An emotional Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy angrily told Germany’s Parliament on Thursday that the post-Holocaust “never again” pledge means nothing in light of the West’s inaction on the Russian invasion of his country.
“‘Never again’ has been the slogan,” Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, said in his scathing remarks via video link from Kyiv. “But now it looks like it doesn’t mean anything. A people is being destroyed in Europe,” and the West stands idle.
The clearly exhausted president, appearing in his now-trademark khaki T-shirt, accused Germany of ignoring Western values over the years so it could continue to do business with Russia. In the process, it grew increasingly reliant on Russia’s oil and gas — a dependence that supplied Russian President Vladimir Putin with funds to wage war, he argued.
“We kept telling you that the Nord Stream [gas pipelines] was a weapon, a preparation for a major war.” But “the economy, the economy” was always the priority with Germany, he said.
All of Europe, not just Ukraine, is at risk, he warned, evoking memories of Adolf Hitler’s march across Europe. “Help us stop the war,” he pleaded.
Zelenskyy also called on Germany to help destroy a new “wall” Russia was erecting in Europe.
It’s “no longer a Berlin Wall — but rather, a wall running all through Europe between freedom and slavery, and this wall will get stronger and stronger ... taller and taller with every bomb” dropped on Ukraine, Zelenskyy told the members of the Bundestag.
The Parliament gave Zelenskyy a standing ovation before his speech and repeated it at the end, despite his harsh message.
Scholz in a tweet thanked him for his “forceful words.”