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Ukraine war: Zelenskyy invokes WWII and Berlin Wall in speech to German MPs

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By Euronews
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy   -   Copyright  AP/AP   -  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed MPs in the German parliament on Thursday morning, calling for more help from Europe to stop the Russian invasion of his country.

Speaking via video link from Kyiv, Zelenskyy invoked images of WWII, the Berlin Wall and even former US President John F. Kennedy in a powerful speech.

In three weeks of war, Zelenskyy said, Russian forces had destroyed schools, churches and hospitals.

"During these three weeks, thousands of Ukrainians have died. One hundred and eight children, in the middle of Europe, in 2022," he said.

Zelenskyy said some sanctions against Russia had come too late, and that some were "not enough", chiding German companies who still have business ties in Russia.

"We saw how many connections your companies still maintain with Russia. Your country and some other countries as well" he said, before raising the imagery of the Berlin Wall describing "a wall that separates you from Ukrainians that are dying".

Zelenskyy said that delays to Ukraine's EU membership application looks like politics, but added "these are the stones of a new wall".

"We're asking you to act as the aggressor [Russia] sees you, as a power, and not that you're just thinking about [the] economy, economy, economy."

The president said he was grateful to German politicians who supported Ukraine's aspirations to join the EU, but that there was still "guilt" in Germany about the events 80 years ago in WWII - and that he wasn't asking Germany to fix the problems of the past, but to do what needs to be done for his country today.

In echoes of JFK's historic "tear down this wall" speech, Zelenskyy appealed to Germany's new chancellor directly.

"Destroy this wall today Chancellor Scholz. Destroy this wall. Give Germany the leadership that your descendants will be proud of."

Thursday's address was the latest in a series of speeches the Ukrainian president has given to international lawmakers. In the last two weeks, he's addressed the European Parliament, the British and Canadian parliaments, and the US Congress.