The invasion of Ukraine began February 24 as Russian soldiers and vehicles moved in to take over the Eastern European country. Almost three weeks later, speaking via an interpreter, Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States, but in an emotional appeal, pressed for more. The former actor-turned-world leader voiced his appreciation of American support and aid, but stressed that more is needed, especially, if not with the implementation of a No-Fly Zone, then more military equipment.
In an address live-streamed from Ukraine, Zelenskyy spoke to U.S. House and Senate members assembled in the Congressional Auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center. Invoking historic moments when the United States was attacked, President Zelenskyy asked, “Remember Pearl Harbor? Remember September 11? Our country experiences the same every day right now.”
Bringing forth the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Zelenskyy again stepped to the line that the U.S. refuses to cross, a ‘No-Fly Zone.’
“Is it too much to ask for a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine, that would stop Russia? If this is too much to ask for, then “I have a dream.” I have a need to ask for your help.”
In continuing his call for a ‘No Fly Zone,’ the Ukrainian leader also recognized the unlikelihood of that happening. Instead, Zelenskyy asked for additional weapons, saying if keeping Russia out of Ukrainian skies is too much to ask, “we offer you an alternative.” The weapon request includes Soviet-era anti-aircraft missile systems, surface-to-air missiles, and armed drones. He also asked Congress to call for all companies in their districts still doing business with and in Russia to get out.
A video included in the speech presented lovely images of life as recently as one month ago and stark images of death today. The video closed with the message, “Close the sky over Ukraine.” He followed the video, speaking in English, asking President Biden to not only be the leader of the world but also, “the leader of peace.”
Shortly after the Zelenskyy speech, President Biden addressed the nation, pledged more support, and added the U.S. will be sending in the form of an additional $800 million in military assistance, bringing the total to $1 billion sent in the past week. Mr. Biden then signed the legislation to provide aid and security to Ukraine.
A short while later, based upon the actions of Russians in the sky and on the ground, President Biden called Putin, “a war criminal.”
Why You Need to Know:
As much as the United States wants, pledges, and should do for the people of Ukraine, I hope those giving standing ovations and support to President Zelenskyy Wednesday, will continue to give help to our own in the days, months, and years to come.