Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy brought his push against Russian aggression to Congress on Wednesday, addressing members of the legislative body with weeks of the Russian invasion of his country already behind him and those involved — and with civilian casualties and wide-scale destruction mounting. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians, including 2,500 in the city of Mariupol alone, have already died from Russian attacks. Not that any credible source outside of Russia believes Putin’s propaganda anyway, but the Russian characterization of the war as a confrontation with armed factions in Ukraine is a lie — they’re striking and killing civilians. On Wednesday in the U.S., a standing ovation from those who were present, including House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who was on-stage preparing to introduce Zelenskyy, met the Ukrainian leader. (He also received a standing ovation when he concluded his remarks.) Zelenskyy commented as follows:
‘Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided — the destiny of our people. Whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy. Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, not just our cities — it went on a brutal offensive against our values. Basic human values. It threw tanks and planes against our freedom; against our right to live freely in our own country, choosing our own future; against our desire for happiness; against our national dreams — just like the same dreams you have — you Americans. Just like anyone else in the United States… In your great history, you have pages that would allow you to understand Ukrainians, understand us now, when we need you right now.’
All trade with Russia must be stopped! So that it can't sponsor the killing of our children. Ukrainians all over the world! Contact politicians, talk to journalists, put pressure on business to leave the Russian market. So that their dollars & euros aren’t paid for our blood
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 15, 2022
Zelenskyy pointed to moments of horror in U.S. history including Pearl Harbor and 9/11, comparing these sobering junctures with what Ukrainians are currently experiencing under the weight of the Russian invasion. Zelenskyy explained that “Russian troops have already fired nearly 1,000 missiles at Ukraine, countless bombs, they use drones to kill us with precision.” Zelenskyy subsequently reiterated his push for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would entail forcibly keeping Russian aircraft from traversing Ukrainian skies — something that Putin’s regime would no doubt see as an escalation but which Zelenskyy is obviously understandably behind considering the existentially threatening conditions in Ukraine. He said that an “alternative” that Ukrainians would accept would be the provision of certain defense systems that the country could use in its fight against the Russian onslaught. He specifically cited defense aircraft.
President Zelenskyy: "Peace is more important than income."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 16, 2022
As the president summarized it: “Ukraine is grateful to the United States for its overwhelming support, for everything that your government and your people have done for us — for weapons and ammunition, for training, for finances, for leadership in the free world, which helps us to pressure the aggressor economically. I am grateful to President Biden for his personal involvement, for his sincere commitment to the defense of Ukraine and democracy all over the world.” But, Zelenskyy said, he wants to see more, such as further withdrawals of U.S. companies from the Russian marketplace and additional sanctions targeting individuals like Russian politicians behind Putin’s regime. Watch Zelenskyy’s Wednesday remarks below: