Biden announces new aid to Ukraine but fails to meet Zelenskyy’s request

“This may be a long and difficult battle, but the American people will steadfastly support our Ukrainian people in the face of Putin’s unscrupulous and unscrupulous attacks on civilians,” Biden said. speak. “We are united in the horror of these depraved attacks, and we will continue to back them as they fight for their freedom, their democracy, their very survival.”

After an event later on Wednesday, Biden responded to a reporter’s question by saying he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “war criminal.”

The new $800 million in funding announced by Biden comes from a $13.6 billion aid package signed into law Tuesday. But only $3.5 billion of that was allocated to military aid to Ukraine, according to a fact sheet of the House of Representatives.

New support package in the form of direct delivery of equipment from the Ministry of Defense to Ukraine. It includes a wide range of civilian and military weapons: 800 anti-aircraft missiles; 9,000 anti-armor systems; 7,000 small arms, such as machine guns, shotguns and grenade launchers; Number of bullets 20 million bullets; armor; and unmanned aircraft.

“We’ll stay the course,” Biden said. “We will do everything we can to push for an end to this tragic, unnecessary war.”

However, the weapons did not meet Zelenskyy’s request for an effective no-fly zone or aircraft, a request the United States repeatedly rejected on the premise that it could draw the United States into the war. Zelenskyy told NBC News ‘Lester Holt in an interview set to air Wednesday night that he believes World War III “might have begun.”

Hours earlier, Zelenskyy had carried out the most powerful attacks in history on the United States at Pearl Harbor, and on September 11, 2001, begged Congress for additional military aid as his nation wars. fight to repel the Russian invasion.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Americans: In your great history, you have pages that allow you to understand Ukrainians now,” said Zelenskyy, who made most of his remarks via an interpreter, speaking to US legislators. “Remember Pearl Harbor, that terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was blackened by planes that attacked you. Remember September 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities independent territories into battlegrounds.

“Our country has experienced the same day, right now, at this moment, every night for three weeks now.”

Zelenskyy spoke remotely via a video feed and told US lawmakers he was addressing them from Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, which has been the target of US military attacks Russia for weeks. Members of the House and Senate gathered together to hear Zelenskyy, who had personally requested the opportunity to speak to them, in the congressional auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center.

The president of Ukraine invoked the civil rights era speech of Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a dream,” calling once again for a no-fly zone over his country.

“I have a dream. Today every one of you knows these words,” Zelenskyy said. “Suffice to say, I have a need. I need to protect our sky. I need your help. “

The speech baffled lawmakers, with the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer name it “strong” and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Withhold the comment to gather myself: “I’ll think about it before I speak. It was emotional.”

And even after Congress approved $14 billion in assistance to Ukraine, both sides feel that the United States must do more to help its ally.

“What a strong request and plea,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said. “The options are terrible. The best hope at this point is that we contain [Putin] somehow and minimize the suffering compared to the escalation into World War III. “

Biden watched Zelenskyy’s entire speech from the private library of the White House mansion before he descended into the Oval Office. He told aides that he found the speech and graphic video “touching” and commented on the Ukrainian leader’s bravery. He later told reporters that he thought Zelenskyy was “attractive” and that he was a symbol of democracy’s strength.

None of Zelesnkyy’s claims in his speech to Congress came as a surprise to the White House. Administration officials maintain regular contact with the government in Kyiv, and Ukrainian officials communicated what Zelenskyy would say, two officials said.

However, the Biden administration remains reluctant to continue deploying a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a move the White House says could draw NATO into a broader war with Russia. Plans to send fighter jets to Ukraine by way of a US base in Germany were also scrapped over fears of escalation.

Even after Zelenskyy’s speech, there was bipartisan consensus on Hill that a no-fly zone was a bad idea.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) says that for the US “it makes a lot of sense now to figure out how we can help the Ukrainians protect their skies” – rather than the air defenses taken by nations other execute.

“We need to give him more defense. He kept saying no-fly zone. I think that’s probably still a no-brainer,” Sen said. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.). “That’s not to say we can’t increase the numbers, let’s do more with equipment and drones and other useful things as well.”

However, Zelenskyy emphasized the need for a no-fly zone several times in his remarks. He showed a two and a half minute video of war footage from several Ukrainian cities. At the end of the video, a black screen with white letters is displayed: “Close the sky of Ukraine.”

“If this is too much to ask for, we provide an alternative,” said Zelenskyy, pleading with missile and aircraft defense systems. In addition, he demanded a new package of sanctions against Russia “weekly” until “the Russian military machine stops working”.

Inside the congressional auditorium, where lawmakers gathered to speak, Democrats and Republicans alike were drawn to Zelenskyy’s pleas for more help, often nodding when he asked. a specific weapon. Zelenskyy put his hand over his heart as lawmakers gave him a standing ovation.

Lawmakers shook their heads in horror at the video he played showing Ukrainian cities being destroyed by Russian shelling. Answer. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) can be heard muttering, “God.” Other members of Congress wiped away tears and looked away from the screen in some of the more gruesome moments.

An emotional speaker Nancy Pelosi called the video “overwhelming,” describing Russia’s actions as “war crimes right in front of our eyes.”

Notably, she acknowledged Zelenskyy’s plea for a no-fly zone and said she appreciated his offering of other options “if you can’t do that.”

Asked about whether the US should negotiate more about direct air defense assistance to Ukraine, Pelosi said the House planned to vote on more legislation targeting Russia this week.

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, was present at the audience with the lawmakers and told reporters afterwards that “we will prevail, and we will not surrender”.

She also alluded to the difficulty of securing the direct air support that Zelenskyy had pushed for.

“With support from all of our friends and allies, especially with support in anti-air defense, no matter what form it takes, we will save the day,” said Markarova. Get more lives and we’ll dominate faster.”

This is Zelenskyy’s second meeting this month with the National Assembly, the governing body for which the President of Ukraine enjoys widespread, bipartisan respect and admiration. About 300 lawmakers joined a private Zoom call with Zelenskyy on March 5 in which the Ukrainian leader demanded more military support and a ban on Russian oil.

The White House and Congress have worked to meet those requests: Congress approved nearly $14 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine last week, twice the amount originally requested by Biden. . And the US has ramped up sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banks, and imposed an outright ban on Russian oil, energy and gas imports.

After delivering much of his speech through an interpreter, Zelenskyy switched to English after the war video and spoke directly to Biden.

“You are the leader of your great nation,” Zelenskyy said. “I wish you to be the leader of the world. To be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace”.

His speech touched every nook and cranny of Congress. Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened the day’s session with this prayer: “We trust you will bring it to the people of Ukraine. Save them from those who shoot from the dark. “

Sarah Ferris and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report. Biden announces new aid to Ukraine but fails to meet Zelenskyy’s request

Fry Electronics Team

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