Dear ladies and gentlemen! I will speak Czech because it comes from my heart. The first time I stood here was in August 2021 on the occasion of the opening of the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform. And we were here as representatives of the Czech Republic to support you in the fight against russian occupation, in the fight against the russian occupation of Crimea. We agreed that we should support you, and this is our decision.

The second time I stood here was in April 2022. It was less than two months after the russian invasion of Ukraine continued. I saw Borodianka, I visited Irpin, I saw Bucha. I was accompanied by Senator Jiří Růžička, and today the Deputy President of the Senate, Jitka Seitlova, is here. I saw the horror that the russian aggressor is committing, and I also saw the extraordinary pride and courage of the Ukrainian people.

And then, on behalf of the Czech Senate, I took the liberty of presenting the highest award of the Czech Senate, a silver medal, to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, my friend Ruslan Stefanchuk. Today I see that this is not enough. I know that you deserve a gold medal, you deserve our respect for your courage, for your perseverance, for your fight for freedom and democracy. You are fighting not only for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe and the whole world. I thank you very much.

Today I am here for the third time to recall that the continuation of the russian invasion in February 2022 was not the first crime against Ukraine, there were many more crimes. Today, we commemorate the Holodomor, which the stalinist regime organised for the Ukrainian people in order to destroy them. In December 2022, twelve months ago, we made a decision to recognise the Holodomor as genocide against the Ukrainian people.

We thought how can we help you as much as possible, what can we, as senators, the Czech Republic, do? You have a lot of support from us, but I know that you need weapons. However, I could not bring you weapons here to the Parliament. But I brought you at least this. Don't be afraid, it's not a grenade. I have brought you a candle. These candles are made by young Czechs and old people, gentlemen. These candles are made by volunteer organisations. These are the candles we used in the Second World War. A candle like this is enough to keep one room warm, and you can even heat your tea with it. These candles will bring you light and warmth. Ukraine needs a lot of warmth and a lot of light now.

I brought you this light and warmth from the Czech Republic today – this symbol. It is just a candle, but believe me, there is much more light and warmth in our hearts for you. We think about you all the time. You are heroes, you are fighting not only for yourselves but for all of us, for Europe. I would like to symbolically pass this candle to Mr Ruslan. I want to pass it on on behalf of the entire Czech Republic.

Glory to Ukraine!

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