March 24, 2023


President Metsola addressed the Verkhovna Rada and reiterated support for Ukraine’s European Path, to hold war criminals accountable and to rebuild cities once the war is over.

“I am grateful for the invitation to Kyiv to address Rada. It is an honor to be amongst you European parliamentarians. It is more than an honour to be here among you European parliamentarians. It is a responsibility that I must fulfill. It is your responsibility on the frontline. To demonstrate to the world that even in war’s darkest hours, parliamentary democracy can still be a beacon of hope.

As a representative of Europe’s people, I am present today to say one thing. We are here for you. We are there for you, in good and bad times.

These images, which we saw around the globe in these terrible months, were of destruction, death, and women and children being forced to leave their homes, their families, their lives.

Europe and the rest of the world have seen the courage and defiance displayed by Ukrainian families. The heroics of Snake Island are well-known around the world. Mariupol’s proud warriors will inspire generations.

We will soon see that hope triumphs over fear, I am certain. You show the world that terror does not intimidate, and that bombs won’t destroy pride or destroy dignity.

The EU and the rest of the world have seen that you are the defenders your country. You aren’t fighting to defend your home and your territory. It is for the values we all hold dear that you are fighting. Freedom. Democracy. The rule of law. These values are not just buzzwords in Ukraine. They are actively fought for because they are essential.

The European Union was established to link the destiny of European nation states so they could not engage in conflict that would have led to two world wars in less than 30 years. The European Union is a project to promote peace. It is also a project for freedom.

Let me also say, Ukraine is Europe.

These are difficult and sad times. Many Ukrainians have lost loved ones, friends, and relatives. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Believe me when I say that the European Parliament and the European Union stand with Ukraine .

Words can be inspirational. Sometimes, words can change the world. The world needs to take action. The world needs compassion, too. That is why I’m here to send the message of hope and support that Ukraine will not be abandoned. We will never let our guard down.

Mariupol is not a place I’ve ever visited but it is the name I will always remember. It is a crime that will be remembered forever: the shelling of a maternity unit and the murder of children. This act of inhumanity sums up the nature and threat you have taken on. We will never forget what happened there. Ever.

Let me now make three promises.

First, Russia’s invasion of your country places it in direct conflict with Europe, the international community, and the rules-based global order. We will not allow Putin to do this unchallenged. We need to impose more and tougher sanctions. We will hold those responsible for the violations here accountable.

Second, the European Union recognizes Ukraine’s European ambitions. And I stand before you all to say that you can trust me and the European Parliament in supporting Ukraine in this pursuit. We are aware of the blood that was shed to get us here. We won’t let you down.

We know that Ukraine is looking to the European Union for its destination. We will be honest and hopeful. Each country has its own way, but Ukraine’s future in the European Union should not be in doubt.

We will also take care of your family members who have been forced to flee until they are able to return home and rebuild their lives. We will also help you rebuild your towns and cities after this illegal, unprovoked, and unjustified invasion is finished. Already, we have provided financial, military, and humanitarian assistance. This will continue, and it will grow. To help rebuild, we will establish the Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund. Because the attack on your homeland changed everything.

This invasion was not your intention. Nor did you provoke it. You didn’t seek confrontation. You didn’t seek confrontation.

My call to the Europe Union is for it to respond with the same enthusiasm. This must be our whatever it-takes moment.

The world’s rules-based order is strong. Putin underestimated not only your country’s courage and resistance, but also the strength of the democratic system. Our debates were misunderstood by Putin as weakness. He has also paid a tremendous price. We must not let our sanctions go unchecked.

Millions of people from your country have fled their country. Many more people are internally displaced, and they are expected to migrate to other European countries. We need to be prepared, but we must also be willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that those who arrive at our borders have a safe and secure future. That will never change. It will not wane.

We will continue to show that Europe is a face of open hearts and open houses. This will be a tangible expression our common European way of being compassionate with our strength.

It is time to intensify our efforts to reduce energy dependence on the Kremlin. I would like to see Europe completely independent and secure in its energy supply.

We must remember, even in these times of crisis, that energy is political. This has been a principle Russia has known for many years. You also have this understanding.

The goal of Europe must be to achieve zero Russian gas in the future. Zero gas. This is ambitious, but it is necessary.

We should not use Kremlin energy to indirectly finance the bombs that fall on your home. We will intensify our efforts to ensure that this happens sooner than expected.

Let me briefly address the information war we are currently in. We need to not only strengthen and bolster our cyber-defences, but also continue to challenge the notion that Russia confronting Europe is somehow anti-Russian. Russians are standing up against Putin – and there is a lot of them – even though they face jail time, they are still on the right side. They are on our side.

Let me close by quoting Jonathan Sacks, who stated “It’s difficult to defeat fear in name of hope; It takes enormous courage.” We need to have the courage to face our destruction powers as they grow.

Taras Shevchenko, your national poet, said “Keep fighting – You are certain to win.”

You have the courage.

Ukraine has this courage.

We are here for you today, tomorrow and will always be by your side.

Slava Ukraini


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