MADRID -Likening the Russian bombing of his country to the bloody air raid on the Spanish town of Guernica by Nazi Germany, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Spain’s parliament on Tuesday the West must do more to force Moscow to abandon its invasion.
Shortly after addressing the United Nations Security Council, Zelenskiy told Spanish lawmakers to contemplate the current situation where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are living in fear without water, food or medicine, and he called on Spanish companies still operating in Russia to leave.
Earlier on Tuesday, Spain followed several other European countries and pledged to expel 27 Russian diplomats.
“Imagine that people now – in Europe – live for weeks in basements to save lives. From shelling, from air bombs. It’s April 2022, and the reality in Ukraine is the same as in April 1937. When the whole world learned the name of one of your cities – Guernica,” Zelenskiy said.
Adolf Hitler sent aircraft in support of Francisco Franco’s nationalist forces to strike the Basque town on April 26, 1937, killing as many as 1,600 and wounding hundreds. The tragedy drove Pablo Picasso to paint a masterpiece of the same name.
Calling for further international sanctions against Moscow, Zelenskiy praised Spanish companies that have stopped operations in Russia while singling out some businesses still working there.
“I know that many of your companies have already stopped financing the Russian military machine through taxes. I am also grateful to your state and society for its principled position on sanctions,” he told a packed lower house in Madrid.
But he appealed directly to blasting equipment provider Maxam, ceramics group Porcelanosa, and capital-goods manufacturers association Sercobe to stop doing business with Russia.
Porcelanosa said it has not initiated any new sales in Russia since the invasion, but had fulfilled contracts with distributors signed before the war.
“In March the Russian market represented only 0.009% of the company’s sales…equivalent to 197,000 euros,” the company said in a statement.
Neither Maxam nor Sercobe responded to requests for comment.