Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, addressed members of the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament which is one of the oldest legislatures that exists today, at 14:00 on Friday, May 6th. This was the first time a foreign head of state delivered a speech in the Althingi. The address was broadcasted on national TV and online, with anyone in the Icelandic nation being able to tune in.
Zelensky started his speech in Icelandic, and then switched to Ukrainian. Watch the whole address interpreted into Icelandic here.
President Zelensky emphasized that even though Iceland and Ukraine are located on the different ends of Europe, with very different weather and economic conditions, the two countries do value freedom. Ukraine’s freedom is now at stake. Zelensky said he’s honoured to speak at the Althingi, “the oldelst parliament of the free world”:
“Ukraine is now a victim of Russian aggression. This is a full-scale war. We must fight against the Russian invasion. They want to capture our country and leave us no rights for our independence, culture, natural resources. All against our will.”
Zelensky highlighted that more than 500,000 Ukrainians have been illegally deported to remote regions of Russia with their documents, cellphones, etc. being taken away by Russian soldiers: “500,000. It’s a huge number. It’s more than the population of your wonderful country,” he pointed out.
“The Russian war in Ukraine is not just an attempt to seize a territory of another country, it is an attack on the freedom of free people,” Zelensky continued. “I am grateful to Iceland for what you have done already, in particular, for supporting other countries in sanctions against Russia. I urge you to continue—I urge your government, your diplomats, your people to become advocates for increasing the pressure on Russia.”
Zelensky encouraged Icelandic companies to cut ties with Russia and to stop buying Russian oil. In the end, he emphasized that Icelanders’ experience in the field of energy and especially renewable energy could be very useful when it comes to rebuilding Ukraine after the war is won.
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