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What did Ukrainian president Zelensky say in Copenhagen speeches?

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The Local ([email protected])
What did Ukrainian president Zelensky say in Copenhagen speeches?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Denmark in his speech in Copenhagen on August 21st. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky dominated proceedings at the Danish parliament on Monday when he met lawmakers, members of the royal family and gave a speech to a huge crowd in front of the Christiansborg parliament.

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Zelensky’s visit, which had been kept closely under wraps by Danish authorities, began on Sunday when he landed at the Skrydstrup airbase in southern Jutland as Denmark, alongside the Netherlands, confirmed the donation of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

He then travelled to Copenhagen, where he gave a speech to lawmakers inside parliament while Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska visited the children’s department at Rigshospitalet.

The Ukrainian presidential couple also met Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik at Christiansborg.

Zelensky then gave a speech in the presence of massive security in front of the parliament, attended by a huge crowd, many of whom waved Danish and Ukrainian flags.

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Speaking in English, Zelensky said the words “thank you”, “thank you very much” and “thank you so much” repeatedly throughout the speech in reference to the donation of the aircraft.

This was also the case during his speech inside the parliament, where he told lawmakers “we are here to say thank you”.

“We are here to say thank you for helping us in our battle for freedom,” he said.

He also argued for the importance of European support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.

“Russia says openly that Ukraine is not enough. They will continue the battle into Europe. I’m sure you hear it from Moscow. All of Russia’s neighbours are threatened if Ukraine doesn’t win. All democracies can become a target,” he said.

“But Ukraine will win,” he said.

Many elements of the 12-minute public speech referred to the strong support among the Danish public for Ukraine’s defence against the invasion by Russia.

“Like each and every one of you here, it is clear. In every Danish family, in every (one of) your homes where you wish us victory in this battle for freedom just as much as we wish it. I thank you all,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president is known for sprinkling his speeches to foreign audiences with local words and Monday’s was no different.

Hej. Hej,” he said to laughter in the crowd at the start of the speech.

He finished the address by saying that after the war, “we will come [and visit] you”.

“Maybe sit together somewhere,” he said, appearing to improvise from the prepared speech.

“And we’ll say ‘skål’,” he said, raising an imaginary glass.

Jeg takker Danmark” (“I thank Denmark”), he then said, eliciting further cheers from the crowd, followed by Slava Ukraini ("Glory to Ukraine”) in his own language.

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