Ukraine’s Zelenskyy gives historic and inspiring speech at U.S. Capitol

22 December 2022, 01:08 PM
Zelenskyy was given a standing ovation (Photo:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Zelenskyy was given a standing ovation (Photo:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a historic and inspiring speech at the U.S. Capitol building on Dec. 21 during a visit to the United States – his first foreign visit since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb.24.

Here are some of the most resonant excerpts from his address to Congress:

“And it gives me good reason to share with you our first joint victory – we defeated Russia in the battle for minds of the world. We have no fear. Nor should anyone in the world have it. Ukrainians gained this victory – and it gives us courage, which inspires the entire world."

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“Americans gained this victory – and that’s why you have succeeded in uniting the global community to protect freedom and international law. Europeans gained this victory – and that’s why Europe is now stronger and more independent than ever.”

“Yet, the battle continues! And we have to defeat the Kremlin on the battlefield. This battle is not only for the territory – for this or another part of Europe. This battle is not only for life, freedom and security of Ukrainians or any other nation, which Russia attempts to conquer. This struggle will define – in what world our children and grandchildren will live and then – their children and grandchildren.”

“It cannot be ignored hoping that the ocean or something else will provide a protection. From the United States to China, from Europe to Latin America, and from Africa to Australia – the world is too interconnected and interdependent to allow someone to stay aside – and at the same time – to feel safe when such a battle continues.”

The next year of the war will be a turning point in the conflict, Ukraine’s president stated.

“The point when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom. The freedom of people, who stand for their values.”

Zelenskyy reiterated the Russian military and mercenaries have been attacking the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, non-stop since May.

“But the Ukrainian Donbas stands,” he said.

“Russians use everything they have against Bakhmut and our other beautiful cities. The invaders have a significant advantage in artillery. They have an advantage in ammunition. They have much more missiles and planes than we ever had. But our Defense Forces stand. And we all are proud of them.”

The Ukrainian leader emphasized that “Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender!”

“And your support is crucial – not just to stand in such fights, but to get to the turning point.”

“To win on the battlefield. We have artillery. Yes. Thank you. Is it enough? Honestly, not really. To ensure Bakhmut is not just a stronghold that holds back the Russian army – but for the Russian army to completely pull out – more cannons and shells are needed. If so, just like the battle of Saratoga, the fight for Bakhmut will change the trajectory of our war for independence and freedom.”

Zelenskyy also mentioned the use of Iranian drones by the Russian army.

“Iranian deadly drones, sent to Russia in hundreds, became a threat to our critical infrastructure.”

“That is how one terrorist has found the other. It is just a matter of time – when they will strike against your other allies if we do not stop them now. We must do it!”

However, the Ukrainian president stressed that no U.S. troops would be involved in operations in Ukraine, though financial and military aid remain critical.

“I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes themselves.”

“Financial assistance is also critically important. And I would like to thank you for both, financial packages you have already provided us with, and the ones you may be willing to decide on. Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”

Zelenskyy also reminded his audience of the challenges facing Ukraine’s power grid after constant Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

“In two days, we will celebrate Christmas.”

“Maybe, candlelit. Not because it is more romantic. But because there will be no electricity. Millions won’t have neither heating nor running water. All of this will be the result of Russian missile and drone attacks on our energy infrastructure. But we do not complain. We do not judge and compare whose life is easier.”

“We, Ukrainians, will also go through our war of independence and freedom with dignity and success. We’ll celebrate Christmas – and even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith in ourselves will not be put out.If Russian missiles attack us – we’ll do our best to protect ourselves. If they attack us with Iranian drones and our people will have to go to bomb shelters on Christmas eve – Ukrainians will still sit down at a holiday table and cheer up each other. And we don’t have to know everyone’s wish as we know that all of us, millions of Ukrainians, wish the same – victory. Only victory.”

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The White House has confirmed that Ukraine will receive Patriot air defense systems as part of an upcoming $1.85 billion security assistance package. The United States has also committed to extending an additional$13 billion in economic assistance to the Ukrainian government.

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