Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked American history as he pleaded for the United States to impose a no-fly zone and do more to help his country fend off Russian aggression during a speech to Congress, Axios reports.
Zelensky spoke to members of Congress via video link after three weeks of war, calling on President Joe Biden to “be the leader of the world.”
"Remember Pearl Harbor, the terrible morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you,” Zelensky said. “Remember Sept. 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked from the air.”
"Our country is experiencing the same every day, right now, at this moment,” he continued. “Every night for three weeks now ... Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people."
Zelensky called on the United States to “do more.”
The Ukrainian leader repeated his call for a no-fly zone, which the Biden administration and European allies have ruled out because it could result in a direct armed conflict between Russia and NATO troops.
Acknowledging that a no-fly zone may not have enough support, Zelensky asked Congress to provide Ukraine with surface-to-air missile systems to help defend its sky.
Zelensky also urged the US to impose new sanctions “every week until the Russian military machine stops.”
He asked Congress to sanction every Russian government official and block all trade with Russia.
Zelensky shows graphic video:
During his remarks, Zelensky showed lawmakers a graphic video depicting the devastation in major Ukrainian cities caused by Russian attacks.
“I ask you to watch one video, a video of what the Russian troops did in our country,” Zelensky said. “We have to stop it, we must prevent it, prevent or destroy every single aggressor who seeks to subjugate other nations. Please watch the video.”
The videos showed scenes of children playing in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Kherson before showing the damage caused by Russian missiles on residential areas.
"Today, the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine. We are fighting for the values of Europe and the world in the name of the future. That's why today the American people are helping not just Ukraine, but Europe and the world to keep the planet alive," Zelensky said.
"Now, I'm almost 45 years old. Today, my age stopped when the heart of more than 100 children stopped beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths."