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Australian parliamentarians fall silent to listen to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech

Dressed in a black T-shirt, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky drew a rare silence from the House of Representatives as he appeared on a TV screen above MPs’ heads to describe the mass devastation Russia was inflicting on his country.

Parliamentarians who a few hours earlier had been bickering in what was probably the final question time before the election, were wordless as they leant forward to listen to Mr Zelensky warn that no country was safe from Russia’s “nuclear blackmail”.

Senators and diplomats had filed into a packed public gallery to watch the speech, which was delivered via translator.

When Mr Zelensky appeared on the screen the chamber rose to give him a standing ovation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Australian parliament in Canberra on Thursday.
Camera IconWhen Mr Zelensky appeared on the screen the chamber rose to give him a standing ovation. Credit: Unknown/Parliament House

Mr Zelensky, who has become somewhat of a global celebrity in recent weeks, acknowledged the applause, placing a hand on his heart.

He looked tired but unshakeable as he spoke about Russia’s downing of MH17 eight years ago in which 38 Australians were killed, to issue an appeal for Australian armoured vehicles and more weapons.

When he finished with a final plea for Australia’s assistance in defeating the “enemy” Russia, MPs were on their feet again as Mr Zelensky raised his fist to salute them.

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