May 18. 2024. 2:35

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Ukraine fights to defend Europe’s ‘way of life’, Zelenskyy tells EU Parliament

Ukraine is fighting Russia’s invasion to preserve the ‘European way of life’, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the European Parliament in his first in-person address to the chamber on Thursday morning (9 February).

Russia wants to destroy Europe’s ‘way of life’ in its war against Ukraine, but “we will not allow that,” Zelenskyy said told the European Parliament, speaking to hundreds of EU lawmakers and top EU officials.

“This is our Europe, these are our rules, this is our way of life, and for Ukraine, it’s a way home, a way to home,” Zelenskyy said.

“I’m here in order to defend our people’s way home,” he said.

Ukraine’s President paused his speech and clapped for Europeans who supported Ukraine in “this historic battle” against Russia, with many MEPs responding with standing ovations.

Zelenskyy repeatedly thanked European citizens for their support for Ukraine over the last year.

“This applause is not directed to me and at me,” he said. “I’d like to thank all of you, in hundreds of towns and villages (…) who supported Ukraine in this historic battle,” he said.

Zelenskyy’s speech was largely themed around Ukraine’s hopes for future bloc membership, with both Ukraine and the EU being interlinked, sharing both values and history.

“Ukraine is going to be a member of the EU,” Zelenskyy concluded.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola greeted Zelenskyy in a full chamber to the tune of the Ukrainian and European anthems being played, twice.

The last time the former had sounded in the house was during the signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in the chamber seven years ago.

Speaking before Zelenskyy, Metsola urged that EU member states “must consider” providing the long-range missile systems and jets that Ukraine has asked for and needs to protect the “liberty too many have taken for granted”.

“Ukraine is Europe and your nation’s future is in the European Union – you will win,” Metsola told Zelenksyy.