The War in Ukraine: What to Remember from Zelensky’s Exchange with French Students

The Ukrainian president has decided to address the French students for an hour this Wednesday from 1 pm to 2 pm. Video conference broadcast at certain universities in France.

The intervention was prepared by the Ukrainian Embassy who contacted several French institutions including École polytechnique, Sciences Po and La Sorbonne.

Thus, the Ukrainian president addresses the French youth and exchanges students with students.

Follow the speech directly:

Director of Sciences Po in the preamble

Matthias Fischerat, Director of Science Po spoke first.

He said that there was solidarity in universities, especially with the reception of Ukrainian students in France. He also explained the astonishment caused by this war.

Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech

Then the floor was taken by Volodymyr Zelensky. Speaking directly from Kyiv.

He thanked for this exchange and said: “This is the seventy-seventh day of Russia’s war.”

Refers to May 1968 and his famous “Forbidden Forbidden”. It aims to convince young people of the need for security.

Asking, “How can a man or a group of men start war and destroy security.”

He describes the repercussions of the war in his country, before asking why we have come to this in Europe.

“Maripol used to be a beautiful city. Now it’s just ruins.”

Five answers are not enough

He explained that after his speech he would meet 5 students, they would be more. But for him, this is not enough.

He also wishes to be a dialogue to ask questions to the students and hopes that there will be a real exchange.

asking questions

So he touched on the issue of NATO and the European Union…

It also raises the question: “Why did the Russian soldiers enjoy torturing the Ukrainians. How do you explain that?”

He describes the rapes of women, even children, the severed heads, and the mutilation.

“Why did the Russian soldiers cut their heads off? Why did they break the fingers? Why did the Russian soldiers rape children in front of their parents?”

“How can you imagine such a thing, how can you rape an 11-year-old child in front of his mother’s eyes. What should be in the minds of his people?”.

He points to the Nazis who committed such atrocities and why the duty of remembrance did not maintain security?

It also raises a question about how to speed up international justice and how to implement it.

Are you ready for politics? What do you think if your dad became president?

“I would like you to understand how I feel between my position as the head of a country at war and my role as a father?”

Gives the floor to exchange

Then Volodymyr Zelensky gave the floor for this exchange. After a round of applause.

Victor Maash, student at the Ecole Polytechnique

Victor Maash, a student at the École Polytechnique, began: “It is a great honor to speak to you. And if my father were president, I would be proud of him.”

And his question: How do you see the end of the war?

Volodymyr Zelensky replied: “For Ukraine, the war will end when peace returns, and when our lands are restored.”

He added, “We want to restore peace and freedom to our country and return our students.”

“When Russia gives us back our right to live and does not want it at the moment, when we give back what is ours, the war will be over.”

“At the moment, Russia is not listening to us, but maybe they will.”

But that’s their decision, we keep fighting, we keep negotiating.”

Caroline Weil, INSP . student

Caroline Weil, an INSP student who started with the fact that the process of joining the European community is certainly very long.

His question is about the millions of refugees in Europe and the consequences for Europe and Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president refuses to talk about refugees, it is these residents for him who had to move, but those temporarily displaced people who are destined to return to their country, Ukraine.

He remembers that the men remained to fight.

He also invited everyone to come and visit Ukraine once the war ended.

He thanked France for welcoming these residents.

As for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, he wants it, but he also wants it from other countries. We can bring a lot to the European Union.”

“But promises cannot last. I think it is unfair, Ukraine is a country in itself in Europe, but it wants the same respect, no more but no less.”

Matthew Dalison, student at the Sorbonne

Then it was the turn of Matthew Dalison, a student at the Sorbonne.

His question concerns Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

Volodymyr Zelensky answers: “I am convinced that Russia is putting pressure on some countries not to want to join NATO. But many countries want to join,” giving the example of Finland and Sweden.

“Everyone wants to be protected and live safely in their home with their family.”

“Why did Russia go to war in Ukraine? For me that’s because they don’t see us as a separate country.”

“Our independence scares him.”

Anna Karen Aguero-Rojo, student at Science Po PSIA

Anna Karen Ajuru-Rugo, a Science Po PSIA student, asked the fourth question.

It is about how to end the war and establish a long-term peace with Russia.

About this lasting peace, the Ukrainian president replies that “it is impossible to guarantee peace with the Russian Federation without a legal document.”

These types of deals do not work with Russia.

“Only a large coalition of the many signatories to this document will be our only guarantee of security.”

This agreement must include strong armaments and a strong army.”

Zoriana Haniak, a Ukrainian student at Inalco

It was Zoryana Hanyak, a student of Ukrainian origin at Inalko, who spoke next.

She addressed President Zelensky in Ukrainian.

“I am the third generation of Ukrainians in France.”

His question is simple: “How can one effectively help Ukraine as a student in France?”

President Zelensky: “One of the important things is political support as you do it.”

“Students are the future. I ask you to be the best student you can be.”

Sasha Wards, student at the Sorbonne

Then put Sasha Wards, a student at the Sorbonne.

It began with the fact that “memorial speeches are dangerous to expansionist ends.”

His question concerns Russia’s nuclear weapons threats.

The president replied, “We know that Russia is not the only country that uses this kind of threat.”

Sanctions must be imposed in the face of these threats.”

“It shows that there is a complete mismanagement of the agreements in this regard.”

“If we don’t control these kinds of threats, there is a risk.”

Elodie Papin, international relations student at Sciences Po

The floor was taken by Elodie Papin, a student in international relations. “I don’t know why some choose evil over good.”

His question: You are a young president, how are you and how do you live this war on a daily basis?

The chief replied that she was absolutely right, no one had an answer to the question of evil.

For him, “They are no longer human, they are criminals, there is a shift in their brains. We have remained human and I would like to remain that, thinking man.”

As for our war, Ukraine has fought for its independence more than once in its history.

“Today we are fighting a war for freedom and independence. I want this war to end with victory.”

“How to live during this war, I don’t know. I want to end this war with a victory because this victory is first and foremost the freedom of Ukraine.”

Giovanna Martins Vial, student in humanitarian law

The last question was posed by Giovanna Martins Vial, a student in humanitarian law.

“I was in Ukraine as a freelance journalist three weeks ago.”

His question: How do we explain the suffering of the Ukrainian people?

President Zelensky answers: “I don’t know if we can understand if we don’t see it. We can’t understand it to the end.”

“Make the people understand that all their suffering must be endured, because it affects the whole West.”

It is a matter of civilization. Ukraine is resisting.

As the boss allows more time, another student will ask a last question.

Gaspard, student at the Sorbonne

Gaspard, a student at the Sorbonne asks, how can we play a role in helping Ukraine?

The president specifies that the youth of his country invested in defending its territory. She is on the front.

“Energy is a great force and the youth have that energy. It is important to win.”

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