Volodymyr Zelenskyy – 2022 Statement to the German Bundestag

The statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, to the German Bundestag on 17 March 2022.

Dear President Göring-Eckardt.

Dear Mr. Scholz.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, deputies, guests, journalists.

German people!

I am addressing you after three weeks of full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, after eight years of war in the east of my country, in Donbas.

I appeal to you when Russia is bombing our cities, destroying everything in Ukraine. Everything – houses, hospitals, schools, churches. Using missiles, air bombs, rocket artillery.

Thousands of Ukrainians died in three weeks. The occupiers killed 108 children. In the middle of Europe, in our country, in 2022.

I am addressing you after numerous meetings, negotiations, statements and requests. After steps in support, some of which are overdue. After sanctions, which are obviously not enough to stop this war. And after we saw how many ties your companies still have with Russia. With a state that just uses you and some other countries to finance the war.

During the three weeks of war for our lives, for our freedom, we became convinced of what we had felt before. And what you probably do not all notice yet.

You are like behind the wall again. Not the Berlin Wall. But in the middle of Europe. Between freedom and slavery. And this wall grows stronger with each bomb that falls on our land, on Ukraine. With every decision that is not made for the sake of peace. Not approved by you, although it may help.

When did it happen?

Dear politicians.

Dear German people.

Why is this possible? When we told you that Nord Stream was a weapon and a preparation for a great war, we heard in response that it was an economy after all. Economy. Economy. But it was cement for a new wall.

When we asked you what Ukraine needs to do to become a member of NATO, to be safe, to receive security guarantees, we heard the answer: such a decision is not on the table yet and will not be in the near future. Just as the chair for us at this table. Just as you are still delaying the issue of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. Frankly, for some it is politics. The truth is that it is stones. Stones for a new wall.

When we asked for preventive sanctions, we appealed to Europe, we appealed to many countries. We turned to you. Sanctions for the aggressor to feel that you are a force. We saw delays. We felt resistance. We understood that you want to continue the economy. Economy. Economy.

And now the trade routes between you and the country that has once again brought a brutal war to Europe are barbed wire over the wall. Over the new wall that divides Europe.

And you don’t see what’s behind this wall, and it’s between us, between people in Europe. And because of this, not everyone is fully aware of what we are going through today.

I am addressing you on behalf of Ukrainians, I am addressing you on behalf of Mariupol residents – civilians of a city that Russian troops have blocked and razed to the ground. They just destroy everything there. Everything and everyone who is there. Hundreds of thousands of people are under shelling around the clock. No food, 24 hours a day without water, no electricity, 24 hours a day without communication. For weeks.

Russian troops do not distinguish between civilians and military. They don’t care where civilian objects are, everything is considered a target.

A theater that was a shelter for hundreds of people and was blown up yesterday, a maternity hospital, a children’s hospital, residential areas without any military facilities – they are destroying everything. Round the clock. And they do not let any humanitarian cargo into our blocked city. For five days, Russian troops have not stopped the shelling specifically to prevent the rescue of our people.

You can see it all. If you climb over this Wall.

If you remember what the Berlin Airlift meant to you. Which could be realized because the sky was safe. You were not killed from the sky as now in our country, when we cannot even make an airlift! When the sky gives only Russian missiles and air bombs.

I am addressing you on behalf of older Ukrainians. Many survivors of World War II. Those who escaped during the occupation 80 years ago. Those who survived Babyn Yar.

Babyn Yar that President Steinmeier visited last year. On the 80th anniversary of the tragedy. And that was hit by Russian missiles now. It is exactly this place that was hit. And the missile strike killed the family that went to Babyn Yar, to the monument. Killed again, 80 years after.

I appeal to you on behalf of everyone who has heard politicians say: “Never again.” And who saw that these words are worthless. Because again in Europe they are trying to destroy the whole nation. Destroy everything we live by and live for.

I am addressing you on behalf of our military. Those who defend our state, and therefore the values that are often talked about everywhere in Europe, everywhere – and in Germany as well.

Freedom and equality. Opportunity to live freely, not to submit to another state, which considers a foreign land its “living space”. Why are they defending all this without your leadership? Without your strength? Why are overseas states closer to us than you are?

Because this is the Wall. The wall that someone doesn’t notice and that we are hammering on while fighting to save our people.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

German people!

I am grateful to everyone who supports us. I am grateful to you. Ordinary Germans who sincerely help Ukrainians on your land. To journalists who do their job honestly, showing all the evil that Russia has brought to us. I am grateful to the German businessmen who put morality and humanity above accounting. Above the economy. Economy. Economy. And I am grateful to the politicians who are still trying… Trying to break this Wall. Who choose life between Russian money and the deaths of Ukrainian children. Who support the strengthening of sanctions against Russia that can guarantee peace. Peace to Ukraine. Peace to Europe. Who do not hesitate to disconnect Russia from SWIFT.

Who know that an embargo on trade with Russia is needed. On imports of everything that sponsors this war. Who know that Ukraine will be in the European Union. Because Ukraine is already more Europe than many others.

I am grateful to everyone who is taller than any wall. And who knows that the stronger one bears more responsibility when it comes to saving people.

It is difficult for us to endure without the help of the world, without your help. It is difficult to defend Ukraine, Europe without what you can do. So that you don’t look over your shoulder even after this war. After the destruction of Kharkiv… For the second time in 80 years. After the bombing of Chernihiv, Sumy and Donbas. For the second time in 80 years. After thousands of people tortured and killed. For the second time in 80 years. Otherwise, what is the historical responsibility to the Ukrainian people still not redeemed for what happened 80 years ago?

And now – so that a new one does not appear, behind the new Wall, which will again demand redemption.

I appeal to you and remind you of what is needed. The things without which Europe will not survive and will not preserve its values.

Former actor, President of the United States Ronald Reagan once said in Berlin: Tear down this wall!

And I want to tell you now.

Chancellor Scholz! Tear down this wall.

Give Germany the leadership you deserve. And what your descendants will be proud of.

Support us.

Support peace.

Support every Ukrainian.

Stop the war.

Help us stop it.

Glory to Ukraine!