Zelensky's 2019 inauguration speech will give you an insight into the sort of leader he is

Zelensky's 2019 inauguration speech will give you an insight into the sort of leader he is
Russia invades Ukraine: Zelensky President thrust into hero figure

It’s a well-known fact that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is a powerful speaker.

Since the crisis on the Ukrainian border began, Zelensky has delivered several stirring speeches.

The president’s attitude towards the current conflict has also received international praise. When the US asked him to evacuate, Zelensky reportedly said: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”

A clip from his inauguration speech, reshared by The Recount, shows Zelensky making a moving speech in which he united the country by saying every Ukrainian is equal, and that the election win was a combined victory.

In his speech, he said his then six-year-old son asked if the announcement that “Zelensky is president” meant that he was too. Although the senior Zelensky dismissed it as a child’s joke at first, he said he later understood it as the truth.

“Because every one of us is the president now,” he said.

He continued: “It’s not mine, it’s our common victory, and it’s our common chance for which we take shared responsibility. And now it wasn’t just me who took the oath. Each of us put a hand on the constitution and each of us swore loyalty to Ukraine.

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

“Imagine screaming headlines: ‘President doesn’t pay taxes’, ‘President drunk rushed through red lights’, ‘President steals a little’. But everybody does the same. You sure agree it is a shame, and that is what I mean when I say that every one of us is the president.

“Starting today, every one of us bears responsibility for Ukraine which we will leave to our children. Each of us, in our places, can do something for the development of Ukraine. A European country starts with everyone. Yes, we have chosen a [political] direction to Europe, but Europe is not somewhere there, Europe is here [points to his head]. And when Europe is here, it will come to our country. It will be in Ukraine.

“This is our shared dream, but we have shared pains. Each of us died in the Donbas. Every day we lose one of us, and each of us is internally displaced. Those who lost their own homes and those who in turn, opened the doors of their homes, sharing this pain. And each of us is a migrant worker. Those who didn’t manage to find their place at home but found earnings in a foreign country. Those who, fighting poverty, had to lose their dignity. But we will overcome all of this, for each of us is a Ukrainian.

“We are all Ukrainians. There’s no less of a Ukrainian or more of a Ukrainian, the right Ukrainian or wrong Ukrainian, we are all Ukrainians. From Uzhhhorod to Luhansk, from Chernihiv to Simferopol, in Lviv, Kharkiv, in Donetsk, Dnipro, and Odessa - we are all Ukrainians.

“We have to be united, and only then are we strong.”

During a touching speech yesterday, an interpreter even broke down while translating Zelensky’s words.

In the speech, he said: "Last night was brutal in Ukraine. Again, the shelling, again the bombing of residential areas and civilian infrastructure.

"We will fight as long as it takes to liberate the country. If children are born in shelters, even when the shelling continues, then the enemy has no chance in this — undoubtedly — people's war. To victory! Glory to Ukraine!"

As the conflict continues, talks are set to take place this morning between Ukraine and Russia at the Belarusian border.

For more Ukraine news, follow The Independent’s live blog.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)