The Congress has received Volodímir Zelenski with applause and with parliamentarians and members of the Government standing. Just as they fired him after his speech in which he thanked the support that Ukraine is receiving from Spain, among which he has cited weapons, the shipment of which opened a gap within the coalition. As he does in his speeches before international parliaments, the Ukrainian president has made a simile of the war declared by Vladimir Putin when referring to the bombing of Gernika, who has recalled that it was when “the whole world” found out about the Spanish civil war. “We are in April 2022, but it looks like April 1937”, he has told the House.
Zelensky has transferred the horror of war to the hemicycle by referring to mothers who write on the backs of their children the names and contacts of some people close to them in case they are assassinated. “Imagine that in normal cities, where more than 100,000 people live without water, without food, or medicine,” Zelensky said about the terrible situation that some places in Ukraine have been going through since February 24, when the Russian invasion began. “The dead people are being buried in the courtyards where they lived, the children are hiding,” said the Ukrainian president, for whom the worst thing is not knowing “how long the war can last.” That is why he has asked that “the world do everything for peace”. “They are war crimes,” he has said about massacres like Bucha’s.
“Russia does not seek peace,” said Zelensky, who recalled that Ukraine’s defense of the Russian attack dates back to 2014 with the occupation of Crimea and after Donbas until the “large-scale attack” that has lasted 41 days. What Putin is looking for, in his opinion, is that there be no democracy in Ukraine. “What is normal for us, what Russia wants is for it to be dominated by a regime,” he warned: “It wants to do it throughout the region, throughout Europe.”
The challenge facing Putin, the Ukrainian president has pointed out, is the maintenance of peace on the continent and for this he has asked that the sanctions against Russia be “more forceful”. For that he has asked for the support of the Spanish Parliament. “How can we allow Russian banks to make profits while they are torturing civilians? How can European companies have trade with the country that is destroying ours?”, he has asked. The Ukrainian president has called for more courage from the European Union and for him not to be afraid of Russia: “It must be strong”.
In the case of Spain, he thanked society for its support and directly addressed some Spanish companies, such as Porcelanosa or Maxam, to stop doing business with Russia. He has also referred to the purchase of Russian oil. In the EU there is a debate about it. The Spanish government is in favor of cutting income to Russia as much as possible, but wants the measure to be unitary and recognizes that other countries, such as Germany, have a greater dependency that complicates the rupture.
“Glory to Ukraine”, has finished his speech before claiming Ukraine’s right to join the European Union. Pedro Sánchez has later taken that glove and has guaranteed its support: “Ukraine will be able to count on the support of Spain in this path of transformation, of adaptation, because Ukraine is part of the European family and I have no doubt what the result will be of that process.” “His country, President Zelensky, has expressed its clear Europeanist vocation, exercising its right to choose its own destiny and Spain will support them in that purpose”, he added: “Ukraine’s hope is in Europe. But I must also tell you, President Zelenskiy, that the hope of Europe is today deposited in Ukraine”.
Sánchez: “The hope of Europe is deposited in Ukraine”
He has also taken advantage of the allusion to the civil war made by the Ukrainian president. “We never thought we would see horrifying images of bombings and carnage on European soil again. They are war crimes that cannot go unpunished”, he stated. “The history of Spain is full of difficult moments. You have referred to some of them where freedom was endangered or even liquidated for many decades. But the determination of the Spaniards and Spaniards always managed to restore that democracy and that freedom. Spain, the European Union and many other countries in the international community, I would say that the vast majority of the international community, support Ukraine and we will continue to do so”.
Sánchez has guaranteed that Spain will maintain the support it has provided to the Ukrainian government so far, including sending military equipment so that “it can exercise its right to legitimate defense” and especially in the reception of refugees. “We are facing a frontal attack on the principles and values of democracy, freedom, equality, political pluralism. It is an attack on reason itself, on our way of life and on international law that has cost so much to build”, said Sánchez, for whom Zelenski, his government and the people of Ukraine are an “example of dignity and also of resistance against to the brutal aggression of the Putin government”. But allow me to send a message of encouragement to the Ukrainian people and to tell them that Putin is not going to achieve his purpose“, The president has settled, who has received the applause of Congress, with the exception of Vox and without much enthusiasm from the PP.
It has been one of those great occasions in Congress in which access to journalists is limited and velvet chairs reserved for special moments are placed, and also so that all parliamentarians can fit, both deputies and senators. The stands were also this time full of journalists and guests -among them the Ukrainian ambassador, displaced citizens of that country, and diplomats from EU and NATO countries- to listen to the Ukrainian president in the framework of the videoconferences he holds with the international parliaments to claim support against the aggression of Vladimir Putin. The appointment with the Congress of Deputies has, in fact, had to be delayed an hour because the UN Security Council summoned him urgently on the occasion of the Bucha massacre.
“The European project arose as a response to the destruction of a war; and in the face of this war, Putin’s war, our Union is and must continue to be ever closer to defend peace, to isolate and punish the aggressor and to provide all the necessary help to the Ukrainian people. Today we must be more united than ever in the face of barbarism and in the defense of democracy”, the president of Congress, Meritxell Batet, said in the presentation, who has transferred to Zelenski the “unanimous” support of the Spanish people. “We feel Ukrainian,” she told him before giving him the floor.
Video with the full speech of Volodymyr Zelensky in Congress