In an emotional and graphic speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implored Congress on Wednesday to dramatically amp up military aid to his broken country, saying, “We need you right now.”
Zelenskyy spoke via video link from the heavily bombed capital of Kyiv and showed explicit images of death and destruction wrought by invading Russian troops, who laid siege to Ukraine three weeks ago. Some members of Congress responded with shock.
Zelenskyy used 9/11 and the World War II Attack of Pearl Harbor as examples to show the destruction in his war-torn nation.
“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.
“Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of Dec. 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 U.S. cities into battlefields, when innocent people were attacked from air.
“You could not stop it just like everyone else.” he said. “The same happened in our country for three weeks.”
In asking for the institution of a no-fly zone, which American President Joe Biden has said he doesn’t support, Zelenskyy said Russia “This has made the Ukrainian sky a place of death for thousands.”
He also used the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “These words, ‘l’ have a dream’, are well-known to you all today.” he said. “I have a problem, I need your help to save our skies. I need your support.”
After initially speaking through a translator, Zelenskyy ended his address in English, appealing directly to Biden and the American people.
“To be the world’s leader means to be a leader for peace. Peace in your country does not depend on you or your people. It is dependent on the people around you and those who have strength.” he said.
“Strong doesn’t necessarily have to be big. It can also refer to being brave and willing to fight for the lives of his citizens as well as citizens around the world for human rights and freedom.” he said.
Congress members gave the Ukraine leader a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech.
Meanwhile, the situation grew ever more dire Wednesday in the Eastern European nation.
Ten people standing in line for bread were shot and killed by Russian forces in the decimated Chernihiv, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
“We must end these horrific attacks.” the embassy said on Twitter. The U.S. is “considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine,” the post said.
Social media videos show bodies on the ground where the attack took place.
One poster was Oleksandr Merezhko, deputy head of Ukraine’s parliament, and chair of its Foreign Affairs Committee.