Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy became the first foreign leader to address members of the Japanese Diet online on Wednesday evening Japan time.
About 500 Japanese Diet lawmakers listened to his speech. Here is a transcript of his speech.
Dear Mr. Hosoda!
Dear Mrs. Santo!
Prime Minister Kishida!
Distinguished Members of the Japanese Parliament!
It is a great honor for me, President of Ukraine, to address you for the first time in the history of the Japanese Parliament.
Our capitals are separated by a distance of 8 thousand 193 kilometers. On average, it’s 15 hours on a plane. Depending on the route. But what is the distance between our feelings of freedom? Between our desires to live? Between our aspirations for peace?
On February 24, I saw no distance. Even a millimeter between our capitals. Even a second between our feelings. Because you immediately came to our aid. And I’m grateful to you.
When Russia destroyed peace for all of Ukraine, we immediately saw that the world was really against war. Truly for freedom. Truly for global security. Truly for the harmonious development of each society. Japan has become the leader of this position in Asia. You immediately started working to stop this brutal war started by the Russian Federation. You immediately started working for peace in Ukraine. So in Europe. And that’s really, really important. It is important for everyone on Earth. Because without peace for Ukraine, no one in the world will be able to look to the future with confidence.
Each of you knows what Chernobyl is. Nuclear power plant in Ukraine, where a powerful explosion occurred in 1986. Radiation emission. The consequences of which have been recorded in different parts of the planet. The 30 kilometer zone around Chernobyl station is still closed. It’s dangerous. During the elimination of the consequences of the explosion at the station, thousands of tons of contaminated materials, debris and cars were thrown into the forests of the closed area. Just in the ground.
On February 24, Russian armored vehicles drove through this land. Raising radioactive dust in the air. The Chernobyl station has been captured. By force, by arms. Imagine a nuclear power plant where a disaster has occurred. Containment that closes the destroyed reactor. Operation of a nuclear waste storage facility. Russia has also turned this facility into a war arena. And Russia is using this 30 kilometer territory, this closed area, to prepare new attacks against our defense forces.
It will take years after Russian troops left Ukraine to investigate the damage they caused at Chernobyl. Which radioactive material storage sites have been damaged. And how radioactive dust spread across the planet.
Ladies and gentlemen!
There are four nuclear power plants in operation on our territory! These are 15 nuclear slices. And they are all threatened. Russian troops have already fired from tanks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe. The fighting has damaged hundreds of plants, many of which are particularly dangerous. Bombing threatens gas and oil pipelines. Coal mines.
The other day, Russian troops also fired on a chemical plant in the Sumy region of Ukraine. There was an ammonia leak. We are warned of possible chemical attacks, especially with the use of sarin. As was the case in Syria.
And one of the main topics of discussion of world politicians is the question: how to react if Russia also uses nuclear weapons. Any trust of any person in the world, any country is completely destroyed.
Our soldiers have been heroically defending Ukraine for 28 days already. 28 days of full-scale invasion of the largest state in the world. But not the greatest potential. Not the most influential. And the smallest from a moral point of view.
Russia has used more than a thousand missiles against peaceful cities in Ukraine. Countless bombs. Russian troops have destroyed dozens of our cities. Some were reduced to ashes. In many towns and villages that have come under Russian occupation, our people cannot even bury their murdered relatives, friends and neighbors with dignity. They must bury them in the yards of broken houses, near the roads, wherever possible…
Thousands of people were killed, including 121 children.
About 9 million Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes, their places of origin, fleeing Russian troops. Our northern, eastern and southern territories are emptying as people flee this deadly threat.
Russia even blocked the sea from us. Usual trade routes. To show other – potential – aggressors of the world how to pressure free nations by blocking maritime navigation.
Ladies and gentlemen!
Today, it is Ukraine, partner states and our anti-war coalition that can ensure that global security will not be completely destroyed. That in the world there will be a foothold for the freedom of nations. For people and for the preservation of diversity in societies. For border security. To ensure that we, our children, our grandchildren still have peace.
You see that the international institutions have not worked. Even the UN and the Security Council… What can they do? They need reform. They need an injection of honesty. To become efficient. To really decide and really influence, not just discuss.
Due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the world is destabilized. The world is on the brink of many new crises. And who knows now what tomorrow will look like?
Turbulence in global markets is a problem for all countries that depend on commodity imports. The environmental and food challenges are unprecedented. And above all, it is now decided whether all the aggressors on the planet – explicit and potential – will be convinced that the war they have waged will bring such a powerful punishment that they should not start a war. That they must not destroy the world. And it is absolutely logical and correct that responsible states unite to protect peace.
I am grateful to your state for its principled stand at such a historic moment. For real help to Ukraine. You were the first in Asia to exert real pressure on Russia to restore peace. Who supported the sanctions against Russia. And I urge you to continue to do so.
I appeal to the joint efforts of the Asian countries, your partners, to stabilize the situation. For Russia to seek peace. And stop the tsunami from its brutal invasion of our state, Ukraine. It is necessary to impose a trade embargo with Russia. Companies must be taken out of the Russian market so that the money does not go to the Russian army. We must help our state, our defenders, our soldiers who are further impeding the Russian troops. It is necessary to start thinking about the reconstruction of Ukraine now. About the return of life to the cities destroyed by Russia and the territories devastated by it.
People must return to where they lived. where they grew up. Where they feel at home. Their little homeland. I’m sure you understand that feeling. This need. The need to return to your land.
We must develop new security guarantees. So that it is possible to act preventively and vigorously whenever there is a threat to peace.
Is it possible to do this on the basis of existing international structures? After such a war – definitely not. We need to create new tools. New guarantees. This will act preventively and strongly against any aggression. Which will really help. Japan’s leadership may be essential to their development. For Ukraine, for the world. I offer it to you.
For the world to regain confidence. Confident about what tomorrow will be. Confident that tomorrow will come and be stable and peaceful. For us, for future generations.
Ladies and gentlemen!
We can do a lot with you. Even more than you can imagine.
I know what a brilliant development history you have. How you can build and defend harmony. Follow principles and value life. Protect the environment. The roots of this are in your culture. What Ukrainians really like. My comments are not unfounded. It’s actually true.
In 2019, literally six months after I became President of Ukraine, my wife Olena participated in a project for visually impaired children. In the project to create audio books. And she voiced Japanese fairy tales. In Ukrainian. Because they are understandable for us, for children. And that was just a drop in the huge sea of our attention, Ukrainian attention, to your achievement.
We have similar values with you despite the enormous distance between our countries. A distance that does not really exist. Because we have equally warm hearts. Through joint efforts, through even greater pressure on Russia, we will achieve peace. And we can rebuild our country. Reform international institutions.
I’m sure Japan will be with us then – just as it is now. In our anti-war coalition. At this crucial time for all of us.
Thank you very much in Japanese!
Glory to Ukraine!
Glory to Japan!