“Constant shelling and no water”: Ukraine’s president shares a harrowing day-by-day account of war

Written by Amy Beecham

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UK government as his wife, first lady Olena Zelenska, shared an open letter detailing the “impossible” scale of destruction.

In a powerful speech to the UK government, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky shared how children had been targeted and cities destroyed in the 13 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I would like to tell you about the 13 days of war, the war that we didn’t start and we didn’t want,” he told MPs, appearing via video link from Kyiv, where he has remained since the fighting began.

“However we have to conduct this war, we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours, our country Ukraine. Just the same way you once didn’t want to lose your country when the Nazis started to fight your country and you had to fight for Britain.”

“We will not surrender, we will not lose, we will go to the end,” he added, before calling for Russia to be named a “terrorist state” and for allies to “make sure our skies are safe”.

Following his address, many British MPs took to social media to share their support of Ukraine and Zelensky himself.

“Never before in centuries of parliamentary history has the House of Commons listened to an address like that given by President Zelensky today,” wrote prime minister Boris Johnson.

“We will employ every method we can for however long it takes to ensure Putin’s invasion fails and Ukraine is free once more.”

Labour MP Lisa Nandy wrote: “The historic, brave, emotional address by President Zelensky brought the entire House of Commons to our feet.

‘We will fight for our land, whatever the cost.’

This is what courage looks like.”

Health secretary Sajid Javid called the address a “privilege to listen to”, adding, “Under his leadership the Ukrainian people are standing up for freedom and democracy everywhere. We stand with Ukraine.”

However, Labour MP Bill Esterson highlighted the “stark contradiction between wholehearted support shown to President Zelensky in the House of Commons today and the abject failure of Priti Patel and her colleagues to welcome Ukrainian refugees”, writing, “[Patel] has to give proper humanitarian support to those fleeing for their lives. Now.”

The Home Office has been criticised for granting Visas for just 300 Ukrainian refugees under its new scheme, in comparison to the “open-door” policies seen in the likes of Ireland and Germany. 

Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, also shared in an open letter posted to Instagram on Tuesday the “impossible” scale of destruction and devastation seen in the country.

“It was impossible to believe what happened a little over a week ago. My country was peaceful, and cities, towns, and villages were full of ordinary life,” she wrote in Ukrainian. 

“On February 24, we woke up with the announcement of the start of the war. Tanks crossed the Ukrainian border, planes burst into our space. Cities were surrounded by missile launchers.”

“The worst thing is to read about child victims,” she continued. “About eight-year-old Alice, who died on Okhtyrka Street – her grandfather tried to cover her with his body. Or about Polina from Kyiv, who died from the shelling together with her parents. About 14-year-old Arseniy… In the once peaceful suburb of the capital, a fragment hit the boy in the head, and the ambulance simply could not reach him under fire.”

“Despite assurances from Kremlin-backed propaganda outlets, who call this a ‘special operation’ – it is, in fact, the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians,” she concluded.

For more information about how you can help refugees fleeing Ukraine, check out this article.

Images: Getty

Source: Read Full Article