Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday morning as he pressed his case for additional backing by western powers to intervene further against Russian assault.
During his livestreamed remarks, delivered partly in Ukrainian and concluding in English, Zelenskyy asked U.S. lawmakers to think about key moments in American history—including the attacks on Pearl Harbor and those on 9/11—where courage was demanded and its people fought back against outside enemies.
The people of Ukraine “need you right now,” said Zelenskyy. “I call on you to do more.”
In addition to his remarks, Zelenskyy asked the members of Congress to watch a short video montage showing the human carnage and devastation that has taken place in the country since the Russian invasion began three weeks ago. The graphic footage, played over music, was clearly produced to create an emotional impact on the lawmakers and Zelenskyy said that the loss of life among civilians, especially children, is what pains him most as the onslaught continues.
“I see no sense in life if it cannot stop death,” he said.
The Ukrainian president called on President Joe Biden to be “the leader of the world” by doing more to confront Russia and help put an end to the war.
Citing unnamed European diplomats, the New York Times reported ahead of the speech that “Ukrainian officials plan to present the United States with a list of military equipment they need, including armed drones and mobile air-defense systems, as Mr. Zelensky addresses Congress.”
“Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace,” Zelenskyy said as he concluded his address.
Zelenskyy during his remarks repeated his call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a demand that the Biden administration and NATO leaders have thus far rejected, fearing it would result in a broader war with Russia.
“While we understand and sympathize with Zelensky’s pleas for help,” said the peace group CodePink following the speech, “it’s important we remember that a No-Fly Zone would be catastrophic for Ukraine and the world.”