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Ukraine’s president Zelensky to address MPs in Commons on Tuesday

Parliamentarians ‘want to hear directly from president’, says Speaker Lindsay Hoyle

Adam Forrest
Monday 07 March 2022 19:35 GMT
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Related video: Zelensky says missiles hit airport and asks again for no-fly zone

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to give an unprecedented virtual address to the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he had granted the request for Mr Zelensky to read a statement on the invasion by Russia in the chamber at 5pm.

The leader, whose has won praise for his stirring messages to the Ukrainian people in military fatigues, will be beamed in on TV screens seen by MPs.

Sir Lindsay said: “Every parliamentarian wants to hear directly from the president, who will be speaking to us live from Ukraine, so this is an important opportunity for the House.

“Thanks again to our incredible staff for working at pace to make this historic address possible.”

Formal parliamentary business will be suspended at the end of Tuesday afternoon while MPs watch Mr Zelensky on screens installed overnight above either side of the Commons chamber.

More than 500 headsets will be made available to enable MPs to hear a simultaneous translation in English, but there will be no questions at the end of the address.

The Ukrainian leader is said to be ready use his address to call for more arms to help defend his country and renew demands for the implementation of a Nato no-fly zone to stem the Russian attack.

Mr Zelensky, who is reportedly at risk of assassination by pro-Russian groups in Kyiv, earlier called for called for a global boycott of all Russian products – including oil.

“If the invasion continues ... then we need a new sanctions package,” the embattled president said in a video address on Monday, including “a boycott of Russian exports, in particular, the rejection of oil and oil products from Russia”.

On Monday Mr Johnson called for a “step-by-step” approach as European countries weaned themselves off Russian oil and gas. The PM said there would have to be a “transition period” away from Russian energy, but urged allies to accelerate the process.

Dutch premier Mark Rutte warned that if countries moved too quickly to ban Russian oil and gas, it could backfire with “enormous consequences”.

Mr Zelensky also spoke of the shelling of Ukrainian cities, describing the “terror” facing civilians as he appealed again on Monday for a no-fly zone over Ukraine or warplanes.

“How do peaceful people in Kharkiv or Mykolaiv differ from (people in) Hamburg or Vienna?” he asked.

UK ministers and other western leaders have warned that committing to a Nato no-zone fly would be tantamount to declaring war on Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Meanwhile, an adviser to the Ukrainian president says a little progress has been made on safe corridors to allow civilians to flee some besieged Ukrainian cities during a third round of talks with Russia.

Mykhailo Podolyak said without elaboration that “there were some small positive shifts regarding logistics of humanitarian corridors”. He said that consultations will continue on ways to negotiate an end to hostilities.

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