Defiant Zelenskyy urges MPs to recognise Russia as a 'terrorist state' in historic address

8 March 2022, 17:18 | Updated: 8 March 2022, 17:39

By Sophie Barnett

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged British MPs to recognise Russia as a "terrorist state" during his historic address in the House of Commons.

Mr Zelenskyy told MPs that his country will "oppose Russia until the end" as the Kremlin's invasion enters its thirteenth day.

He called on MPs to increase sanctions on Russia and thanked Boris Johnson for his country's support.

Mr Zelenskyy spoke via video-link in a historic message to the House of Commons, making him the first world leader to ever address the UK Parliament.

He received a standing ovation from the House ahead of his speech, with the room erupting into a lengthy applause.

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The Ukrainian leader started by saying his country didn't want war with Russia but insisted his people would do everything they could to defend their country, quoting Shakespeare and Winston Churchill to make his point.

He said "we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours, our country Ukraine".

According to the English language translation on Parliament TV, Mr Zelenskyy said: "Mr Speaker, all the Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, I am addressing all the people of the United Kingdom and all the people from the country with a big history.

"I am addressing you as a citizen, as a president, of also a big country, with a dream and big effort.

"I would like to tell you about the 13 days of war, the war that we didn't start and we didn't want. However we have to conduct this war, we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours, our country Ukraine."

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He said his country will fight at sea and in the air, continuing to fight for our land "whatever the cost".

He also pleaded with Boris Johnson to increase the pressure of sanctions against Russia and make sure his Ukrainian skies are safe.

Concluding his speech, Mr Zelenskyy thanked Boris Johnson by name and called on the UK for more support.

"We are looking for your help, for the help of Western countries," he said.

"We are thankful for this help and I am grateful to you Boris.

"Please increase the pressure of sanctions against this country (Russia) and please recognise this country as a terrorist country.

"Please make sure sure that our Ukrainian skies are safe.

"Please make sure that you do what needs to be done and what is stipulated by the greatness of your country.

"Glory to Ukraine and glory to the United Kingdom."

Boris Johnson hailed the Ukrainian leader, telling the House: "Never before in all our centuries of our parliamentary democracy has the House listened to such an address.

"In a great European capital now within range of Russian guns President Volodymyr Zelensky is standing firm for democracy and for freedom."

It comes as Boris Johnson continues his diplomatic offensive to encourage Western leaders to punish Russia for invading the country.

The UK has announced it will be phasing out Russian oil imports, with Joe Biden also banning Russian oil and gas over Putin's "barbaric" invasion of Ukraine.

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