Like Britain in WWII, Ukraine will not surrender, Olena Zelenska tells MPs

Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine compared Russian invaders to Nazis as she called for justice in an address to MPs and peers.

Speaking in a busy committee room in Westminster, she said through a translator: "Ukrainians are going through the terror, which will resonate with you.

"Your islands survived the air raids, which were identical to those that Russia uses now to put us on our knees.

"We're hearing sirens every day identical to those which were heard by earlier British generations. You did not surrender and we will not surrender.

"But victory is not the only thing we need. We need justice."

House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle introduced the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by saying it was parliamentarians' duty to "keep the world awake" to the horrors of Russia's invasion as he praised her "bravery".

04:02 PM

Afternoon Summary

Olena Zelenska's address to British MPs has capped off another busy day in the conflict.

  • The Ukrainian First Lady is in London, and visited Buckingham Palace for a reception with the Queen Consort, before addressing MPs in Parliament.

  • She said: "Your islands survived the air raids, which were identical to those that Russia uses now to put us on our knees. We're hearing sirens every day identical to those which were heard by earlier British generations. You did not surrender and we will not surrender."

  • Russian missile strikes on energy infrastructure in Ukraine constituted a "war crime", German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said after hosting talks with his G7 counterparts.

  • At least 88,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since February's invasion, the Ukrainian government has claimed.

03:51 PM

Lord Speaker quotes Roosevelt

The Lord Speaker continues: "To quote president Roosevelt: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

"Thank you for your attendance today. We are all humbled."

And with that, the speeches have concluded.

03:48 PM

Ms Zelenska hands over

Ms Zelenska closed to a large, warm reception.

Now, the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith is speaking.

"You are inspiring us to raise awareness," he says.

"The women of Ukraine have demonstrated immense bravery, facing the fear and uncertainty that every day brings."

03:45 PM

'We need to unite the world'

"I am asking you a small favour to become the world leader in the effort for justice." Ms Zelenska says.

"We need it so that the world can survive. We can see terror online. We can see it live. I believe that London can give the decisive impetus to make the world better."

03:39 PM

Russia leaving mines behind

"Our enemy wants to hit us with the darkness and cold." Ms Zelenska says, referring to the energy squeeze by Russia and its targeting of critical energy infrastructure.

"Russia brought systematic violence to Ukraine. We have documented thousands of crimes by Russians. We have found torture chambers.

"Over 2,000 miles of soil are covered in mines and unexploded ordnance."

03:36 PM

Zelenska compares Russians to Nazis

"Dozens of cities have suffered from the Russian blitz," says Ms Zelenska.

"Ukrainians are going through a terror that will resonate with you. We hear air raid sirens every day which are identical to those of past British generations.

"It was unthinkable to think that the crimes of the Nazis would go unpunshished. We have to do the same. We need justice for the people who suffer from the missiles."

Ms Zelenska and Sir Lindsay Hoyle
Ms Zelenska and Sir Lindsay Hoyle

03:33 PM

Big names in the room

Former prime minister Boris Johnson is among those in the room.

Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey were among those in attendance, as well as Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and a host of MPs from across all parties.

03:30 PM

Zelenska receives standing ovation

Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska has arrived at Parliament to address MPs.

She received a standing ovation as she entered the room with Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle.

03:07 PM

Zelenska said it 'means a lot' to have been invited to the palace event

Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska said it "means a lot" to have been invited to the palace event.

Speaking to the PA news agency through a translator, she said it is important that the democratic world unites in the face of violence against women and girls.

She said many rapes had been committed since the invasion of Ukraine.

"It means a lot to be here. We now face a huge amount of rapes of Ukrainian women and children by Russian soldiers," she said.

"This afternoon I will have the honour to speak in front of the Parliament of the UK.

"The youngest victim of rape (in Ukraine) is four and eldest is 85.

"When the efforts of the democratic world unite to combat challenges like this, it always gives hope that we will win."

She is expected to appear in parliament shortly.

02:51 PM

Ukrainian First Lady visits Buckingham Palace

Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska has joined the Queen Consort at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Camilla is hosting an event to reception to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, as part of the United Nations' 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

The event is being attended by around 300 people including survivors and their families, as well as celebrities including former Spice Girl Melanie Brown and television presenter Lorraine Kelly.

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska - Yui Mok/PA
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska - Yui Mok/PA

Other queens in attendance are Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Rania of Jordan and the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark as well as the First Lady of Sierra Leone.

Camilla spoke with Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Health Secretary Steve Barclay in the white drawing room of the palace.

The Countess of Wessex is also present, as is former prime minister Boris Johnson's wife Carrie and his sister Rachel Johnson.

02:31 PM

Russia abandons battalion tactical groups as conflict reveals weaknesses

Russian forces have likely largely stopped being deployed as battalion tactical groups (BTGs), the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

The ministry said in its daily intelligence briefing that several weaknesses of the BTG concept have been revealed during the war.

People view destroyed Russian vehicles and tanks - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
People view destroyed Russian vehicles and tanks - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

They added that the units have "played a major part in the war", but the "high intensity, large scale combat" of the war to date and lack of combat infantry has rendered them insufficient.

BTGs have been described as one of "the most important determinants of victory" by experts.

"Only these units, in cooperation with other branches of arms and other military services, can perform the full spectrum of defensive and offensive tasks,” the Royal United Services Institute said.

02:09 PM

Russian targeting of Ukraine energy is 'war crime'

Russian missile strikes on energy infrastructure in Ukraine constituted a "war crime", German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said Tuesday after hosting talks with his G7 counterparts.

A Russian campaign of missile strikes has severely damaged Ukraine's energy infrastructure and plunged millions into darkness as the country endures the first snows and chill winds of winter.

"Systematic destruction of the heating and electricity supply" ahead of the coldest months of the year was a "terrible war crime", Mr Buschmann told reporters.

"Many people will fall victim to the winter," Buschmann said after the first meeting of G7 justice ministers, which was attended by the Ukrainian justice minister and prosecutor general.

"War criminals should not and must not be allowed to feel safe anywhere," Mr Buschmann said.

"The members of the G7 group of industrial democracies had to "cooperate better together to combat war crimes", he said.

Mr Buschmann underlined that he was "certain that at the end, we will see war crimes cases at the International Criminal Court against senior Russian leadership too".

01:44 PM

We had 'no choice' but to cancel nuclear talks with US, Moscow claims

Moscow said on Tuesday it had been left with "no other choice" but to cancel talks with the United States about the "New START" nuclear weapons control treaty, Russian state-run news agencies reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Washington had only wanted to discuss resuming inspections while Moscow had other priorities.

The situation in Ukraine also played a part in Russia's last-minute decision to scrap the meeting of the bilateral commission, which had been due to begin in Cairo on Tuesday.

"By and large, the situation was such that we had no other choice. The decision was made at the political level," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr Ryabkov as saying.

"The Americans focused exclusively on the topic of resuming inspections ... meanwhile the solution of other issues has been and remains a priority for us," TASS quoted Mr Ryabkov as saying.

"We have repeatedly explained our position ... but we did not see the slightest desire on the American side to move in this direction."

Ryabkov said Moscow wanted to discuss the broader issue of "strategic stability" - an area that covers a host of nuclear-related issues between the two countries.

01:19 PM

The latest pictures from Ukraine

Here is a roundup of the latest pictures coming out of Ukraine.

A volunteer carries a cage with pigeons onto an evacuation train in the direction of Lviv - Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A volunteer carries a cage with pigeons onto an evacuation train in the direction of Lviv - Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Ukrainian tankers man their positions atop a tank in a muddy field near an undisclosed frontline position in eastern Ukraine - YEVHEN TITOV/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian tankers man their positions atop a tank in a muddy field near an undisclosed frontline position in eastern Ukraine - YEVHEN TITOV/AFP via Getty Images
A man stands near burning garbage in front of an apartment building during a scheduled power cut in Kyiv - OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
A man stands near burning garbage in front of an apartment building during a scheduled power cut in Kyiv - OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Local residents carry the coffin of a 16-year-old girl after forensic inspection - Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Local residents carry the coffin of a 16-year-old girl after forensic inspection - Chris McGrath/Getty Images
People charge their devices, use internet connection and warm up inside a Point of Invincibility a mobile heating point set in the town of Vyshgorod, outside of Kyiv - GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images
People charge their devices, use internet connection and warm up inside a Point of Invincibility a mobile heating point set in the town of Vyshgorod, outside of Kyiv - GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

12:47 PM

Nato not running low on tanks for Ukraine, Lithuanian foreign minister says

Nato is not running low on tanks it could send to Ukraine, Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Tuesday before a Nato foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest.

"Nato is not running low on tanks so therefore if we expand the inventory of what is being sent to Ukraine then Nato has a chance to keep supply going," he told reporters.

12:06 PM

Over 88,000 Russian troops killed, Ukraine says

At least 88,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since February's invasion, the Ukrainian government has claimed.

The country’s ministry of foreign affairs added that as of November 29, 280 aircraft, 261 helicopters and 2,911 tanks had also been destroyed.

Many of the troops killed were conscripts called up as part of Russia’s mobilisation announced in September.

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11:41 AM

Nato commits to future Ukraine membership

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the military alliance's commitment to Ukraine on Tuesday, saying that the war-torn nation will one day become a member of the world's largest security organization.

"Nato's door is open," Stoltenberg said.

"Russia does not have a veto" on countries joining, he said in reference to the recent entry of North Macedonia and Montenegro into the security alliance.

He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin "will get Finland and Sweden as Nato members" soon. The Nordic neighbors applied for membership in April, concerned that Russia might target them next.

11:17 AM

Putin seeks to use 'winter as weapon of war'

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants "to use winter as a weapon of war" in his campaign in Ukraine, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday in Bucharest ahead of a meeting of the alliance's foreign ministers.

"We have to be prepared for more refugees crossing into the rest of Europe," as a result of Russia's "deliberate attack on critical services, heating, light, water, gas" in Ukraine, Mr Stoltenberg said.

A rescuer pushes a trolley with an eldery woman during the evacuation by civilians of the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images
A rescuer pushes a trolley with an eldery woman during the evacuation by civilians of the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

10:51 AM

Air raid warnings issued across all Ukraine

Air raid alerts were issued across all Ukraine on Tuesday following warnings by Ukrainian officials that Russia was preparing a new wave of missile and drone strikes.

10:48 AM

Ukraine struggles to restore full power after Russian attacks

Ukraine was still struggling to restore full power on Tuesday, nearly a week after a wave of Russian missile strikes that damaged energy facilities across the country.

National power grid operator Ukrenegro said the electricity deficit had risen slightly from Monday following emergency shutdowns at several power plants and an increase in consumption as winter sets in.

"As of 11.00 am on November 29, electricity producers provide 70 per cent of electricity consumption in Ukraine. The current capacity deficit is 30 per cent," Mr Ukrenergo said on Facebook and the Telegram messaging app.

Vehicle wreckage ise seen in Ukraine's city of Bakhmut - Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Vehicle wreckage ise seen in Ukraine's city of Bakhmut - Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"We emphasise that the general deficit in the energy system is a consequence of seven waves of Russian missile attacks on the country's energy infrastructure."

Russia has carried out regular missile bombardments on Ukraine's energy infrastructure since early October, with damage accumulating as temperatures drop. The last big wave last Wednesday caused widespread damage.

10:23 AM

Nato chief says alliance won't back down on Ukraine aid

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said the alliance would not pull back in its support for Ukraine, calling on partners to pledge more winter aid for Kyiv as it braced itself for more cold and darkness due to Russian attacks on infrastructure.

Nato foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest are focusing on ramping up military assistance for Ukraine such as air defence systems and ammunition, even as diplomats acknowledge supply and capacity issues, but also discuss non-lethal aid as well.

Part of this non-lethal aid - goods such as fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers - has been delivered through a Nato assistance package that allies can contribute to and which Stoltenberg aims to increase.

"Nato will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down," Mr Stoltenberg said in a speech in Bucharest.

He added that the only way to get the right terms for a negotiation to begin would be for Ukraine to advance on the battlefield.

His comments were echoed by several ministers from the 30-member alliance, who were also joined by Finland and Sweden, as they look to secure full membership pending Turkish and Hungarian ratifications.

09:57 AM

Russia protests Vatican's criticism of 'special military operation' in Ukraine

Russia's envoy has expressed Moscow's strong dissatisfaction to the Vatican following Pope Francis' latest condemnation of the "cruelty" of Russia's actions in Ukraine, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Pope had told the Jesuit magazine America in an interview:

"When I speak about Ukraine, I speak about the cruelty because I have much information about the cruelty of the troops that come in.

"Generally, the cruellest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryati and so on. Certainly, the one who invades is the Russian state. This is very clear."

09:29 AM

Cleverly to meet with allies

Ukraine will be top of the agenda once again when Foreign Secretary James Cleverly travels to Romania this week for a meeting of Nato allies.

The gathering of Nato foreign ministers in Bucharest is expected to focus on how to continue support for Ukraine throughout the cold winter months.

Mr Cleverly, who will reaffirm UK support for the country in the fight against Russia, will also be involved in discussions on how the UK and Nato can solidify support to countries where Russia is accused of exerting a destabilising influence.

Mr Cleverly said: "With Russia's war disrupting peace in Europe it's vital that Nato and its allies look closely at how we shore up our defences to handle the challenges we face today.

"We are united in the long-term objective of supporting Ukraine and further strengthening Nato as a defensive alliance.

"The UK and its Allies will continue to show collective strength in dealing with the complex issues the world faces today, as we are doing in Bucharest today."

Mr Cleverly will travel to Poland after the Nato meeting for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's ministerial council on Thursday.

08:55 AM

Christmas will not be cancelled

Ukrainian leaders are unveiling plans to defy any attempts by the Kremlin to take away hope and holiday spirit while they endure a Christmas at war.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told the RBC-Ukraine news agency in an interview. "We cannot allow Putin to steal our Christmas."

Trees and decorations would be erected across the city, he said.

A worker installs decorative lights for the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in central Kyiv - REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
A worker installs decorative lights for the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in central Kyiv - REUTERS/Gleb Garanich


Sergey Kovalenko, chief executive officer of YASNO, which provides power to Kyiv, said on his Facebook page that to save electricity, the trees will be without illumination and garlands.

"There will be the New Year's-Christmas tree and it will be the most energy-responsible, but still festive for all of us," Mr Kovalenko said.

08:29 AM

US and Russia have used 'deconfliction' line once so far

A communications line between the militaries of the United States and Russia at the start of the war has been used only once so far.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the US initiated a call through the "deconfliction" line to communicate its concerns about Russian military operations near critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

Few details are known surrounding the specific incident that led to the call on the line, which connects the US military's European Command and Russia's National Defense Management Center.

The official declined to elaborate but said it was not used when an errant missile landed in Nato-member Poland on Nov. 15, killing two people.

A Ukrainian air defence missile likely caused the blast but Russia was ultimately responsible because it started the war in late February, Nato said.

Although the official declined to specify which Russian activity raised the alarm, there have been publicly acknowledged incidents involving Russian fighting around critical Ukrainian infrastructure.

These include Russian operations around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's biggest, which is under Russian control.

US-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the Cold War and the US State Department said on Monday that Moscow postponed talks in Cairo aimed at resuming nuclear weapons inspections. The Russian foreign ministry confirmed the talks were postponed. Neither side provided a reason.

08:04 AM

Foreign Ministers visit Kyiv

Ministers from Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania have travelled to Ukraine's capital to once again condemn Russia's invasion.

The leaders sat down with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to pledge ongoing support for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting with Foreign Ministers of seven Baltic and Northern European state - UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting with Foreign Ministers of seven Baltic and Northern European state - UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER/AFP via Getty Images

In a statement late on Monday night, the Finnish government said Russia's continued "missile barrage" against energy infrastructure "aggravates the need for immediate support".

"Accountability matters associated with Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine were another topic of discussion in Kyiv," the statement read.

07:41 AM

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska to deliver Christmas speech in London

Ukraine's First Lady will deliver a Christmas wish from her country when she is in London on Tuesday.

Olena Zelenska is expected to meet British MPs and appear on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, days after Rishi Sunak made his first visit as Prime Minister to Kyiv to meet Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ms Zelenska will urge the British public not to forget the "tragedy" of the Russian invasion amid the festive season.

She told the BBC: "We feel that [strong support] by the aid for our forcefully displaced people, by the political and financial assistance and by humanitarian aid we are receiving from the British.

The Prime Minister's wife Mrs Akshata Murthy welcomes the Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska to 10 Downing Street - Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
The Prime Minister's wife Mrs Akshata Murthy welcomes the Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska to 10 Downing Street - Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

"Ukrainians are very tired of this war, but we have no choice in the matter. We are fighting for our very lives. The British public do have a choice. They can get used to our tragedy, concentrate on their own important things in life.

"My message for the British is as follows: It's not just a war for our freedom and our lives.

"This is the war of opposing world views, the war for the values. It's important that these are preserved. This is a fight for the truth and human values."

The full interview is expected to air later on Tuesday morning.

07:14 AM

'Don't get used to our suffering', says First Lady

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska will continue to use her London visit to rally for ongoing support for her people.

Ms Zelenska visited Downing Street yesterday to spend time with the prime minister's wife, Akshata Murty.

She is expected to address MPs on Tuesday.

"We do hope that the approaching season of Christmas doesn't make you forget about our tragedy and get used to our suffering," Ms Olenska will urge the wider public, during a BBC interview.