Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged British MPs to designate Russia as a “terrorist state” after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered what he calls ‘a special military operation’ against his nation and called for tougher sanctions on Moscow to “make sure our skies are safe”.
The 44-year-old Ukrainian leader, who made a “historic” address to the House of Commons via videolink on Tuesday, received a standing ovation by members of Parliament, news agency PTI reported.
“We are looking for your help, for the help of Western counties. We are thankful for this help and I am grateful to you, Boris,” said Zelenskyy, addressing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Please increase the pressure of sanctions against this country (Russia) and please recognise this country as a terrorist state. Please make sure that our Ukrainian skies are safe. Please make sure that you do what needs to be done and what is stipulated by the greatness of your country. Glory to Ukraine and glory to the United Kingdom,” he said.
In an emotional address, Zelenskyy invoked Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s words, promising to fight Russian troops in the air, sea and on the streets.
“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…we will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets,” the report quoted him as saying.
In his address, Zelensky gave a day-by-day account of the attack by Russia, which began a fortnight ago.
He described how it was a war Ukraine “didn’t start and we didn’t want”, but his country now had to fight.
“We do not want to lose what we have, what is ours… just the same way as you once didn’t want to lose your country when the Nazis started to fight your country and you had to fight for Britain,” he added.
And quoting Shakespeare, he said the question for Ukraine is “to be, or not to be… it’s definitely yes, to be”.
He concluded his speech by saying: “Do what you can, do what you must, because greatness obliges greatness, of your state and your people.