Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the US Congress on March 16. Below is a translated transcript of his speech, primarily delivered in Ukrainian, and taken from the C-Span network.
Thank you very much, madam speaker, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen.
Americans, friends. I am proud to greet you from Ukraine, from our capital city of Kyiv, the city under missile and airstrikes from Russians every day.
It does not give up. We have not even thought about it for a second. Just like many other cities and communities in our beautiful country which found themselves in the worst war since World War II. I have been honored to greet you on behalf of the Ukrainian people and freedom-loving people who for years have been resisting Russian aggression. Those who give their best sons and daughters to stop this full-scale Russian invasion.
Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy. Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, our cities. It went on a brutal offensive against our values. Basic human values. Against our freedom, our right to live freely, choosing our own future. Against our desire for happiness, against our national dreams.
Just like the same things you have, you Americans. Just like anyone else in the United States. I remember the national memorial Mount Rushmore. the faces of your prominent presidents, those who laid the foundation of the United States of America. Democracy, independence, freedom.
For every person who works diligently, who lives honestly, who respects the law, we in Ukraine want the same for our people. All that is a normal part of your own life.
Ladies and gentlemen, Americans, in your great history you would understand Ukrainians. Understand us now. We need you right now.
Remember Pearl Harbor. The morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Remember. Remember September 11. A terrible day in 2001 when people tried to turn your cities into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked attacked from the air. No one expected it. You couldn’t stop it.
Our country experiences the same every day. Right now, this moment, every night for three weeks, in various Ukrainian cities, Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people. Russian troops have fired 1000 missiles at Ukraine. They use drones to kill us with precision.
This is a terror Europe has not seen for 80 years and we are asking for an answer to this terror from the world. Is that a lot to ask? To create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people. Is this too much to ask? A no-fly zone. Russia would not be able to terrorize our cities.
If this is too much to ask, we offer an alternative. You know what kind of defense systems we need. You know how much depends on the ability to use aircraft to protect our people, our freedom. aircraft that can help Ukraine, help Europe. We know they exist and you have them. They are not in Ukrainian skies.
I have a dream. I have a need. I need to protect our skies. I need your help, which means the same you feel when you hear the words I have a dream. Ladies and gentlemen, friends. Ukraine is grateful to the United States for its overwhelming support. Everything your government and your people have done for us, for weapons and training, for leadership to pressure the aggressor economically.
I am grateful to president Biden for his sincere commitment to the defense of Ukraine and democracy all over the world. I am grateful to you for the resolution which recognizes all of those who commit crimes against Ukraine as war criminals. In the darkest times for our country I call on you to do more.
New sanctions are needed constantly every week until the Russian military machine stops. Restrictions are needed for everyone on whom this unjust regime is based: all politicians in the Russian Federation who remain in their offices and do not cut ties with those who are responsible for the aggression against Ukraine from the state duma members upwards.
All American companies must leave Russia from their market immediately because it is flooded with our blood. Ladies and gentlemen, members of Congress. If you have companies in your district who financed the Russian military machine, you should put pressure. I am asking to make sure the Russians do not receive a single penny they used to destroy people in Ukraine, the destruction of our country, the destruction of Europe. All American ports should be closed for Russian goods. Peace is more important than income, and we have to defend this principle in the whole world.
We have to defend the world. We already became part of the antiwar coalition, the big antiwar coalition that unites many countries, dozens of countries, those who reacted to president Putin’s decision to invade our country. We need to move on and do more. We need to create more tools to respond quickly and stop the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. It would be fair if it ended in 24 hours, that people would be punished, that evil would be punished.
Today the people do not have such tools. Institutions should protect us from war but they unfortunately do not work. We need new alliances and we offer them. We propose to create an association, united for peace, a union of responsible countries to stop conflict immediately, provide all the necessary assistance in 24 hours, weapons if necessary, sanctions if necessary, humanitarian support, finances, everything you need to keep the peace and quickly to save the world, to save life.
Such associations would provide assistance to those who are experiencing natural disasters, who fell victim to humanitarian crisis or epidemics. Remember how difficult it was for the world to do the simplest things just to get a vaccine against covid to save lives, to prevent new strains. The world spent months, years doing things like that much faster to make sure there are no victims.
Ladies and gentlemen, if such an alliance would exist today we would be able to save thousands of lives in our country, in many countries around the world, those who need peace, those who suffer inhumane destruction. I ask you to watch one video. a video of what the Russian troops did in our country, in our land. We have to destroy every single aggressor who seeks to subjugate other nations. Please watch the video.
The rest is spoken in English:
In the end, to be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Peace in your country does not depend only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you, on those who are strong. Strong does not mean weak. Strong is brave and ready to fight for his citizens as citizens of the world. For human rights. For freedom. The right to live decently and die when your time comes and not when decided by somebody else.
Today the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine. We are fighting for Europe and the world and our lives in the name of the future. That is why today the American people are helping not just Ukraine, but Europe and the world to keep the planet alive. To keep justice in history.
I am almost 45 years old. Today my age stopped when the hearts of more than 100 children stopped beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths. This is my mission as a leader of my people. and as a leader of my nation.
I’m addressing president Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Thank you. Glory to Ukraine.