Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska accuses Russian forces of four-year-old girl's rape

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on the visit of the First Lady of Ukraine to the UK

Ukraine's First Lady has accused invading Russian forces of sexual violence and rape during the war in her country.

Olena Zelenska told MPs and peers in Westminster: “We do not know how many boys and girls and women and men became the victims of torture and violence brought by the Russian occupiers.

“But it’s important to understand that Russia brought the systematic violence.”

Through a translator, she said “torture chambers” were found in many towns and villages previously occupied by the Russian military.

“We have documented thousands of crimes including sexual violence.

“The youngest girl who was raped by the Russian occupiers was four years old. The oldest survivor was 85.”

She urged the UK to become a leader in helping Ukraine achieve “justice” against President Vladimir Putin as she told the story of "victims of torture and violence brought by the Russian occupiers."

Her speech, in Parliament's committee room, was part of a visit to London, in which she urged the UK and other allies to seek justice against alleged Russian war crimes.

Her visit has focused on the use of sexual violence and rape by Russian forces in the months-long war, which is now heading into a long winter.

She also came bearing a stark message, as she linked the Ukrainian experience to British suffering during World War II.

In front of a Union Jack and Ukrainian flag, she said: “Justice like victory is not possible without allies.”

She argued that the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have the legal force to punish Moscow for its invasion.

She said: “We need to start the special tribunal against the crime of aggression of Russia against Ukraine, which will enhance the work of the ICC and not weaken it.

“We need to unite the world community just as it happened in January 1942 to support the special tribunal against the aggression of Russia against Ukraine.

“I’m asking you a small favour to become the world leader in the justice efforts.

“I believe that London can give this decisive impetus so that the world can become better, fairer, thanks to you.”

The First Lady of Ukraine said “thousands of crimes” perpetrated by Moscow’s forces have been documented in her country. Credit: Parliament TV

Speaking in a busy committee room in Westminster, she said: “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 Zelenskyy by saying it was parliamentarians’ duty to “keep the world awake” to the horrors of Russia’s invasion as he praised her “bravery”.

Boris Johnson, the former prime minister who had offered vocal support to Ukraine during his premiership, attended the speech alongside the Labour leader, as well as the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt was also in attendance, alongside MPs from across all parties.

Mrs Zelenska's speech to parliamentarians on Tuesday came after she visited Downing Street and met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, on Monday.

Ukraine will be top of the agenda once again as 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 discuss how to continue support for Ukraine throughout the cold winter months.

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