Ukrainian President Zelensky to address UK MPs about Russian invasion
By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will give a “historic address” to MPs on Tuesday by video link, it has been announced.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he had granted the request for Mr Zelensky to read a statement to the House of Commons at 5pm on the Russian invasion of his country.
Sir Lindsay said: “Every parliamentarian wants to hear directly from the president, who will be speaking to us live from Ukraine, so this is an important opportunity for the House.”
“Thanks again to our incredible staff for working at pace to make this historic address possible.”
MPs will be able to watch the speech on screens installed overnight above either side of the chamber, House of Commons officials said.
More than 500 headsets will be made available to enable the UK’s elected representatives to hear a simultaneous translation in English.
There will be no questions at the end of the address to Mr Zelensky, who is reportedly at risk of assassination by pro-Russian groups in Kyiv.
Reports have suggested the Ukrainian leader will call for more arms to help defend his country and renew demands for a no-fly zone to stem the Russian attack.
The UK and Nato allies have consistently ruled out policing Ukraine’s skies, with concerns it could escalate and broaden the conflict, with Vladimir Putin also declaring that any third party involvement in a no-fly zone would be read as active participation in the battle.
During diplomatic meetings on Monday, Boris Johnson agreed with allies that more defensive support needs to be given to Ukraine.
The Prime Minister met his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte at Downing Street, with No 10 saying they agreed to “continue to support Ukraine economically, diplomatically and with defensive equipment.”
Mr Zelensky addressed MEPs in the European Parliament last week and on Saturday gave a virtual message to the US Senate as his country’s defence against the incursion continues.