(NewsNation) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an address to U.S. Congress on Wednesday as he works to rally support as the Russian invasion of his country continues.
“Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided,” Zelenskyy said to members of the House and Senate. “We need you right now. I call on you to do more.”
He asked the U.S. to “please take the lead” while citing Pearl Harbor and the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in his appeal. Zelenskyy thanked Congress for its overwhelming support but he says he needs more aid.
The Ukrainian president has specifically sought air support to battle the Russians, including the transfer of Soviet-era MiGs from Poland, but the Pentagon has closed the door on that idea for now, worried it could escalate U.S. involvement.
“New packages of sanctions are needed until the regime stops,” Zelenskyy said. “Is this a lot to ask for, to create a no-fly zone Zone over Ukraine to save people.”
In calling for more economic hit to the Russians, he said: “Peace is more important than income.”
With Congress’ attention, Zelenskyy also proposed a new conflict response initiative.
“We need new alliances. We propose to create an association, U24, united for peace, a union of responsible countries that have the strength and consciousness to stop conflict immediately,
provide all the necessary assistance in 24 hours: weapons, sanctions, humanitarian support, political support, everything you need to keep the peace and quickly,” he said.
Lawmakers gave him a standing ovation, before and after his remarks.
The remarks come one week after Zelenskyy’s stirring address to the U.K. Parliament that carried echoes of Winston Churchill during World War II. Earlier this month, Zelenskyy spoke by video with House and Senate lawmakers, delivering a desperate plea for more military aid.
“What we’re seeing everyday is the fight for freedom. The sacrifices people are willing to make for the freedom we take for granted,” Sen. Joe Manchin said on “Morning in America.” “I hope that we would do the same and with that, that means giving him the support that we can for him to defend himself.”
Manchin adds, “I hope he understands we’re there for him.”
As the invasion of Ukraine stretches into a third week, Russian forces have escalated their bombardment of Kyiv, a relentless onslaught that keeps deepening the humanitarian crisis in this war.
This comes amid a NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll that found there is broad support for continuing to arm the Ukrainians in their fight against Russia, as well as for the economic sanctions imposed by the United States. But Americans draw a line: They are almost as strongly against using U.S. troops to defend Ukraine.