Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his speech to the US Congress (behind him are Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi with a Ukrainian flag)
ALMOND NGAN / AFP
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj was received in front of the US Congress in Washington with immense jubilation.
"Despite all the adversities and doomsday scenarios, Ukraine has not fallen," said Zelenskyj on Wednesday (local time) in front of the two chambers of parliament with a view to Russia's invasion of his country.
»Ukraine is alive and well.«
The 44-year-old went on to say: “Russian tyranny has lost control of us.” Ukrainians are not afraid – and nobody in the world should be afraid.
“They've got a lot more missiles and planes than we've ever had, that's true.
But our defenses are standing.” Ukraine will never surrender.
During Zelenskyj's speech, which lasted about ten minutes, the deputies in the hall applauded again and again, sometimes standing.
The appearance of the Ukrainian President before the Congress is considered a historic moment.
The war against his country is not just about the freedom and security of Ukrainians or any other nation Russia is trying to conquer, Zelenskyy said.
"The struggle will define what world our children and grandchildren will live in, and then their children and grandchildren."
In addition, Selenskyj thanked the Americans for the help they had already provided.
It is not a charity - "it is an investment in global security and democracy, which we will manage in the most responsible way".
The artillery delivered so far is not enough, said Zelenskyj - and demanded more heavy weapons from the USA.
“Ukraine never asked American soldiers to fight in our place on our land.
I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers are perfectly capable of operating American tanks and planes themselves.«
Towards the end of his speech, Selenskyj turned to Christmas: They will also celebrate in Ukraine, even if there is no electricity.
"The light of our belief in ourselves will not go out." Even if Russia attacked with Iranian drones and Ukrainians had to go to bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, they would still sit down at the holiday table and cheer each other up.
Millions of Ukrainians only wanted one thing, Zelensky said: to win.
He ends his speech with the words: »Happy victorious new year!«
He then presented the US Congress with a flag he had brought from the fiercely contested city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris then jointly held the flag high.
"This flag is a symbol of our victory," Zelenskyy said.
“In this war we stand, we fight and we will win because we are united.
Ukraine, America and the entire free world.«
The visit to Washington is the Ukrainian president's first trip abroad since the war began in February.
Before his address to Congress, Zelenskyy was received by US President Joe Biden.
Biden assured the Ukrainian head of state the continued support of the United States and the West.
"You will never be alone," Biden said at a joint White House press conference.
"We will stand by you as long as it is necessary."