Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UK House of Commons via video on Tuesday, saying “we will fight to the end,” echoing former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous wartime speech.
“We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight until the end at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost,” he said in his comments translated by an interpreter.
Channeling a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Ukrainian leader said: “To be or not to be,” adding, “Thirteen days ago this question could have been asked about Ukraine, but now, absolutely not. It is obvious, we will be. It is obvious, we will be free.
Zelensky also expressed his gratitude to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and asked the parliament to increase the pressure of sanctions against Russia and recognize it as a terrorist state. He reiterated his request with NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, asking Britain to find a way to make the “Ukrainian skies safe.”
“Do what you can, what you have to, what the greatness of your country and your people obliges you to,” he added.
He criticized NATO for not delivering what Ukrainians were “looking for.”
“I don’t want to offend anyone, but we felt the alliances are not working, they can’t even close the skies. So there is a need to rebuilt European security from zero,” Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president also used a portion of his remarks to describe how Russia’s invasion has unfolded in the country.
“I would like to tell you about the 13 Days of War. The war that we didn’t start, and we didn’t want it,” he told British lawmakers.
“We do not want to lose what we have what is ours, our country, Ukraine,” Zelensky said, adding “Just the same way as you once didn’t want to lose your country… And you had to fight for Britain.”
The House of Commons gave Zelensky a standing ovation at the end of his address.