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Zelenskyy's four key demands as he delivers historic address to UK parliament

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has delivered a historic address to British MPs, just hours after posting a defiant video message revealing his location in Kyiv.

The former TV star turned war leader has been addressing parliamentarians around the world, both privately and publicly, via video link since Russia launched a full-scale invasion nearly two weeks ago.

Live updates on Ukraine war as Russia ‘shells Mariupol’ during ceasefire

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Zelenskyy ‘not afraid’ of staying in Kyiv

As well as welcoming the support of Western countries, he has voiced frustration at their refusal to meet some of his requests to help defend against Vladimir Putin’s military attack.

Here, Sky News looks at Mr Zelenskyy’s four key demands.

No-fly zone

In his speech to MPs, Mr Zelenskyy repeated calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine which Western leaders have so far been reluctant to introduce.

They fear it would risk a third world war because it could mean NATO having to shoot down Russian planes.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the presidential palace, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Pool
Boris Johnson met Mr Zelenskyy in Kyiv in February

A no-fly-zone is an area from which aircraft are barred or restricted from flying in war zones, usually to prevent an aggressor from launching attacks on civilians or military targets.

On Friday, Mr Zelenskyy launched a blistering attack on NATO for failing to impose a no-fly zone, telling the alliance: “Starting from today everyone who dies will die because of you as well, because of your weakness, because of your disunity.”

And on Tuesday he urged the Commons: “Please make sure our Ukrainian skies are safe.”

The Ukrainian president claims the absence of a no-fly zone has effectively “given the green light for the bombardment of Ukrainian cities and villages”.

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NATO is ‘very weak’ and ‘lost’

Military aid

Mr Zelenskyy appealed for more military assistance when he addressed MPs. “We’re looking for your help, for the help of the civilised countries,” he said.

The UK sent some 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers to Ukraine before Russia’s full-scale invasion started.

A group of around 30 elite British troops travelled to the country in January to help train the Ukrainian armed forces to use the anti-tank weapons, which were gifted by the UK.

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20 January: UK weapons arrive in Ukraine

Over the weekend, the Ukrainian president made a “desperate plea” to US Congress members for further military aid that is not currently being supplied by the West, including anti-aircraft missiles, planes and drones.

A US official said multiple countries are discussing whether to provide the warplanes that Mr Zelenskyy has requested.

On Tuesday, Poland agreed to hand over all of its MIG-29 fighter jets to a US airbase “immediately and free of charge”.

Harsher sanctions – including bans on buying Russian oil and gas

The Ukrainian president has called for tougher Western sanctions on Russia – including a ban on buying Russian oil and gas and a boycott of Russian exports.

And he reiterated this to MPs on Tuesday, asking them to recognise Russia as “a terrorist state” and telling them: “Please increase the pressure of sanctions against this country.”

In a video address on Monday, he had said: “If (Russia) doesn’t want to abide by civilised rules, then they shouldn’t receive goods and services from civilisation.”

He added: “If the situation gets worse, then new sanctions need to be introduced to bring peace.”

Read more: Russia has become the world’s most sanctioned country – but is the UK doing its bit?

Natural gas prices smashed previous UK records on Monday, while Brent crude oil reached its highest level since 2008, after US secretary of state Antony Blinken suggested America and European allies were discussing a Russian oil and gas ban in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Such an embargo would be one of the last remaining trade weapons that the US and its allies could deploy against Mr Putin’s regime.

Boris Johnson has said the world needs to “move away as fast as possible” from a reliance on Russian energy supplies, but the prime minister insisted there would need to be a “step-by-step transition period” while countries around the world find substitutes.

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EU membership

Mr Zelenskyy has asked the EU to allow Ukraine to gain membership immediately under a special procedure as it defends itself from invasion by Russian forces.

He gave an emotional speech to MEPs at the European Parliament last week as he called on Europe to prove its support for Ukraine by allowing it to join the bloc.

Read more: Putin pursuing ‘Anaconda plan’ with force – what are his options for ending the war?

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Zelenskyy calls for European support

On the fifth day of Russia’s invasion, Mr Zelenskyy signed an application to join the EU, sharing an image of himself flanked by Denys Shmyhal, his prime minister, and Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament.

It was largely symbolic and the process could take years, with Ukraine having been weakened by endemic corruption for many years, making the benchmarks of approval extremely hard to reach.

However, the move is still unlikely to sit well with Mr Putin, who does not want Ukraine to have a strong relationship with the West.


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