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Ukraine’s President Addresses Japan Parliament

Members of Japan's lower house parliament applaud as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivering a virtual address to Japanese lawmakers in Tokyo, March 23, 2022.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Japan’s parliament Wednesday, thanking members for their early support against Russia and urging them to do more.

Speaking to the Japanese lawmakers in Tokyo via live video link – the first such address by a foreign leader in Japan’s history – with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sitting in the front row, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi beside him, Zelenskyy said Japan was the first among Asian nations to apply sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Japan has followed the lead of Western allies in imposing sanctions on Russian financial institutions and officials, as well as Moscow's ally, Belarus. It has regularly condemned the invasion and has offered Ukraine millions of dollars in humanitarian aid and other assistance.

In his comments, Zelenskyy also called for a trade embargo against Russia to reduce funding for the Russian army. He said it was necessary to protect the Ukrainian soldiers fighting to hold back Russian troops.

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He said Russia has launched more than a thousand missiles into Ukraine, destroying dozens of cities, and, considering the number of nuclear power plants in the country, threatening a nuclear disaster.

Zelenskyy said, "There are four operating nuclear power plants on our land! These are 15 nuclear units, and they are all under threat.” He said Russian troops have already fired from tanks at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia. He said the shelling threatens gas and oil pipelines and coal mines.

Lawmakers applauded at the start of Zelenskiyy's remarks and gave him a standing ovation at the end.

Zelenskyy delivered a similar address to the French parliament later Wednesday. Previously he addressed legislators in Italy, the European Union, The United States, Britain and Canada.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.