Translator chokes up as he covers President Zelensky's heroic speech

Translator chokes up as he covers President Zelensky’s heroic speech to the European Parliament declaring Ukraine ‘is fighting for our land and our freedom’

  • Translator became emotional and his voice broke as he translated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to the European Parliament
  • He managed to make it through the address but he was forced to pause during Zelensky’s speech as he was overcome with emotion
  • The President addressed the European Parliament remotely from Kyiv and spoke of the ‘tragedy’ unfolding after ‘five days of full-scale invasion’ by Russia 

A translator became choked up while covering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to the European Parliament as he declared that Ukraine ‘is fighting for our land and our freedom’.

The translator, who has not been named, became emotional and his voice broke as he read out Zelensky’s words for MSNBC on Tuesday.

He managed to make it through the address but he was forced to pause during Zelensky’s speech as he was overcome with emotion.

The President addressed the European Parliament remotely from Kyiv and spoke of the ‘tragedy’ unfolding after ‘five days of full-scale invasion’ by Russia.

A translator became choked up while covering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to the European Parliament as he declared that Ukraine ‘is fighting for our land and our freedom’

As Zelensky began describing how Russian shelling has pounded the Freedom square in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and killed dozens, the translator became emotional. 

He began translating the Ukrainian leader’s speech into English, saying: ‘Can you imagine, this morning, two cruise missiles hit Freedom Square.  Dozens killed. This is the price of freedom.’

The translator’s voice then cracked with emotion and he choked out: ‘We are fighting just for our land. And for our freedom.’  

The man took a deep breath and managed to continue with Zelensky’s speech, adding: ‘Despite the fact that all of our citizens are now blocked, nobody is going to enter and intervene. Believe you and me, every square, no matter where it is. 

‘Nobody is going to break us, we are Ukrainians.’

He added: ‘We want our children to live. It seems to me that this is fair. Yesterday, 16 children died. And again, President Putin will say ‘this is an operation, and we are beating the military infrastructure.’ Where are our children? What military factories do they work at? ON which rockets? Maybe they ride in tanks? You killed 16 children!

‘We are fighting for our rights – freedom and life – and now we are fighting for survival. And this is our main motivation. But we are also fighting to be equal members of Europe. The EU will be much stronger with us. Without you, Ukraine will be alone.

‘Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans, and then life will win over death and light will win over darkness. Glory to Ukraine.’

Smoke and flames rise up the side of Kyiv’s 1,300ft TV tower after Russia bombed it on Tuesday. The tower remained standing but buildings around it were damaged, with some broadcasts knocked off air

Transcript of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech

This morning was a very tragic one for us. Two cruise missiles hit Kharkiv, the city, which is located to the borders of the Russian federation. 

There were always many Russians there and they were always friend, there were warm relations there. More than 20 universities are there. It’s the city that has the largest number of universities in our country. 

The youth is bright, smart there. The people who gathered there all the time and was gathering there all the time for celebrating all celebrations in the largest square in our country – the Freedom Square. This is the largest square in Europe and that’s true. 

This is called the Freedom Square. Can you imagine, this morning, two cruise missiles hit this Freedom Square. Dozens killed. This is the price of freedom. 

We’re fighting just for our land and for our freedom. 

Despite the fact that all the cities of our country are now blocked nobody is going to enter and intervene with our freedom and believe you me, every square from today, no matter what it’s called, is going to be called Freedom Square, in every city of our country. 

Nobody’s going to break us, we’re strong, we’re Ukrainians. 

We want our children to live. It seems to me that this is fair. Yesterday, 16 children died. And again, President Putin will say ‘this is an operation, and we are beating the military infrastructure.’ Where are our children? What military factories do they work at? ON which rockets? Maybe they ride in tanks? You killed 16 children!

We are fighting for our rights – freedom and life – and now we are fighting for survival. And this is our main motivation. But we are also fighting to be equal members of Europe. The EU will be much stronger with us. Without you, Ukraine will be alone.

Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans, and then life will win over death and light will win over darkness. Glory to Ukraine.

 

 

On Saturday, a German interpreter has burst into tears while translating a speech by Zelensky. 

The journalist, who has not been named, started crying as she read out Zelenskyy’s words for Welt.

She made it part-way through the press conference before her words were drowned out by tears through the microphone.

The politician had been giving an update on the precarious position Ukraine was in as Russian troops bang at the door to Kyiv overnight.

Zelensky’s address to the European Parliament on Tuesday came as explosions erupted around Kyiv’s 1,300ft TV tower this afternoon, just hours after Russia told civilians to evacuate because it was about to begin bombarding ‘strategic’ targets in the Ukrainian capital. 

At least two large blasts were seen near the foot of the tower, around three miles from central Kyiv, around 5.30pm local time. It was not immediately clear whether the tower had been the target of the strikes, or whether they had been targeting nearby buildings. The tower remained standing, but several state broadcasts went off air. 

It came shortly after Moscow’s ministry of defence said it would be launching strikes into the city targeting Ukraine’s security service and intelligence agencies with what it called  ‘precision munitions’.

That raised fears that Kyiv was about to come under heavy bombardment after the cities of  Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kherson were hit by indiscriminate shelling earlier in the day.

A column of Russian artillery units and tanks 40 miles long has been pictured snaking its way towards Kyiv as analysts warned it will likely be tasked with surrounding the city, besieging it and bombing it into submission as Putin resorts to ‘medieval’ tactics in an attempt to force victory.

Meanwhile Ukraine warned that Belarus had also thrown its own soldiers into the fight with an attack on the north eastern city of Chernihiv. 

Day 6 of the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II has found Russia increasingly isolated by tough economic sanctions that have thrown its economy its disarray and left the country practically friendless, apart from China and Belarus.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, with a population of about 1.5 million, at least six people were killed when the region’s Soviet-era administrative building was hit. Explosions tore through residential areas, and a maternity ward was moved to an underground shelter.

Kharkiv’s Freedom Square – Ukraine’s largest plaza, and the nucleus of public life for the city – was struck with what was believed to be a missile, in an attack seen by many Ukrainians as brazen evidence that the Russian invasion wasn’t just about hitting military targets but also about breaking their spirits. 

Smoke rises around Kyiv’s main television tower after several explosions near the base of it on Tuesday afternoon

A partially-destroyed building and burned-out van are seen in the streets in Brovary, near Kyiv, after attacks by Russian forces

A burned-out car and rubble is seen strewn in the streets in Brovary, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, amid fears the Ukrainian capital is about to come under heavy Russian bombardment

The strike blew out windows and walls of buildings that ring the massive central square, which was piled high with debris and dust. Inside one building, chunks of plaster were scattered, and doors, ripped from their hinges, lay across hallways.

‘People are under the ruins. We have pulled out bodies,’ said Yevhen Vasylenko, representative of the Emergency Situations Ministry in Kharkiv region. In addition to the six killed, 20 were wounded in the strike, he said.

Zelenskyy called the attack on Kharkiv’s main square ‘frank, undisguised terror,’ blaming a Russian missile and calling it a war crime. ‘This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation,’ he said.

In an emotional appeal to the European Parliament later, Zelenskyy said: ‘We are fighting also to be equal members of Europe. I believe that today we are showing everybody that is what we are.’

He said 16 children had been killed on Monday, and he mocked Russia’s claim that it is going after only military targets.

‘Where are the children, what kind of military factories do they work at? What tanks are they going at, launching cruise missiles?’ Zelenskyy said.

In a worrying development, Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Local residents have also reported the use of the munitions in Kharkiv and the village of Kiyanka, though there was no independent confirmation.

If confirmed, that would represent a worrying new level of brutality in the war and could lead to even further isolation in Russia.

The Kremlin denied Tuesday that it has used such weapons and insisted again that its forces only have struck military targets – despite evidence documented by Associated Press reporters of shelling of homes, schools and hospitals.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said earlier this week that he plans to open an investigation into possible war crimes.

Unbowed by Western condemnation, Russian officials upped their threats of escalation, days after raising the specter of a nuclear attack. A top Kremlin official warned that the West’s ‘economic war’ against Russia could turn into a ‘real one.’

The first talks Monday between Ukraine and Russia yielded no stop in the fighting, though the two sides agreed to another meeting in the coming days.

Throughout the country, many Ukrainian civilians spent another night huddled in shelters, basements or corridors. More than a half-million people have fled the country, and the U.N. human rights office said it has recorded the deaths of 136 civilians. The real toll is believed to be far higher.

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