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In address to Congress, Zelenskyy urges US leaders to 'do more,' invokes 9/11, Pearl Harbor

Russia's invasion is now nearly three-weeks old. Ukraine's capital Kyiv and other major cities remain under relentless missile attacks

Published: March 16, 2022 8:20am

Updated: March 16, 2022 11:37am

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday morning made an urgent, desperate plea to the U.S. to "do more" to help his country defend against Russia's deadly invasion, reminding Americans of the horrors of the 9/11 and Pearl Harbor attacks. 

"We need you to do more," Zelenskyy said in a video address to Congress. "I call on you right now."

The foreign leader spoke from Kyiv, which remains under relentless Russian missile attack as the invasion reaches the three-week mark.

"Just remember," Zelenskyy said about the tragic September 11, 2001, and the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, attacks on U.S. soil roughly 81 years ago.

"Remember Pearl Harbor, the terrible morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you," Zelenskyy 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."

Zelenskyy also repeated his request for the U.S. to impose or help impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine skies to thwart Russia's deadly missile attacks. 

While such a maneuver has garnered some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, President Biden and his administration have remained opposed it over concerns about further provoke Russian President Vladimir Putin and drawing the U.S. into direct conflict with Russia.

For similar reasons, the administration has also said no to the transfer of military jets from Poland. 

Acknowledging such concerns, Zelenskyy on Wednesday asked for surface-to-air missile systems as an alternative.

Zelenskyy also asked for all U.S. businesses to withdraw from Russian markets and sanction on all Russian politicians, amid those already imposed by the U.S. and allied nations.

Though he remained composed during the roughly 25-minute speech, Zelenskyy's words and delivery made clear the desperation of his country and the geopolitical impact of Putin's invasion.

"We are fighting for the values of Europe and the world," he said.

Calling specifically upon President Biden, Zelenskyy said, "Being the leader of the world, means being the leader of peace."

Biden will deliver his own address following Zelenskyy’s speech, in which he is expected to announce an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, a White House official told the Associated Press.

That amount would bring the total aid figure supplied in the last week alone to $1 billion. It includes funding for armor and air-defense weapons, said the official.

Zelenskyy, the comedic actor-turned wartime leader, has already made similar addresses to the British House of Commons, and on Tuesday to the Canadian Parliament and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He will address the Israeli Knesset on Sunday.

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