Washington: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday made an emotional appeal to US lawmakers for greater Western intervention against the Russian attack.
In a landmark virtual address to US Congress, President Zelensky invoked Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 attacks, and Martin Luther King Jr as he showed a video of the destruction of his cities as a result of Russian attacks carried on for three weeks now.
Zelensky demanded that the United States and its NATO allies should impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, so that “Russia would not be able to terrorize our free cities”.
“Friends, Americans, in your great history, you have pages that would allow you to understand Ukrainians, understand us now, when we need you right now,” he said via a translator.
Switching to English, Zelensky addressed US President Joe Biden directly saying: “I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.
“Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you,” Zelensky said.
“Just remember it, remember, September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn US cities into battlefields, when innocent people were attacked from air, just like nobody else expected it and you could not stop it. Our country experiences the same, every day, right now at this moment.”
His speech received standing ovations from the members of Congress, much like Zelensky’s prior addresses to the UK and EU parliaments.
Biden later promised to keep sending aid to Ukraine and also announced an additional $800 million in security assistance.
In a speech, in which he once again condemned Russia’s attacks, he said: “America is leading this effort, together with our allies and partners, providing enormous levels of security and humanitarian assistance that we’re adding to today and we’re going to continue to do more in the days and weeks ahead.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the speech as “quite remarkable.”
“(We’re) grateful that he was grateful to United States for all that we have done and what President Biden has done,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was an “incredibly effective speech” but that “the message to President Biden is that he needs to step up his game.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced the West’s programmes against Russia and its sanctions a “blitzkrieg”, which he said had failed.