Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Spanish parliament by video link this afternoon, Tuesday 5 April, and called on Spain to stop doing business and entering into economic and commercial agreements with Russia.
He spoke for about ten minutes in a meeting which only lasted half an hour for reasons associated with his security and was attended by all the political parties, and he referred to the bombing of Guernica. “This is April 2022 but it seems we are in April 1937,” he said, after pointing out that the Russian army is destroying Ukrainian cities such as Mariupol.
Zelensky said that what Russia is doing in his country could happen tomorrow anywhere in the rest of Europe. “Mothers in Ukraine are writing their childrens’ names on their backs in case they are killed,” he told them.
His address to the Spanish parliament, which began nearly 20 minutes late because he was participating in the UN Security Council meeting, was the latest in a series of more than ten speeches of this type to different countries, and it came after the Russian massacre of citizens in Bucha, close to Kiev, which led the Spanish government to expel 25 Russian diplomats earlier today.
The first to arrive for the address was Spain’s Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, who was there 15 minutes before the other members of the government. Minutes later prime minister Pedro Sánchez arrived, then deputy prime ministers Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz. The deputy PM for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera was not present, and nor was her counterpart in the Ministry of Education, Joan Subirats.
The president of Congress, Mertixell Batet, started the proceedings by expressing the strongest condemnation of the Russian invasion. “We are here to say that all the people of Spain support those of Ukraine, and we admire the courage and determination with which the men and women of Ukraine are defending themselves against the illegal invasion ordered by Putin,” she said.
The speech by the Ukrainian president was considered so important that some senators were sitting in the press gallery so they didn’t miss it. Very few occasions have attracted so much support. Also in the press gallery was Serhii Pohoreltsev, the Ukrainian ambassador, who was given a standing ovation by those in the main chamber.