WASHINGTON (AP) – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky referred to Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of Wednesday, September 11, 2001, asking the US Congress to do more to help Ukraine in the fight against Russia, but acknowledged the no-fly zone he has sought. close the sky ”over his country may not happen.
Live at the Capitol Zelensky complex said the U.S. should impose sanctions on Russian lawmakers and block imports, and showed a packed hall of lawmakers an emotional video of the devastation and devastation his country suffered in the war.
“We need you right now,” Zelensky said, adding: “I urge you to do more.”
Calling on the Russians for a more serious economic blow, he said: “Peace is more important than profit.”
Lawmakers applauded him standing before and after his brief remarks, which Zelensky began in Ukrainian through an interpreter, but then switched to English in a sincere appeal to help stop the bloodshed.
“I don’t see meaning in life if it can’t stop death,” he told them.
Approaching a three-week mark in an ever-escalating war, Zelensky is using the world’s leading legislators as a stage to call on allied leaders to stop Russian air strikes that are destroying his country. It also put Zelensky at odds with President Joe Biden, whose administration has refused to secure a no-fly zone or drop military planes from neighboring Poland as the U.S. seeks to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia.
Instead, Biden will make his own statement after Zelensky’s speech, in which he is expected to announce additional $ 800 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine, according to a White House official. This will bring the total amount announced last week to $ 1 billion. According to the official, who is not authorized to give public comments and spoke on condition of anonymity, they include money for air defenses and air weapons.
Appearing in his now-trademark army green T-shirt when he addresses world leaders, Zelensky has become a heroic figure at the heart of what many consider to be the greatest security threat to Europe since World War II. Almost 3 million refugees fled Ukraine, which was the fastest outcome in our time.
The Ukrainian president is no stranger to Congress, which played a central role in Donald Trump’s first impeachment. As president, Trump was accused of refusing security assistance to Ukraine when he pressured Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden’s political rival. Zelensky spoke on a giant screen with many of the same Republican lawmakers who have renounced impeachment or condemned Trump, but are among the bipartisan centers in Congress that now require military assistance to Ukraine.
He thanked the American people, saying that Ukraine “thanks” for the support, and in particular Biden, even though he urged Biden to use his office to do more.
“You are the leader of the nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world, ”he said sadly. “To be a leader of the world is to be a leader of the world.”
Referring to Shakespeare’s hero last week, Zelensky asked the British House of Commons whether Ukraine should “be or not be”. On Tuesday, he addressed “Dear Justin”, addressing the Canadian Parliament and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Zelensky called on the leaders of the European Union at the beginning of the war to make Ukraine’s politically unimaginable and quick membership – and he continued to seek more help to save his young democracy than world leaders had promised.
Biden insisted that there would be no American troops in Ukraine, and resisted Zelensky’s relentless requests for military aircraft to be too risky, potentially escalating into a direct confrontation with nuclear Russia.
“The direct conflict between NATO and Russia is World War III,” Biden said.
U.S. defense officials say they were embarrassed by Zelensky’s demand for additional combat aircraft. They say that Ukraine does not often fly the planes it has now, while making good use of other weapons provided by the West, including Stinger missiles to shoot down helicopters and other planes.
The Biden administration is seeking to send Ukraine “more that works well,” according to an official who is not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Biden administration has already sent Ukraine more than 600 Stinger missiles, 2,600 Javelin anti-armor systems, unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance radars; grenade launchers, 200 rifles, 200 machine guns and nearly 40 million small arms ammunition, as well as helicopters, patrol boats, satellite images and body armor, helmets and other tactical equipment, the official said.
Despite the fact that Zelensky and Biden talk on the phone almost daily, the Ukrainian president has found in Congress a potentially more receptive audience.
This will not be the first time he has addressed members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, who remain extremely united in their support for Ukraine. Nearly two weeks ago, Zelensky made a desperate request to about 300 lawmakers and employees on a private call to, if they failed to impose a ban on flights, at least send more planes.
Congress has already approved $ 13.6 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and recently announced security aid will come from the allocation, which is part of a broader bill Biden signed on Tuesday. But lawmakers expect more help will be needed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Zelensky had asked for help in rebuilding his country when they spoke last week. It was in this call that Zelensky asked to speak in the US Congress, to which the leader of the Democrats readily agreed.
“Congress, our country and the world are delighted with the people of Ukraine,” Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Monday.
The next point of Zelensky may be Spain. The Speaker of the Congress of Deputies of Spain invited the President of Ukraine to address the Spanish legislators by video link.
In a letter to Zelensky, Speaker Meritchel Battet wrote that the appeal “would be a great opportunity for the House, the entire Spanish people and thousands of Ukrainians living in Spain to hear your message and express our strong support.”
Associated Press authors Aamer Madhani, Ellen Nikmaer and Chris Megerian and Raf Casert from Brussels, Jill Lawless from London, Aritz Parra in Madrid and video journalist Rick Gentil contributed to this report.