Zelenskiy says Russia 'using hunger as a weapon' in historic address to Oireachtas

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “Why are they doing this? Because for them hunger is a weapon against us, ordinary people as an instrument of domination."
Zelenskiy says Russia 'using hunger as a weapon' in historic address to Oireachtas

Kenneth Fox

Updated at 11:01

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia is using hunger as a weapon in its war against his country.

Addressing a joint sitting of the Houses of the Oireachtas via a translator, he said: “This night, our territory was again hit by Russian missiles.

“They are destroying things that are sustaining livelihoods to people.

“They also have blocked all of our sea ports, together with the vessels that had already agricultural cargoes for exports.

“Why are they doing this? Because for them hunger is a weapon against us, ordinary people as an instrument of domination.

“Ukraine is one of the leading food-supplying country in the world with exports.

“This is not just about the deficit and the threat of hunger.

“There will be a shortage of food and the prices will go up, and this is reality for the millions of people who are hungry, and it will be more difficult for them to feed their families.”

He said he was grateful to every citizen of Ireland and for the country’s support of sanctions against Russia.

New relationship

“Thank you for the humanitarian and financial support extended to our country and thank you for your caring about Ukrainian people who found shelter on your land,” he said.

“Just think about it – 10 million Ukrainians have been left without shelter as of today by Russia, who had to leave their native cities because of this war. This is something we cannot come to grips with.”

Mr Zelenskiy said a new relationship between Ireland and Ukraine had been forged.

He said: “The longer this aggression from Russia continues, the worse will be the consequences, not only for our continent, but neighbouring regions.

“Our courage has already turned the new age of relationship between Ukraine and Ireland.

“Our mutual understanding and mutual respect is already at a level where it becomes only the question of time for us to start living in our common European house.

“Thank you for the support of the accelerated procedure to provide membership in the EU to Ukraine."

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he was certain that Ukraine would prevail in its war with Russia.

He told the Dáil: “Russia will have to live with the shame of what they have done in Ukraine for generations. Those responsible will be held to account.

“We are with Ukraine, and I am certain that, in the end, Ukraine will prevail.

“We are a militarily neutral country. However, we are not politically neutral in the face of war crimes. Quite the opposite.

“Our position is informed by the principles that drive our foreign policy – support for international human rights, for humanitarian law and for a rules-based international order. We are not neutral when Russia disregards all of these principles. We are with Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s political, economic and humanitarian needs are now manifold and pressing.

“Our efforts, as a friend and as a partner of Ukraine, are aimed at using all the levers at our disposal to bring a just end to this war; applying international pressure on Russia; pursuing accountability for violations of international law; and meeting the humanitarian needs of those caught now in the midst of this terrible and immoral war."

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