Zelenskyy addresses NATO PA as lawmakers underscore support for Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s “terrorist” regime  

21 November 2022

NATO Allies must stand firm against Russian aggression and step-up support to Ukraine, lawmakers from across the Alliance declared Monday after hearing a defiant message of resistance from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.   

“Ukrainians are sure we can defend ourselves in this war, we can reinstate our borders, European borders, along the full length of our southern and eastern flanks,” Zelenskyy told the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in a video address from Kyiv.  “The power of our democracy will be a guarantee that no tyranny to the east of us will be able to threaten Europe.” 

Minutes later, the Assembly passed a series of resolutions calling on the 30 NATO Allies to intensify backing for Ukraine’s resistance and support the country’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.  

Allied governments must “increase military, financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine, including by accelerating deliveries of the weapons that Ukraine needs to protect itself,” the NATO PA said.  

In addition, the Assembly urged Allies to “state clearly that the Russian state under the current regime is a terrorist one.” It said NATO nations should hold Russian leaders accountable for war crimes, including by working for the establishment of a special international tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine.  

“Through their brave and inspiring struggle, Ukrainians are demonstrating, every day, the power of right over might and freedom over fear,” said Gerald E. Connolly, outgoing president of the NATO PA. “Every day, Ukrainians fight for their democratic values and for their democratic future. We must stand by them; we must support them for however long it takes to prevail. And prevail we will.” 

Zelenskyy was joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, President of the Senate Ander Gil and President of the Congress of Deputies Meritxell Batet and other top officials in addressing the final day of the Assembly’s four-day annual session, held this year in Madrid.  

The meeting clearly focused on support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression; strengthening the Alliance’s core defence and deterrence role; and the importance of bolstering NATO’s democratic values, including through the creation of a Democratic Resilience Centre at Alliance headquarters. 

“We should launch an absolutely resounding message to Putin: respect the national sovereignty of Ukraine and its capacity to freely chose its future,” Sanchez told the legislators. “Until this happens, we shall remain united, and we shall support Ukraine in its fight and struggle for freedom […] This Alliance has become stronger in the past few months in the face of Putin’s barbarity.” 

With the elected representatives in the Assembly serving as a key link between citizens and NATO, Stoltenberg appealed to members to help build societal resilience and backing for Ukraine over the long haul even as Western nations suffer from the economic impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. 

“Energy and food bills are rising. These are tough times for many. But the price we pay as NATO Allies is measured in money. While the Ukrainians, they pay a price which is measured in blood,” Stoltenberg told the Assembly. “If we allow Putin to win, all of us will have to pay a much higher price. Authoritarian regimes around the world will learn that they can get what they want with brute force.” 

In addition to immediate military support for Ukraine, the Assembly urged Allied governments to start planning for a “comprehensive aid programme akin to the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of a more prosperous Ukraine firmly anchored to the liberal democratic family of nations.” 

Zelenskyy too insisted the long-term unity between Ukraine and the rest of Europe that must be strengthened after his country’s ultimate military success. 

“Now, when we are defending European values on the battlefield in a full-scale war, it is absolutely clear how unfair and unnatural Ukraine's alienation from Europe has been,” he told the Assembly. "I urge you to do everything in your power so that our community of nations - nations of values - will never again be divided or weakened.”