This past week, we have seen what courageous, compassionate leadership looks like in the incredible response of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy was given the opportunity to evacuate under U.S. protection and he chose instead to stay in Ukraine and fight for his country, saying "I need ammunition, not a ride." He delivered an emotional appeal to the Russian people, calling on them to recognize that ordinary people—both Russian and Ukrainian—will be the ones to suffer if Russia wages war. He and his leadership team have shared messages from the streets of Kyiv, reassuring his fellow Ukrainians that they will continue to fight alongside them.
Absolutely heart shattering.Ukraine\u2019s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his officials, standing strong in Kyiv, recording the words: \u201cWe are here. We are in Kyiv. We are defending Ukraine!" #UkraineRussiapic.twitter.com/ekTNPrQVSN— Dr. Jennifer Cassidy \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Dr. Jennifer Cassidy \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1645816864
The calm, courage and resolve Zelenskyy has demonstrated has captured the hearts of freedom-loving people around the world. His words have also moved interpreters to tears as he calls upon the humanity in all of us in supporting Ukraine against Russia's attacks.
Zelenskyy addressed the European parliament today, explaining the current situation in Ukraine, where cruise missiles hit Freedom Square in Kharkiv and cities are all blocked. You can hear the interpreter fighting back tears as she translates the president's message that they are fighting for their land and their freedom.
Wow, I've never heard a translator for a head of state get choked up like this. \n\nThe emotion is clear, in both word and delivery:\n\n"Nobody is going to break us. We're strong. We're Ukrainians. We have a desire to see our children alive. I think it's a fair one."pic.twitter.com/fMPinmIRmY— Nora Neus (@Nora Neus) 1646136001
Once again, Zelenskyy's words were powerful: "Nobody is going to break us. We're strong. We're Ukrainians. We have a desire to see our children alive. I think it's a fair one."
Zelenskyy's speech was received with a standing ovation from the members of the European Parliament.
The interpreter's emotional reaction was shared by another Ukrainian interpreter a few days ago. As she attempted to translate Zelenksyy's speech live on German TV, the interpreter burst into tears and couldn't continue.
The translator of the German newspaper Welt burst into tears while translating Zelensky's latest video message.pic.twitter.com/KT9HUyKZMy— KyivPost (@KyivPost) 1645961342
She shared what happened on Twitter, writing, "I'm a conference interpreter, I interpret 10 hrs peace talks. But today live on German TV I couldn't finish interpreting Zelensky, during his last words I broke into tears."
"I love you all, my fellow Ukrainians," she added.
I'm a conference interpreter, I interprepret 10 hrs peace talks. But today live on German TV I couldn't finish interpreting Zelensky, during his last words I broke into tears.\n\nI love you all, my fellow Ukrainianshttps://twitter.com/KyivIndependent/status/1497850848185040897\u00a0\u2026— Die Welt \u00dcbersetzerin \ud83c\udf3b (@Die Welt \u00dcbersetzerin \ud83c\udf3b) 1645951724
By showing he won't back down and by calling on people's common humanity, Zelenskyy has moved and inspired the free world and rallied allies behind him around the globe. Even Switzerland, which has famously remained neutral in conflicts, has taken its side and sanctioned Russia for the invasion.
Whatever the political outcome, President Zelenskyy has given the world a hero to root for and won over the hearts of people in a way that authoritarian dictators will never be able to.
Zelenskyy's full speech to the European Parliament is worth a watch:
- This resilient Ukrainian city may just have the most beautiful murals ... ›
- The beautiful, heartbreaking words of Ukrainian poet Borys ... ›
- Ukrainian soccer player moved to tears as crowd shows support ... ›