seeks to subjugate other nations. Please watch the video. (Video starts) (Zelenskyy speaks in English): And in the end, to sum up today, today, it is not enough to be the leader of the nation that they take to be the leader of the world. To be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Peace in your country no longer depends solely on you and your people. It depends on who is next to you and who is strong. Strong does not mean big. Strong is brave and ready to fight for the lives of his fellow citizens and citizens of the world. Human rights for freedom, for the right to live decently and to die when your time comes and not when it is wanted by someone else, by your neighbour. Today, the Ukrainian people are not only defending Ukraine, we are fighting for the values of Europe and the world, sacrificing our own lives in the name of the future. That is why today the American people are helping not only Ukraine, but Europe and the world to keep the planet alive, to keep justice in history. Now I am almost 45 years old. Today, my age stopped when the hearts of more than a hundred children stopped beating. I see no meaning in life if it can’t stop the dead. And this is my main mission as the leader of my people, great Ukrainians. And as leader of my nation, I address President Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. To be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Thank you. Slavo Ukraini (translation: Glory to Ukraine). OR
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