May 22, 2023
HIROSHIMA — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a speech in Hiroshima on Sunday that called strongly for peace in his war-torn country.
Zelenskyy was speaking in front of assembled media on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, following a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum earlier in the day.
“Although the weapons the enemy is using against Ukraine aren’t nuclear, the Ukrainian cities bombed by Russia look very much like the scenes of Hiroshima I saw at the museum,” Zelenskyy said, speaking in Ukrainian. “We must eliminate war from the history of mankind.”
“Only one terrorist state, Russia, has shelled a nuclear power plant,” he said, underlining Russia’s ongoing aggression against his country. “Russia is using the nuclear power plant as a shield to attack Ukrainian cities.
“Without acting on the evil and the folly perpetrated by Russian forces, the world will be turned to ruins,” the president added. “If we don’t deal with [Russia], the leaders of other nations are likely to want to wage war.”
Halting Russian aggression, he said, would also serve “to stop aggressors from launching future wars.” He added, “Any nation that tries to start a war in the future will know that it cannot do so.”
The Ukrainian president went on to say: “Hiroshima has now been rebuilt. We’re dreaming that Ukrainian cities, full of rubble left behind by Russia, will be rebuilt.”
Zelenskyy concluded the speech by saying, “I sincerely thank the people of Japan.”
During a question-and-answer session following his oration, Zelenskyy was asked what had made the deepest impression on him during his museum visit. “There were many horrific photographs,” he said. “I became tearful when I saw the images of small children before the atomic bomb was dropped. I see similar photos every day in Ukraine.”
Touching upon what he expected of Japan, the president said, “[Ukraine] needs both immediate reconstruction plans and long-term projects.”
“Today, I spoke with the Japanese prime minister about energy, railroads, infrastructure development and medicine. Japanese technology is important in these areas, and we hope for future benefits,” he added.