Published On: Tue, Nov 29th, 2022

Olena Zelenska vows Ukraine ‘will not surrender’ in passionate speech to MPs | Politics | News

Olena Zelenska today vowed that Ukraine “will not surrender” as she addressed Parliament in London. Ukraine’s First Lady gave a speech to MPs and peers through a translator in a packed committee room draped with the Union and Ukrainian flags.

House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle introduced the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by saying it was parliamentarians’ duty to “keep the world awake” to the horrors of Russia’s invasion as he praised her “bravery”.

Mrs Zelenska said: “Ukrainians are going through the terror, which will resonate with you.

“Your islands survived the air raids, which were identical to those that Russia uses now to put us on our knees.

“We’re hearing sirens every day identical to those which were heard by earlier British generations. You did not surrender and we will not surrender.

“But victory is not the only thing we need. We need justice.”

Mrs Zelenska urged the UK to be a “leader” in Ukraine’s bid for justice, asking MPs and peers to support the call for a special tribunal.

She argued that the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have the legal force to punish Moscow for its invasion.

She said: “We need to start the special tribunal against the crime of aggression of Russia against Ukraine, which will enhance the work of the ICC and not weaken it.

“We need to unite the world community just as it happened in January 1942 to support the special tribunal against the aggression of Russia against Ukraine.

“I’m asking you a small favour to become the world leader in the justice efforts.

“I believe that London can give this decisive impetus so that the world can become better, fairer, thanks to you.”

Ukraine’s First Lady ended her address by thanking the UK for its support so far in the war against Russia.

She received a lengthy standing ovation as she concluded her speech to MPs and peers.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson, who is widely viewed as a hero in Kyiv and struck up a close friendship with Mr Zelensky during his premiership, was among those attending.

Sir Keir Starmer, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and Commons leader Penny Mordaunt were also present, along with a host of MPs from across all parties.

It comes as Mrs Zelenska is currently on a visit to London.

Earlier on Tuesday, she visited Buckingham Palace for a reception with the Queen Consort.

And she met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty at Downing Street on Monday.

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