STA, 8 July 2022 - Addressing the Slovenian National Assembly by video call on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked European countries, including Slovenia, for their support for Ukraine in its fight for freedom. He called on Slovenian companies to join recovery plans for postwar future in Ukraine.
The special event held in parliament in support of Ukraine was first addressed by Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič, who said it was a great honour to be able to welcome Zelensky and wished the circumstances of this were different.
"Ever since the start of the war, Slovenia has been on the side of countries that have condemned in the strongest terms the aggression against Ukraine, an independent and sovereign European country," she said.
The previous prime minister visited Kyiv in March in a display of strong support for the war-stricken country, and Slovenia's support remains the same under the new government, she noted, pointing to financial, humanitarian and other aid.
The speaker also congratulated Ukraine for being granted EU candidate status. This is "a recognition that Ukraine is on the right track, that it is part of the family of European nations, that its future lies in Europe," she said, adding this was also a recognition of Zelensky's and his team's work.
Kot je že potrdil premier, bo ?? Ukrajini nudila pomoč pri razminiranju in jo trdno podpirala pri njenih prizadevanjih za suverenost in mir.— Vlada Republike Slovenije (@vladaRS) July 8, 2022
Vlada odločno obsoja rusko agresijo, ki je v nasprotju z določili Ustanovne listine ZN in ob tem poudarja pomen enotnega delovanja EU. pic.twitter.com/NgpAr99ZQ1
Zelensky, dressed in his usual army green apparel, said the honour was mutual and thanked all European countries that are supporting Ukraine's liberation efforts, noting that cooperation was key. "I thank the Slovenian nation, thank you for your big and brave heart."
He added he was currently close to the front line. "Russia continues to work to prevent Ukraine's progress", including in the international arena, he said, but highlighted that Moscow was running out of fuel to keep on this path.
Ukraine demands an investigation by the International Criminal Court, so that all war crimes in Ukraine are investigated and those responsible are held accountable, he reiterated.
The Ukrainian president also thanked Slovenia and other EU countries for endorsing Ukraine's bid to join the EU at the recent EU summit. No one can say how long this path of EU integration will take, but Ukraine's dream is to become a full-fledged member of the bloc, he said, adding that it was important that the country preserve its territorial integrity.
Moscow is well aware that Ukraine is a very important country within the European framework, he said, highlighting that his country "is a European territory". Ukraine shares EU values and wants to cooperate with the bloc across the board, Zelensky told the Slovenian MPs.
The Russian government uses various tools to destroy Ukraine, and the energy crisis and inflation are one such attempt, he said, noting that Ukraine will try to mitigate gas shortages in Europe through electricity supplies. The country has already joined the European electricity system ENTSO-E.
He also mentioned Ukraine's gas storage system, which is one of the world's biggest by capacity, as another potential option to mitigate the developments, and added that Ukraine could help the EU with its strong IT infrastructure.
Russia is preparing another blow - by blocking cereal exports it hopes this will eventually led to major famine-induced migration flows from Africa and the Middle East that would hit Europe, so Ukraine is doing its best to prevent this and help people who are affected by this.
Russia's major target is the EU as Moscow would like to break European stability, but the bloc can defend itself, he said.
Zelensky urged Slovenians and Slovenian companies to join recovery plans for postwar future in Ukraine. He is confident that Ukraine will be free again and will preserve its territorial integrity, noting that this is also in the interest of the EU, which is now acting as one.
There will be no victory without soldiers, he said, highlighting Ukraine's military strength. "Together we will win, glory to Ukraine," he concluded his speech that was followed by a thunderous applause.
The event was attended by Slovenia's top three officials, President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Robert Golob and Speaker Klakočar Zupančič, as well as National Council President Alojz Kovšca and cabinet members.
When Zelensky's address was officially announced yesterday, the parliament noted that the event was an expression of support for the Ukrainian people in their fight for their homeland and an expression of friendship to Ukraine.
The opposition Democratic Party's (SDS) initiative to invite the Ukrainian president to address the MPs had been green-lit by the foreign policy and the EU affairs committees.
Radio Slovenija reports that Slovenia is one of the last EU member states to have been addressed by Zelensky. Only two weeks after Russia attacked Ukraine, the Ukrainian president addressed the British parliament, which was followed by videolink appearances in his country's key allies.
EU-wise, Zelensky has so far not addressed only the parliaments of countries that have shown more lukewarm support for Ukraine - Austria, Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary.