Speaking to the British House of Commons on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said by video, “We will fight to the end,” echoing former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous war speech.
“We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight to the end at sea, in the air. We will continue to fight for our country, no matter what the cost,” he said in his comments, which were translated by an interpreter.
Paraphrasing a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Ukrainian leader said: “To be or not to be” and added: “Thirteen days ago this question could have been asked about Ukraine, but absolutely not now. It’s obvious we will be. It’s obvious we’ll be free.
Zelenskyy also expressed his gratitude to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and called on Parliament to “tighten sanctions” against Russia and recognize it “as a terrorist state”. He reiterated his call for NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine and urged Britain to find a way to make “Ukrainian skies safe”.
“Do what you can, what you must, what the greatness of your country and your people obliges you to do,” he added.
He criticized NATO for not delivering what the Ukrainians were “looking for”.
“I don’t want to offend anyone, but we felt that the alliances don’t work, they can’t even close the skies. So there is a need to build European security from scratch,” said Zelenskyy.
The Ukrainian President also used part of his remarks to describe how the Russian invasion of the country unfolded.
“I want to tell you about the 13 days of the war. The war we didn’t start and didn’t want,” he told British lawmakers.
“We don’t want to lose what we have, what’s ours, our country, Ukraine,” said Zelenskyy, adding, “Just like you once didn’t want to lose your country… And you had to fight for Britain.”
The lower house gave Zelenskyj a standing ovation at the end of his speech.