For a man who was unknown to most of the world until just a few short weeks ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has become one of the globe’s most admired figures.
In the face of a brutal invasion of his country by Vladimir Putin’s forces, he has remained steadfast and unwavering in his determination to inspire his nation to repel the invaders.
And so while it remains outgunned — despite military aid from the West — by a numerically superior Russian force, Ukraine has defied the odds and remained standing, if battered in some areas beyond recognition.
Mr Zelensky rejected offers from the West of sanctuary away from his country and his regular broadcasts to the nation — and the world — have become a rallying point of the conflict.
The Ukrainian leader has repeatedly urged the West to do more to stop Putin, and has been beamed into many of the Parliaments of nations who support him to deliver his message directly.
On Thursday it was the Australian Parliament’s turn.
Speaking to the House of Representatives, Mr Zelensky welcomed an additional $25 million in aid offered by Australia to help Ukraine fend off Russia, but said more help was needed.
“The most terrible thing is if we don’t stop Russia now,” he said. “The threat to global security is decided now.”
He said despite the distance between Australia and Ukraine there were shared values between the two nations and he was grateful for Australia’s support.
The President said “they are killing our children” as he spoke about the atrocities being inflicted by Russia but said that they had not “burned down” our “dignity” or freedom.
He said Russia was behaving like the “evil that humanity thought they had forgotten a long time ago”.
And he warned that other nations may follow Russia’s lead if the globe did not stand up to them.
He said if Russia had been punished properly for its role in the downing of MH17 perhaps it would not have been emboldened to attack Ukraine.
“Unpunished evil comes back with inspiration,” Mr Zelensky said. “We need powerful sanctions against Russia.”
Mr Zelensky said the threat Russia was posing was real and countries far away like Australia could also feel the impacts.
He is correct. The downing of MH17 and terrible loss of life that brought about showed we are not immune to Russia’s thuggery.
Had the world gone earlier and harder to hold Putin to account over that action and other blatant violations of international law, such as the annexation of Crimea, then maybe he would have been deterred from unleashing the wider invasion of Ukraine.
And as the conflict drags on it is more important then ever that the West remains determined not to allow Putin to succeed — for the sake of Ukrainians and their country, and to ensure others do not decide they can follow his lead in future.
Responsibility for the editorial comment is taken by WAN Editor-in-Chief Anthony De Ceglie