Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Zelensky pleads for U.S. help in emotional address to the Congress

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On Wednesday, March 16, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addressed the United States Congress. In an eloquent plea for help, he alluded to the invasion of his country as being comparable to some of America’s most harrowing tragedies.

Zelensky invoked the American fundamentals of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the ability of people to choose their own government in his impassioned plea. In the CNN coverage of his appeal, Zelensky called the likenesses carved on Mount Rushmore “the faces of your prominent presidents, those who laid the foundation of the United States of America as it is today— democracy, independence, freedom and care for everyone, for every person, for everyone who works diligently, who lives honestly, who respects the law.”

Continuing that Ukraine wants the same liberties for its people, Zelensky simply said to the lawmakers, “we need you right now.” It was here that the Ukrainian leader remindedCongress of December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001, when “evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories in battlefields. When innocent people were attached from air.” This is an allusion to the Russian airstrikes, which are devastating Ukraine right now.

At this point, Zelensky once more asked for a no-fly zone to be created over Ukraine to save lives. The Biden administration has rejected this proposal as they fear it would draw the United States into an active war with Russia. Zelensky also asked for assistance in the form of weapons and aircraft to better fight Russian forces. Calling “peace more important than income,” the besieged president called for more sanctions to be put in place against Russia and even against Russian politicians.

A fascinating aspect of Zelensky’s address was a proposal to create an agreement called U-24. He described this as “a union of responsible countries that have the strength and consciousness to stop conflicts immediately, provide all the necessary assistance in 24 hours.”

Zelensky asked Congress to “watch one video, video of what the Russian troops did in our country, in our land.”The graphic footage showed dead and wounded children. Russian forces are targeting civilian areas and violating international law.

At the end of his address, Zelensky switched to English and issued a plea directly to President Biden as he implored, “it is not enough to be the leader of the nation. Today takes to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. I am addressing President Biden, you are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world.”

This emotional cry for help, which included Zelensky channeling Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous monologue, “I have a dream,” received a standing ovation from everyone in the auditorium.


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