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Zelenskyy appeals for no-fly zone over Ukraine, more military assistance in address to Congress

Asks Biden to be 'leader of peace'
Zelenskyy Congress
Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 12:55:11-04

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed directly to the U.S. Congress Wednesday for more military assistance and the enforcement of a no-fly zone over the country as Russia continues its assault on Kyiv.

Zelenskyy, through a translator, invoked images of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 hijackings in calling on the U.S. and NATO allies to enforce a no-fly zone.

"Our country is experiencing the same every day," Zelenskyy said. "Russia has turned the sky into a source of death into thousands of Ukrainian people."

Zelenskyy also appealed for more military assets from the U.S. In particular, he called on the military to provide Ukraine with planes "to protect our sky."

"I need your decision, your help," Zelenskyy said.

He also thanked President Joe Biden and Congress for their unwavering support but asked them "to do more." Specifically, he called on the U.S. to pass more economic sanctions to further cripple Russia's economy. He also asked the U.S. to sanction influential Russian lawmakers directly.

After showing a short video of the devastation caused by Russia's invasion, Zelenskyy addressed Biden directly, in English.

"You are the leader of the nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world is to be the leader of peace," he said.

Despite Zelenskyy's pleas, Biden and NATO have been reluctant to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. They believe such an action would force the U.S. and NATO to engage directly with Russian forces, which could cause the war to spill out beyond Ukraine.

Biden's views mirror those of other NATO allies, who say they will continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine but will not engage with Russia directly unless they invade NATO territory.

Zelenskyy's address was the latest in a series of speeches he's delivered to Western leaders in which he's pleaded for additional military equipment and weapons to fight off invading Russians.

Zelenskyy spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Monday in an effort to "quickly end the war" and achieve "honest peace."

While Israel is sympathetic to Western values and democracy, the country finds itself in a precarious position. Russia's military presence in Syria has protected Israeli forces from Iranian enemies, causing Israel to tread lightly when it comes to the situation in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia said they would all travel to Kyiv in a show of support to Zelenskyy and Ukraine.

"The aim of the visit is to express the European Union's unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence," Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in a tweet.