Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a landmark speech to the Oireachtas this morning, praising Ireland’s response to the war and calling for “more leadership” on sanctions against Russia.
he Dáil chamber was filled with TDs, senators and Ukrainian refugees, as well as dozens of specially invited ambassadors to attend.
Here are some of the key points from today’s speech:
President Zelensky did not specifically plead for additional Irish military support or arms, acknowledging Ireland’s position as a neutral country.
However, he acknowledged that Ireland did not remain neutral in the war and said that it had begun “to do this in the right way” to support it Ukraine.
“Ladies and gentlemen of Ireland, from the very first days you support good, you support Ukraine,” he said.
“You started it right away.
“Although you are a neutral country, you have not remained neutral to the disaster and mishaps that Russia has brought to Ukraine.”
Calls for “more leadership”
President Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked other countries for more weapons and military support in the fight against Russia.
Because of its position of neutrality, Ireland was one of the few countries that did not send weapons, but sent humanitarian aid in an EU package.
In a previous speech at a European Council meeting, President Zelenskyy thanked the EU for its support – but said it was “also a bit late”. He urged the Council “not to be late” as it “prepares Ukraine’s membership of the European Union”.
This morning President Zelenskyy called on Ireland for “more leadership” in supporting tougher EU sanctions.
“I would like to ask you to show more leadership in our anti-war coalition, I would like to ask you to convince the EU partners to introduce even tougher sanctions against Russia that would really ensure that the Russian war machine stops,” he said.
horror of war
The Ukrainian President exposed the atrocities faced by Ukrainian citizens, notably reporting “corpses lying on the streets” due to “24/7 bombing” by Russian forces.
He also said that the dead were “simply buried in the yard” and that “not a single house remained intact in Mariupol.”
Mr. Zelensky said that in Mariupol, citizens make maps of how to find the dead and where they are buried.
Russia uses “hunger as a weapon”.
The president accused Russia of using “hunger as a weapon” against the Ukrainian people and said all ports are blocked, meaning very little food, water or medical supplies can be brought in.
“They also blocked all our seaports, along with the ships that already had agricultural cargo for export.
“Why do they do that? Because for them hunger is a weapon against us ordinary people, as an instrument of domination.”
He said while it was snowing a few weeks ago, people were able to melt snow to gain water, but the warmer weather has meant water supplies have become scarce.
reconstruction of Ukraine
President Zelenskyy, however, looked to the future and spoke of the need to “restore” Ukraine after the end of the war.
He called on Ukraine and Ireland to “join their efforts to show that Ukraine and Ireland can do much more than the world’s largest country is trying to destroy.”
Mr Zelensky said there was a “mutual respect” between the two countries and that it was only a “matter of time” before Ukraine started living in a “common European home”.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also said he supports the Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund for the post-war “reconstruction” of the country.
https://www.independent.ie/news/five-things-we-learned-from-ukrainian-president-zelenksys-address-to-oireachtas-41526694.html Five things we learned from Ukraine’s President Zelenksy’s address to Oireachtas