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08 December, 2022
 
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Zelensky to US Congress: 'Is it too much to ask for a no-fly zone?' (video)

Ukrainian President makes heart-wrenching plea to protect skies, while asking for more military weapons

Source: Daily Mail

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine is going through 9/11 and Pearl Harbor every day, urged the US to protect his skies as he invoked Martin Luther King and the Founding Fathers in a heart-wrenching speech to Congress on Wednesday morning.

Just as Zelensky was preparing to speak with lawmakers, Russian forces shot and killed 10 civilians standing in line for bread in the north-central city of Chernihiv, Ukraine.

He also confronted President Joe Biden and told him to become the 'leader of the free world', demanded more sanctions for Russia to stop the 'war machine', asked for fighter jets and shared devastating footage of civilians being maimed in Kyiv as he called on lawmakers to 'do more' to protect his country.

'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. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace,' he told members in the sobering address to Congress before a standing ovation.

Zelensky also called for a new alliance outside of NATO to prevent future attacks and protect from Vladimir Putin's bullying and invoked the civil rights leader MLK by saying 'I have a dream…I have a need. I need to protect our sky. I need your decision… exactly the same you feel when you say 'I have a dream.'

He also played a heartbreaking film showing Russia's destruction in Ukraine, resulting in dead children and mass graves for civilian and military casualties.  (Video begins at 20:22)

 

'The destiny of our country is being decided,' he said as he urged the U.S. to help establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Zelensky joined the body by live video feed streamed in the Capitol's CVC auditorium as the leader remained in Ukraine following Russia's invasion on February 24, 2022. The event was well attended by both Democrat and Republican members of Congress eager to hear what the Ukrainian president had to say.

Senator Elizabeth Warren told DailyMail.com that the mood in the room was 'very sober and very supportive', claiming Congress is 'looking for the right ways' to be able to support Ukraine.

Just as Zelensky was preparing to speak with lawmakers, Russian forces shot and killed 10 civilians standing in line for bread in the north-central city of Chernihiv, Ukraine.

'We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine,' the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said in a statement following the attack.

Zelensky, wearing a green t-shirt and still sporting several-days-old scruff, received a standing ovation as he was introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

'Glory to heroes,' the Ukrainian president started his address.

Zelensky asked the body if it was 'too much to ask for' Washington's help in establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine – and said an OK alternative was to send fighter jets so they could defend their own air space against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Experts and the White House have warned against developing a no-fly zone above Ukraine, claiming it could lead to World War III.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Democratic Representative Jason Crow from Colorado expressed support for a no-fly zone, saying to CNN: 'We must contest the sky over Ukraine.'

'Why would Ukraine ask for something they can't use,' he said, adding: 'Let us dictate the terms.'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said ahead of the address that he wants to hear Zelensky tell Congress 'what we need to send him', as Republicans push for a proposed deal with Poland to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The Pentagon poured cold water on the idea last week after Putin warned any further involvement in Ukraine by the U.S. would be an escalation that could result in dragging the west into the conflict.

Senators were provided on Wednesday with lapel pins with the U.S. and Ukrainian flags to wear during Zelensky's address.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova attended the remarks and sat in the front row. When arriving she hugged Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, an outspoken defender of Ukraine since the invasion.

Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from President Joe Biden's home state of Delaware, spoke to reporters Wednesday morning, saying: 'I suspect that what he will say will weigh very heavily on the hearts of a lot of folks here. He makes an incredibly compelling case that Putin will only stop when we stop him.'

'Why wait until he rolls over Moldova and Georgia and the Baltics? Why wait until he finishes destroying a proud and independent nation to act?' Coons said of Putin's potential ambitions in Europe.

'It really is just a fundamental question of how much risk are we willing to take — that a cornered authoritarian with one of the world's largest nuclear arsenals will use it?'

A senior US official told CNN that the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies are sending several surface-to-air missiles systems to Ukraine, including Soviet-era SA-8, SA-10, SA-12 and SA-14 mobile air defense systems.

Ahead of Zelensky's remarks to the U.S. legislative body, news emerged that Biden is considering sending U.S.-made kamikaze 'Switchblade' drones to Ukraine as part of a $1 billion defense package aimed at answering pleas for help.

The small, lightweight and comparatively cheap 'kamikaze' weapons, which are effectively remote-controlled bombs, come in two versions that have been designed to take out tanks or artillery positions. They are believed to be the same missiles that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani under Donald Trump's administration in 2020.

They are designed by Washington DC-based AeroVironment, and would be part of a huge package of military aid approved for Ukraine by Biden, which the president is set to discuss on Wednesday.

Ukraine rejected on Wednesday a Russian peace talk proposal to become a 'neutral' state like Sweden or Austria. Zelensky's administration instead demanded guarantees that international forces will 'prevent attacks' in the future.

'Ukraine is now in a direct state of war with Russia,' Kyiv's top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said in comments published by President Volodymyr Zelensky's office. 'As a result, the model can only be 'Ukrainian' and only on legally verified security guarantees.'

Podolyak called for a legally binding security agreement, signed by international partners, who would 'not stand aside in the event of an attack on Ukraine, as they do today.'

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