US President Joe Biden on Wednesday authorized massive military aid to Ukraine, shortly after Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelensky implored the US Congress to create a no-fly zone over the your country, a request that has not been fulfilled.
“You are the leader of a nation, of your great nation. I hope you are the leader of the world. To be the leader of the world is to be the leader of peace,” Zelensky said, addressing Biden during a broadcast videoconference speech. live in Congress and on all television stations in the country.
Shortly afterward, Biden confirmed an additional $800 million military aid to Ukraine, representing an “unprecedented” one-billion-dollar package in the space of a week to help the Ukrainian army fend off Russian troops invading the country. parents.
However, as might be expected, Biden did not heed the request to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine because, for Washington, this would lead to a direct confrontation with Russia and, as Biden himself said on another occasion, to ” Third World War”.
The American president has promised to help the Ukrainian army get more effective equipment, such as “longer-range” air defense systems, as requested by Kiev, to fight the invasion decreed by Russian head of state Vladimir Putin, whom Biden has branded. of “war criminal” and “autocrat” this Wednesday.
Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives, clarified on CNN that these are the “S-300”, Russian surface-to-air missile systems, which could be sent to Ukraine by other NATO member countries.
Ukraine will also receive 800 “Stinger” air defense systems, 9,000 anti-tank systems, about 7,000 light weapons, 20 million ammunition and drones.
Pearl Harbor, September 11
Zelensky spoke for the first time before the floor of the US Congress, following a similar initiative in the British and Canadian parliaments.
In a grave and angry tone at times, the Ukrainian president implored the United States and its Western allies to do more to save their country from Russian invasion, reminding them of the darkest periods in their history.
“In your great History, you have pages that allow you to understand the Ukrainians”, “remember Pearl Harbor, on that terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was darkened by the planes that attacked them”, he said, to the refer to the air attack on the naval base that led to the United States’ entry into World War II.
“Remember 9/11, that terrible day in 2001,” he added.
More than three weeks after the start of the Russian invasion, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and forced some three million people to flee their homes, Zelensky addressed the Congress from an unknown location in Kiev to tell him that his country is fighting a “terror that Europe has not experienced in 80 years”.
‘I have a dream’
The Ukrainian president also recalled the more than 100 children who died, “whose hearts no longer beat” because of the war. The 44-year-old told lawmakers he doesn’t see “the meaning of life if you can’t stop death.”
The comedian-turned-wartime leader paraphrased black civil rights activist Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech to urge lawmakers to create a zone no-fly.
“I have a dream, these words are known to all of you. Today, I can say, I have a need, the need to protect our skies. I need your decision, your help.”
“Is it too much to ask to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people? Is it too much to ask for a humanitarian no-fly zone?” he added, before showing an emotional video of his country being bombed.
At the end of the video, the following caption appeared: “Close the skies over Ukraine”.
Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner said he was “incredibly moved” by Zelensky’s speech but did not support the establishment of an eventual no-fly zone.
Without going so far as to support the closure of Ukrainian skies, many congressmen echoed Zelensky’s pleas for Washington to help negotiate the delivery of Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine, including Poland’s MiG fighter jets and surface-to-ground missile systems. air S-300.
Zelensky received a standing ovation from all the lawmakers, who were adorned with blue and yellow brooches, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and also cheered for Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, seated in the second row.