While assembling the British parliamentarians, he reached out to Churchill. While speaking at the U.S. Congress, he called for Pearl Harbor. When beamed into the Bundestag, he hinted at the threat of a new Wall in Europe.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has won thunderous applause in parliaments across the West with a series of spirited speeches from wartime Kyiv tailored for every audience.
We reminisce about salient moments in his virtual world tour, ahead of his speech to French and Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday.
‘Prove you with us’
On March 1, less than a week after the war, the lethargic -looking Zelensky spoke in the European Parliament.
The 44-year-old former TV actor framed the fight against Russia as a struggle to defend European ambitions for which Ukrainians carried out two revolutions in the past two decades.
“Prove you are with us,” he told MPs. “Prove you haven’t left us and you’re really a European,” he said, a day after asking for fast EU membership for Ukraine.
‘We will fight on the beach’
On March 8, as the number of Ukrainians fleeing the fighting reached two million, he called for the resistance of wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill in pledging the struggle to an end.
“We will fight in the woods, on the farm, on the beach, on the streets,” he told the UK House of Representatives, echoing Churchill’s historic speech “We will fight on the beach” in the face of Nazi Germany’s progress in June 1940.
‘Please close the sky’
On March 15, when a residential neighborhood in Kyiv was attacked, he asked lawmakers in Canada, the country with the world’s second -largest Ukrainian diaspora, to imagine the city and their children being bombed.
“Please close the skies,” he pleaded with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling for a no -fly zone over Ukraine.
‘Remember Pearl Harbor’
On March 16, he led members of the U.S. Congress to rise with a heartwarming speech comparing the bombing of Ukrainian cities to the attacks on Pearl Harbor that drew the United States into World War II.
As Ukrainians mourned 10 people killed queuing for bread in the city of Chernihiv, Zelensky likened the Russian invasion to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., “when evil tried to turn your city … into a battlefield”.
‘Tear down this wall’
One of his most effective speeches was to lawmakers in German on March 17, when reports emerged that a theater housing hundreds of civilians in Mariupol had collapsed.
Zelensky warned that Russia was building a new “Wall” in Europe between “freedom and slavery” and called on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to tear it down, reiterating U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 appeal to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
‘The ultimate solution’
After reaching the right note with European and U.S. audiences, Zelensky, who is Jewish, drew criticism in Israel after a speech to the Knesset on March 20 comparing Russia’s aggression to the Holocaust.
Urging Israel, which does not join Western sanctions against Russia, to step up efforts for Ukraine, he declared: “Ukraine made the choice to save Jews 80 years ago.”
He was reprimanded by Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, who noted that part of the European Jewish genocide took place in Ukraine.
‘Freeze their yachts’
On March 22, he told lawmakers in Italy, which is a popular holiday destination for wealthy Russians, to stop being a playground for the Russian elite.
“Don’t be a place that welcomes these people,” he urged.
“We must freeze them all: freeze their property, their accounts, their yachts, from Scheherazade to the smallest,” he said referring to the mega yachts anchored off the Tuscan coast.
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