[The President spoke in Ukrainian, interpreted as follows:]
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Speaker, Prime Minister, dear Justin, members of the government, members of Parliament and all distinguished guests and friends, before I begin, I would like you to understand my feelings and the feelings of all Ukrainians, as much as is possible, over the last 20 days of the full-scale aggression by the Russian Federation after eight years of fighting in the Donbass region. Can you imagine that at 4 a.m. each of you started hearing bomb explosions, severe explosions?
Justin, can you imagine you and your children hearing all these severe explosions, the bombing of airports, the bombing of the Ottawa airport, in tens of other cities in your wonderful country? Can you imagine that?
Cruise missiles are falling down on your territory and your children are asking you what is happening. You are receiving the first news as to which infrastructure objects have been bombed and destroyed by the Russian Federation, and you know how many people have already died. Can you only imagine? How can you explain to your children that a full-scale aggression just happened in your country? You know this is a war to annihilate your state, your country. You know that this is a war to subjugate a people.
On the second day you receive notifications that huge columns of military equipment are entering your country. They are crossing the border. They are entering small cities. They are laying siege, encircling cities, and they start to shell civilian neighbourhoods. They bomb school buildings. They destroy kindergarten facilities, like in our city in Sumy, in the city of Okhtyrka. Imagine that someone is laying siege to Vancouver. Can you just imagine that for a second and all of the people who are left in such a city? This is exactly the situation that our city of Mariupol is suffering right now. They are left without heat or hydro, without a means of communicating, almost without food and water. They are seeking shelter in bomb shelters.
Dear Justin and dear guests, can you imagine that every day you receive memorandums about the number of casualties, including women and children? You have heard about the bombings. Currently, we have 97 children who have died during this war. Can you imagine if the famous CN Tower in Toronto was hit by Russian bombs?
Of course, I do not wish that on anyone, but this is the reality in which we live. We have to contemplate and see where the next bombings will take place. You have your Churchill Square. We have our Freedom Square in the city of Kharkiv. We have our Babyn Yar, the place where victims of the Holocaust were buried. These have been bombed by the Russians.
Imagine that Canadian facilities have been bombed similarly to how our buildings and memorial places are being bombed. A number of families have died. Every night is a horrible night. The Russians are shelling us from all kinds of artillery and tanks. They are hitting civilian infrastructure. They are hitting big buildings.
Can you imagine a fire starting at a nuclear power plant? That is exactly what happened in our country. In each city they are marching through, they are taking down the Ukrainian flags. Can you imagine someone taking down your Canadian flags in Montreal and other Canadian cities?
I know that you all support Ukraine, and we have been friends with you, Justin, but I would also like you to understand and I would like you to feel what we feel every day. We want to live and we want to be victorious. We want to prevail for the sake of life.
Can you imagine calling your friends, friendly nations, and asking them to please close the sky, close the airspace, please stop the bombing? You ask them, “How many more cruise missiles have to fall on our cities until you make this happen?” In return, they express their deep concerns about the situation, when you talk to your partners. They say please hold on, hold on a little longer.
Some people are talking about trying to avoid escalation. At the same time, in response to our aspiration to become members of NATO, we do not hear a clear answer. Sometimes we do not see obvious things. It is dire straits, but it also allowed us to see who our real friends are over the last 20 days, as well as the eight previous years.
I am sure that you have been able to see clearly what is going on. I am addressing all of you. Canada has always been steadfast in its support. You have been a reliable partner to Ukraine and Ukrainians, and I am sure this will continue. You offered your help and assistance at our earliest request. You supply us with military assistance and with humanitarian assistance. You have imposed severe sanctions.
At the same time, we see that unfortunately this did not bring an end to the war. You can see that our cities, like Kharkiv, Mariupol and many other cities, are not protected like your cities are protected, like Edmonton and Vancouver. You can see that Kyiv is being shelled and bombed, and Ivano-Frankivsk. It used to be a peaceful country with peaceful cities, but now they are being constantly bombarded.
What I am trying to say is that we all need to do more—you need to do more—to stop Russia to protect Ukraine, and by doing so to protect Europe from Russian threats. They are destroying everything: memorial complexes, schools, hospitals, housing complexes. They have already killed 97 Ukrainian children.
We are not asking for much. We are asking for justice, for real support, which will help us to prevail, to defend, to save lives, to save life all over the world. Canada is leading in these efforts, and I am hoping that other countries will follow suit. We are asking for more of your leadership. Please take a greater part in these efforts, Justin, and all friends of Ukraine, all friends of the truth. Please understand how important it is for us to close our airspace to Russian missiles and Russian aircraft. I hope you can understand. I hope you can increase your efforts and you can increase the sanctions so they will not have a single dollar to fund their war effort. Commercial entities should not be working in Russia.
Probably you know better than many other countries that this attack on Ukraine is nothing less than an attempt to annihilate the Ukrainian people. This is the main objective. It is actually a war against the Ukrainian people. It is an attempt to destroy everything that we, as Ukrainians, do. It is an attempt to destroy our future, to destroy our nation, our character.
You Canadians know all this very well, and that is why I am asking you to please not stop your efforts. Please expand your efforts to bring back peace to our peaceful country. I believe that you can do it and I know that you can do it. We are part of the anti-war coalition, and jointly I am sure that we will achieve results.
To our Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, this is a historical moment, and we need your support, your practical support. We hope that with your practical steps, you will show that you are part of more than Ukrainian history. Please remember that this is a practical, modern-day history of Ukraine. We want to live. We want to have peace.
I am grateful to everyone in the Parliament of Canada who is present and to every Canadian citizen. I am very grateful to you, Justin. I am grateful to the Canadian people, and I am confident that together we will overcome and we will be victorious.
Glory to Ukraine. Thank you to Canada.