Mar 16, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged American lawmakers to do more to protect his country from Russia’s invasion in an address to the U.S. Congress and pleaded with President Joe Biden to be the world’s “leader of peace.”
“Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people,” Zelenskyy said in a virtual address before showing graphic video of death and destruction in his country that ended with an appeal to “close the sky over Ukraine.”
“Is this a lot to ask for – to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people? Is this too much?” Zelenskyy asked in remarks from Kyiv, a capital city attacked every day that he said “doesn’t give up.”
Zelenskyy closed with a direct plea in English to Biden: “I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
Zelenskyy received standing ovations before and after his remarks.
There is bipartisan support for Ukraine in the U.S Congress with Democrat and Republican lawmakers saying after the speech that they were ready to do more for Ukraine by tightening its grip on Russia, providing more military aid, including aircraft, and tightening international human rights law.
They did however, once again reject the no-fly zone proposal, saying there was a “great danger” of a full-scale war with nuclear-armed Russia. Biden and NATO have also opposed the creation of a no-fly zone.
The White House has not backed a proposal to help move Russian-made MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, although the idea has some support in Congress – especially in opposition Republicans.
Biden has signed into law $13.6 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine to help it obtain more weaponry and for humanitarian assistance.
He previously announced a ban on Russian energy imports and called for a suspension of a trading status that lowers tariffs on Russian exports.
Support for Ukraine is a rare instance in which Republicans and Biden’s fellow Democrats have aligned in the otherwise sharply divided Congress.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic caucus,said referring to the proposal to impose a no fly zone, “The carnage is not coming from Russian airplanes and the Russian air force, it’s coming from the ground and from missiles,”
Republican Representative Liz Cheney said the United States has done a great deal and should do more quickly, noting that Biden can do more on his own.
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