Russia’s war on Ukraine aims to erect a new version of the Berlin Wall, but this time in the heart of Europe, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday.
Addressing the German parliament via video call, Zelenskyy warned that the war could lead to a newly divided Europe.
“Maybe not everyone is aware of this. But you may find yourselves once again behind the wall,” he said, speaking to a group including lawmakers who can still remember the Cold War-era Berlin Wall, which came down in 1989.
“Not the Berlin Wall, but in the heart of Europe, where there is freedom. This wall is getting stronger with every bomb that falls on our soil in Ukraine, with every decision that isn’t made,” he added.
Zelenskyy urged Germany to show leadership and provide stronger support to the Ukrainian people.
“Chancellor (Olaf) Scholz, tear down this wall!” he stressed, echoing 1987 remarks by the late Ronald Reagan, who was then US president. “Show leadership. Please help us to stop this war.”
In his impassioned speech, Zelenskyy also criticized Germany’s cautious policy towards Russia in the past years, and its reluctance to cut dependence on Russian gas.
“We always said Nord Stream 2 is a weapon. It’s for the preparation of a big war. And what reply did we get? This is business, business, business,” he said, referring to the controversial gas pipeline project, running under the Baltic Sea, and bypassing Ukraine.
Germany had long resisted calls to abandon the Nord Stream 2 claiming that it is solely a commercial project, and suspended it last month, only after Russia moved to recognize Ukraine’s two separatist regions as independent states.
Zelenskyy’s address to the German Bundestag continues his effort to make the case that his country needs more help facing down the Russian military, including speeches to the US Congress, the British House of Commons, and the Canadian Parliament.
Zelenskyy has pressed for more military aid and a no-fly zone, stressing that a defeat for Ukraine would be a defeat for democracy itself.