The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, received a standing ovation at the Spanish Cortes yesterday, Tuesday 5th April, as he compared Russia’s invasion of his country to the bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
The Ukrainian leader was addressing the Spanish lower house of parliament in much the same way as he has addressed the US Congress and UK House of Commons as well as other western parliaments– appealing for international aid and support for his beleaguered country.
Zelensky told MPs: “It’s April 2022 but it seems like April 1937 when the whole world heard about one of your cities, Guernica.”
The ancient town was targeted by Franco´s nationalists forces during the 1936-1939 Civil War and was bombed by Hitler’s ‘Condor Legion’ in the first mass aerial bombing of a civilian city in modern times.
The bombing was the inspiration for Pablo Picasso´s masterpiece of the same name that hangs in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.
In reply, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez underlined the admiration of the Spanish people for the dignity and resistance with which he and his people “are defending freedom and democracy” in the face of Russia’s brutal aggression.
Sanchez continued that: “Spain supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. I call on Putin to come to the negotiating table in earnest and to put an end to the war”.
Sánchez insisted: “We never thought we would again see horrifying images of bombings and killings of innocent civilians on European soil. These are war crimes that we cannot allow to go unpunished”. For this reason, Spain is among the 40 countries that have requested an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
President Zelenskyy recalled that Ukrainians, who have been suffering from Putin’s war for 42 days, want peace and a country without dictatorship. Zelenskyy detailed that Russia is attacking the values on which the European Union is based, such as democracy and human rights, family security and the right of Ukrainians to have a future.
In March, Ukraine submitted its application for EU membership. Pedro Sánchez said that Ukraine will have Spain’s support on the road to transformation and adaptation because “the future of Ukraine is in Europe”.