Ukraine first lady Olena Zelenska echoes Winston Churchill and calls for 'justice' in UK Parliament speech

29 November 2022, 16:48 | Updated: 29 November 2022, 17:13

The first lady of Ukraine addressed MPs and peers today.
The first lady of Ukraine addressed MPs and peers today. Picture: UK Parliament / Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska has pleaded for “justice” for her country as she addressed MPs and peers at Westminster today.

Ms Zelenska was given a standing ovation as she arrived to deliver the speech in a parliamentary committee room.

Speaking through a translator, she referenced British war-time PM Winston Churchill and his famous 'we shall fight them on the beaches' speech.

She said: “Ukrainians are going through the terror, which will resonate with you.

“Your islands survived the air raids, which were identical to those that Russia uses now to put us on our knees.

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“We’re hearing sirens every day identical to those which were heard by earlier British generations. You did not surrender and we will not surrender.

“But victory is not the only thing we need. We need justice.”

Ex-PM Boris Johnson was among the attendees for the event, which saw Ms Zelenska welcomed by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, with Union and Ukrainian flags on display.

She showed politicians photographs of an attack by Russian forces on a Vilniansk maternity hospital in the Zaporizhia region, an image showing the impact that blackouts had had on the her people, as well as a burnt-out Kherson apartment block.

“Have a look at what it means,” she said.

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska visiting Downing Street yesterday
Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska visiting Downing Street yesterday. Picture: Getty

MPs and peers gathered early for her the arrival of Ms Zelenska, whose husband is inspirational Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

She in Downing Street on Monday as part of a visit to London.

Sir Keir Starmer and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey were also present, as well as Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and various MPs from across the political spectrum.

Sir Lindsay introduced Ms Zelenska by parliamentarians have a duty to “keep the world awake” to the horrors of Russia’s invasion, and praised the first lady's “bravery”.

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