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Zelenskyy tells Irish students to “take care” of their freedom


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Irish college students to “take care of your freedom”. 

Zelenskyy addressed Irish third-level students via video link at the Helix at Dublin City University on Friday, while the event was also live-streamed to all other third-level students in Ireland. 

Zelenskyy told Irish students that he was grateful for the “incredible warmth” that Ireland had shown by taking in 63,000 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion began at the end of February, noting that many young students are now attending Irish schools and colleges. 

“I can tell you, select any time and you know that you and your government and your society have helped Ukraine in many ways. And as you mentioned that no matter your neutral status, you’re absolutely not neutral in your attitude, in your assistance,” Zelenskyy said during Friday’s address. 

“Take care of your freedom. And glory to Ukraine.” 

Zelenskyy also spoke about the Russian Government’s decision to issue sanctions against Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, and more than 50 other Irish politicians and officials, describing the sanctions as “propaganda”. 

Zelenskyy said the list of sanctions “don’t really affect anything” and were “more of a propaganda thing”. 

The Ukrainian President told Irish students that the war with Russia was also being fought on social media, stating that Russia has been spreading “disinformation” to countries in Africa and Asia. 

“For the truths to be spread, it’s very difficult. It’s hard to overcome the false information… and it’s a component of this information war.

“We were powerful in the beginning of the war, we realized that we cannot (fight) Russia only with weapons on the battlefield because they have more of those weapons.

“But in the informational domain, we knew that if we would be able to penetrate this wall, to penetrate this informational lies, if we would be able to overcome this, in that case, would be able to unite the whole world and I believe that we did very well.” 

Zelenskyy added that Ukrainians were “fighting for their independence”, adding that he did not feel the pressure of leading the country in the middle of an invasion. 

“I’m a calm person… Well, not every day surely. My team knows because there’s different days, different moments. That’s frankly speaking.” 

Zelenskyy’s address has been planned since the summer when Ukraine’s Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko suggested it to the Irish Government. 

Gerasko addressed the event, stating that Russia was trying to “punish” those who defend international law and support Ukraine. 

She said the decision to sanction more than 50 Irish politicians and officials was “yet another demonstration of such blatant conduct”. 

Minister for Further Education Simon Harris described the address as an “important and historic day”. 

“I think it’s fair to say that this is a moment of history, as President Zelensky takes time to speak to students here in Ireland, the future leaders of this country, to speak to students here in The Helix but also in 20 other locations right across our country today, students listening in to the President of Ukraine at this truly important time in global history.

“When history is written, let it be clear, we stood up and we spoke out, and we supported Ukraine.”





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