Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed young Australians directly yesterday, sharing his experiences as a world leader during wartime.
Zelensky spoke through video link via the Australian National University Centre for European Studies, where he addressed more than 3000 students from more than 21 participating universities across the country.
He spoke of the ongoing war in his country and the ever-important support required from overseas countries and allies.
“You can’t just sympathise, I will be frank,” he said. “We thank you for your moral support but you also need to support us with deeds for us to have the opportunity to win. We need support with concrete actions.”
Sitting between two large Ukrainian flags, his 15-minute speech compared Russia and their actions to terrorism. “No one wants to have anything to do with those people who harmed us.”
Zelensky addressed the hundreds of people at the event at ANU hall, in addition to the thousands of students and faculty who watched online.
One student from Swinburne University asked the president how he viewed China’s attitude and behaviour towards this war.
Zelensky said: “We see that Russia is losing its economic allies – it is not very full-scale, but still, it loses it. And I would like China to join the unified world position on the tyranny of Russia against Ukraine.”
He then admitted he preferred China to be neutral rather than showing outright support for Russia.
Earlier this year the president gave a similar live address to students across several universities across the UK. It seems president understands that students around the world are the future and that he sees the power in young Australians.
“Students are so important. I think this has never happened in Australian history,” he said.
“And I think Australia has done much better than other countries in terms of turnout and number of people. In terms of the numbers, I think Australia has demonstrated that you know how to punch above your weight.”
His address further solidifies the link between Australia and Ukraine.