Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave an impassioned speech to Congress about life and death, as he highlighted the 100 children who have already been killed in Ukraine amid the war with Russia. He called on President Joe Biden to be the “leader of peace,” during an emotional closing statement, where he’d pleaded with both Republicans and Democrats to do more to help Ukraine on Wednesday March 16.
"Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace," Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says to Congress. pic.twitter.com/sT2MlaqKxW
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 16, 2022
After showing a devastating video contrasting Ukraine during peaceful times with the terrifying attacks that the country has faced since Russia’s invasion, Zelenskyy closed his speech by emphasizing how important it is to lead through peace. “Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Peace in your country doesn’t depend anymore only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you and those who are strong,” he said. “I’m addressing President Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world, means being the leader of peace.”
The end of the video called for leaders to “close the sky over Ukraine.” During his speech, he called for more U.S. companies to pull business out of Russia and asked Congress to impose further sanctions on Russia. “Peace is more important than income,” he said. He also pleaded for further aid, including financial support and weapons, if necessary.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy showed this powerful video to Congress, depicting Ukraine before and during the invasion.
The video ends with a familiar call for a no-fly zone: "Close the sky over Ukraine." pic.twitter.com/8nG0w9sv4y
— The Recount (@therecount) March 16, 2022
Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked for the United States’ support in the battle against Russia. Shortly after forces invaded Ukraine, the leader pushed back against foreign offers to help him evacuate the country. Instead he responded that he wanted to fight to defend it. “I need ammunition, not a ride,” he said, per The New York Times. In a more recent address to congress, Zelenskyy had asked for Congress to issue a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a ban on Russian oil, and more jets to help in the battle, according to The Times. The congressional address came the day after he addressed the Canadian parliament with similar calls for help and a plea for a no-fly zone, via ABC News.
The same day that Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February, President Joe Biden had announced new sanctions against Russia and showed solidarity with Ukrainians. When Biden gave his State of the Union, he’d invited Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova to sit with First Lady Jill Biden in a further show of support. As Biden spoke about the crisis in Ukraine during the speech, the first lady gave the ambassador a hug. Ahead of Zelenskyy’s address, Biden signed a new bill offering billions in military support and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, per ABC News.
Zelenskyy’s wife Olena Zelenska has joined her husband in speaking out against Russia’s horrific attacks on Ukraine. The first lady has shared photos and videos of terrifying attacks that Russian forces have made that including one that hit a maternity hospital and killed innocent women and children. She’s also implored people around the world to speak out against the attacks and the disinformation that the Russian government has shared. “Despite the assurances of Russian propagandists and the Kremlin’s mouthpieces, there are already dozens of civilian victims in Ukraine,” she wrote in one Instagram post.
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