Mr Speaker, dear Mr Ruslan! Dear Chairpersons of Parliaments, Members of the Parliament, dear friends!

 

There are no words, not enough words to convey how deeply I respect you, how much I look up to you and to all the brave Ukrainian heroes who fight every day for their country, for their land against an extraordinary, gross evil that is trying not only to destroy the country, but also everything you are fighting for, for which the whole of Europe is fighting. And you are fighting, and we will always be indebted to you.

I want to thank you, Mr Ruslan, for the opportunity to address you directly. Today is a day of remembrance, but it is also a day of inspiration. So, we hope that it will give us hope for the future. Almost a century ago, the kremlin tried to exterminate you through genocide against the Ukrainian people. The world now says: it will not happen again! Today, when the kremlin is again trying to make Ukraine disappear from the world, we stand by our promises. We say: this will not happen! We stand with you side by side. And when the killings stop thanks to the victory, you will come out of that victory stronger than before. We all understand that we have a responsibility to uphold the values of peace, democracy and freedom.

When I first saw the images of death in 2022, the pictures of February – the killings, the ruins – what could I do in my small, faraway Belgium? I saw men and women supporting your soldiers to keep the country going, they also helped the wounded, and others just woke up in the morning and went back to work to support the country as well. In the face of powerful evil, one person may not be able to stand, but together, as a group, you can defeat an entire empire.

There are some things that upset me to the core. Here is Dmytro, 15 years old. Two years ago, he was adopted. The russians told his parents that they were taking him to a holiday camp for a few weeks, a break from the horror they had started. The parents tried to prevent this, but were unable to resist, and they still do not know where the boy is.

Bohdan was deported a year ago. Last week was his birthday, but he was not able to celebrate because instead of a birthday cake and a party, he received a letter from the russian government: he is 18 and has to go to the moscow army. And, most likely, he will be sent back to Ukraine – not to go home, but to fight with his family, his loyal countrymen. This is a complete distortion of the truth.

Bohdan is not the only one. More than 20,000 Ukrainian children are under threat. They (russians) can put them on the altar of putin's intentions. We already know about the millions who disappeared during the Holodomor. I ask myself, what can I do, how can I help?

Our inter-parliamentary working group is working, and I believe that my role is to bring the children, these abducted children, back home. From the very beginning of the invasion, we have been thinking that no one can be silent, no one should be silent, everyone in Europe, in the world, should support you. If there are any good hearts in this world, and there are many, then we must all do what we can to bring these children home. And when we bring them back, we must give them peace, prosperity, security, we must give them a world without war, a world without putin.

My dear friends! Just yesterday, the Belgian Senate voted in favour of a resolution to bring these children home. But this is just a resolution, which is not enough. My country and I will do more. You have our unequivocal support, our friendship, our constant help. I want to hand you this Resolution. I hope that it will bring peace one step closer and bring your children home.

Glory to Ukraine!

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