The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

‘Malta must completely block Russian exports and golden passport scheme’, Zelenskyy tells MPs

Semira Abbas Shalan Tuesday, 10 May 2022, 15:44 Last update: about 5 days ago

Malta must completely block Russian exports and the golden passport schemes to aid in the fight against Russian aggression on Ukrainian land, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Addressing the Maltese House of Representatives on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said that the aggression on Ukrainian lands is leading to the complete destruction of Ukrainian cities and the killing of thousands of civilians and military personnel.

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Zelenskyy said that 2,250 missiles have hit Ukrainian cities thus far, and that the bombardments continue to occur day and night. 277 fighting planes roamed the Ukrainian sky, Zelenskyy said.

The Speaker of House Anglu Farrugia addressed Zelenskyy, saying that Malta’s state of neutrality, which is ingrained into the institution, does not allow for the country to intervene militarily. Farrugia said however, that Malta will continue to provide humanitarian assistance both in Ukraine, as well as locally, as the firm belief is that the conflict is to be addressed with parliamentary diplomacy and effective dialogue.

Zelenskyy said that the Ukrainian city of Odessa has been attacked brutally on May 9, where 25 missiles were fired by Russian troops towards civilian targets rather than armed forces. He deemed the attacks as ‘terrorist attacks on civilians.’

 “They also have organised a real hell in the city of Mariupol, where Russians have destroyed more than 90% of all buildings in the city,” Zelenskyy said.

He spoke about the artificial famine the Russian attacks have caused, where troops are also blocking access to water, food and medication for Ukrainians. Zelenskyy said that Russia has blocked ports in the Black Sea in Ukraine, preventing the exports of agricultural products towards the rest of Europe.

He said that Ukrainian troops are in need of more weapons to be able to rescue Ukrainians who are being killed at the frontlines. He also called for more sanctions against Russia to bring about the loss of revenues most valuable to Moscow, as well as the blockage of bank transactions to and from Russia.

Zelenskyy said that Ukrainians have continued their resistance, but they need all diplomatic instruments in order to save them from the war. He said that Europe has failed to provide weapons to rescue civilians and military forces from the city of Mariupol.

He said that the migration crisis - referring to Ukrainians fleeing the country as a result of the war - could increase and continue to be felt in European countries, including Malta.

“After thousands of crimes and killings, looting and rape, the welcoming of golden passports for Russians, is a dangerous thing for all Europeans,” Zelenskyy said.

He said that these privileges for Russians must stop, and that Malta should conduct thorough checks on these individuals as they could be trying to hide something serious.

“Don’t allow to abuse yourself and abuse your island, do your checks on who are Russians are trying to hide, block these people and their propaganda channels,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy commended Malta for its resilience and heroism during World War II which defined the future of Europe and played a role in the freedom and liberation of Europe. He said that in the same way and strength, Europe must combat the tyranny which is currently reigning in Ukraine.

“The war must finish as soon as possible, Russia should be forced as soon as possible to free Ukrainians,” Zelenskyy said.

He called for an embargo and blockage of Russian oil exports towards Malta.

“I am grateful to the decisions you have made and will continue to make in support of the protection of Europe, and I do count on your support,” Zelenskyy said.

 

‘You are not alone, Malta stands with Ukraine’ – Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that too many innocent men, women and children have lost their lives in the war.

He addressed Parliament after President Zelenskyy finished his address.

“In this hour of need, rest assured that our thoughts and prayers are with you all. The Maltese government and the Maltese people are by your side, as we continue to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of your country.”

While Malta is small, and bound in its constitution by the principles of neutrality and non-alignment, “this does not mean that we are silent, blind and deaf to your suffering.”

“To the contrary, we will speak when and where it matters, in international fora and within the structures of the EU.”

Abela said that Malta will continue to advocate for peace and an immediate ceasefire.

“We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine,” he said, while adding that Malta will continue to assist as it has, through the provision of non-lethal equipment, supply of medicine and medical services and contributing to the European Peace Facility.

Malta, he said, also pledged to support the small community of Ukrainians in Malta who fled their home country.

“If there is one more assurance we can give, it is that the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people is not falling on deaf ears.”

He said that Malta will continue to implement agreed EU level actions to put pressure for diplomatic talks to materialise with an aim of putting pressure to end the hostilities.

On the golden passports issue, he said that Malta froze applications for citizens coming from Russia and Belarus and initiated a process which ended in the revocation of citizenship that was granted to a Russian individual who was impacted by sanctions. “We have taken concrete and effective action there.”

He said that Malta’s view is that the only acceptable solution to the conflict is the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, followed by dialogue and effective peace talks. “The Attack on Ukraine is an attack on the guiding principle of the UN and international law.”

“You are not alone, Malta stands with Ukraine.”

'PN is prepared to politically support Ukraine's EU membership application' - Grech

The PN is politically prepared to support Ukraine's application for European Union membership, PN leader Bernard Grech said while addressing Parliament.

"As we have repeatedly and publicly stated, this war does not only concern Ukraine, but it is an attack on the entire world" he said.

 He added that if attacks on Ukraine are left unpunished, it also means that attacks on Europe have gone unpunished, as Ukraine should be able to call it home.

Grech said that despite Malta being a small state, during the WW2 it was a "beacon of light in a sea dominated by darkness," overcoming Nazi enemies, which is why the George cross still embellishes the Maltese flag.

"Although we cannot provide equipment or financial support, we have a heart that reaches out to you", he said.

The opposition leader said that the PN together with the EPP are ready to defend and promote Ukraine's application to become an EU member state.

He said that back in 2004, when Eddie Fenech Adami was Prime Minister, He (Fenech Adami) was the prime mover pushing for Malta to become a member state, despite the many challenges faced.

He added that it is thanks to Europe that Malta can now enjoy military and financial security without belonging to a military alliance, but "this does not mean that we do not have an opinion; we deserve to be heard".

Grech said that until Ukraine can call Europe its home, it shall be supported by 'friends and allies', of which the PN forms part.

 

 

Photos: Newsbook - Miguela Xuereb


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