President Zelenskyy’s address at special plenary session of the Riigikogu

January 11,2024 456
President Zelenskyy’s address at special plenary session of the Riigikogu

“We must win this battle, as it determines the global attitude toward freedom,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the speech at a special plenary session of the Riigikogu, the unicameral parliament of Estonia.

Mr. Speaker!

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the Parliament! 

Mr. President! 

Madam Prime Minister! 

Members of the Government!

Thank you for the cordial reception and for your unwavering attention to Ukraine.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Dear Estonian people!

I am pleased to have the opportunity to thank you personally today for being on the side of freedom. And not just on the side of Ukraine’s freedom.

It is very symbolic, from the perspective of both Estonian and Ukrainian history, how the day of February 24 is now filled with meanings. It is on this day that Estonia celebrates and will always celebrate the restoration of its state independence. And it was on February 24 that the current rulers of Russia attempted to restore their old empire, whether Soviet or Russian, or some hybrid empire. Attempted – by attacking Ukraine. We did not falter on February 24. All of us. Our people. Our friends. The entire free world.

Ukraine decided then that we would fight. Kaitsetahe. The free nations of the world backed us up. Some did it immediately, like Estonia, and I am grateful to you for that, others joined in later, and we appreciate that too. Now, the majority of the world is one way or another on the side of Ukraine, international law, and against Russian genocidal aggression.

February 24 could have changed the history of our Ukrainian nation, our region, and our entire Europe into a new enslavement. But history took a turn toward far greater freedom than we all had, toward far greater independence than we could have expected at the time, toward far greater European strength than anyone could have predicted. It happened due to courage. Due to solidarity. Due to the choice in favor of freedom – our common choice.

And I thank you, Estonia, I thank every single one of you personally for making that choice. The choice in favor of freedom.

We must win the battle that is now underway. We must win it not only because it is a battle for our lives – the lives of the Ukrainian people, our cities, our communities, which Russia is turning into ruins. We must win this battle not only because it decides the fate of our state and all the countries and nations that have to border Russia. This battle determines the global attitude toward freedom now, after us, and after our children and grandchildren.

Freedom must be able to prevail in confrontations unleashed by tyranny. That is why this war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine matters not only for us and not only for our continent, but for all nations that value their freedom or dream of becoming free. Tyranny must lose. Tyranny must be the loser. Always. Always. This is what we must leave as our main political legacy – we, all the states that value independence, all the nations that do not want their children to be the property of dictators, all the leaders who want to be on the bright side of history. And that is why everyone is important in this battle. Not only those with extensive military experience or large arsenals. Not only those who are among the world’s top leaders in terms of various indicators of their power. Every nation is important. Every brave soul, every sincere heart, every bright mind is important. Everyone who can mobilize their humanity. Not because it yields immediate benefits, but because it’s the right thing to do. It is right when freedom and humanity prevail. They must prevail!

Full text of the address: Office of the President of Ukraine

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