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President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky today called for greater sanctions and pressure on Russia and warned that the war in his country is Vladimir Putin’s door “to enter Europe,” in a speech to the Italian Parliament.
“The invasion has been going on for 27 days, a month, and we need other sanctions and other pressures so that Russia cannot stock up on military reserves in Libya or Syria, and so that peace returns,” said Zelensky who was greeted by the nearly 1,000 Italian parliamentarians with a standing ovation.
The Ukrainian leader also warned that Russia’s goal is to “influence Europe” and “destroy its values, its democracy and its human rights”, before adding that “Ukraine is the door for the Russian army because they want to enter Europe”.
Zelenski began his speech by speaking about the conversation he had this morning with Pope Francis, to whom he said that “the people have become the army” of Ukraine to defend the country “from evil, destruction, and the spreading of blood that the enemy is causing.”
He said that already 117 children have been killed since the war began, thousands have been wounded, tens of thousands of families are homeless, hundreds of thousands have had their homes destroyed and millions of people have had to leave their homes “because of a war started by only one person”, in reference to Putin, whom he did not mention.
The Ukrainian president warned that the Russian army has mined the coasts, which “represents a danger for all the nearby countries,” and recalled that thanks to the export of gas and oil the war has been financed during the last ten years.
Zelensky stressed that the consequences of the war are already being felt in other parts of the world and that many are beginning to go hungry because Ukraine was a major exporter: “How can we sow under Russian artillery, which destroys our fields? We cannot export corn, oil, wheat, and all these necessary products. Prices are rising, and many people are going to need help.”
He asked Italy to close its doors to all those propaganda makers “who chose this country for their vacations,” to continue seizing their accounts, yachts, real estate, and assets, and that “no exception will be allowed to any Russian bank.”
Zelensky also thanked Italy for welcoming the more than 70,000 Ukrainians who have arrived in the country fleeing the war, including 25,000 children, and the hospitals that are taking care of the wounded.
“You only have to stop one person for millions to survive,” Zelensky concluded.