Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, asked Congress for more lethal assistance, more planes, and more sanctions to stop Russian oil exports in a video conference with lawmakers on Saturday. Washington is weighing more aid to Ukraine to fight a Russian invasion.
Zelenskyy participated in a Zoom conference call with more than 285 senators and House members. Zelenskyy wore a green military T-shirt and spoke without displaying a Ukrainian flag. He appealed for more support from U.S. lawmakers.
Senator Steve Daines, R. Montana, stated that Zelenskyy spoke from the heart and requested that the skies be closed with a no-fly zone.
Ukraine is not a NATO member and is therefore not subject to Article 5 of NATO, which states that if one NATO member country is attacked, all NATO member countries will assist.
Fox News Digital was informed by a Senate source that Zelenskyy had asked for more aircraft and expressed concern about the United States’ inability to send planes to other NATO countries.
Zelenskyy stated that Poland was ready to send planes, particularly Russian-made MiGs that can be flown by Ukrainians. However, the U.S. has not signed off due to fear of it being seen as an escalation. Fox News source said.
In a video that he posted following the Zelenskyy call, Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican from South Carolina) also stated that the U.S. stands in the way of “other NATO countries sending MiG’s”.
A U.S. defense official said that the U.S. was not preventing European countries from sending warplanes into Ukraine.
“Poland can send warplanes to Ukraine if it wants,” the official said. Fox News confirmed that the US was not stopping them from doing so.
Zelenksyy’s appeal moved the lawmakers and they voted for more U.S. aid and expressed bipartisan support.
Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated that President Zelenskyy had made a desperate plea to Eastern European countries for Russian-made aircraft to Ukraine. These planes are urgently needed. I will do my best to assist the administration in facilitating their transfer.”
Zelenskyy, according to Daines called the Russians “devils” during the video conference. He described the horrors and how the Russians are killing civilians and shelling them.
According to another Senate source, he said that children were killed at special schools and kindergartens. Three nuclear plants were attacked and the Russians wouldn’t allow fire departments to extinguish fires.
According to a Senate source, Zelenskyy stated to lawmakers that he would not allow “brave and strong people” who support your values to be exterminated.
Another Senate source claimed that Zelenskyy stated that he requires more lethal assistance to fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zelenskyy also demanded that Visa and Mastercard be withdrawn from Russia by the United States and that Russia be embargoed for oil.
“President Zelenskyy made clear that Putin’s forces were barbarous and that Ukraine requires immediate resources to control airspace for defense, humanitarian purposes,” Senator Bill Cassidy, R.La., said Fox News Digital. He also stated that it was imperative that the West assist.
According to a third source in the Senate, the Ukrainian president said that if sanctions had been imposed months earlier, there wouldn’t have been war.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) reacted to the comment on Fox News Channel. He explained that sanctions work well when they are coordinated with allies. But the problem was that the U.S. allies didn’t believe Putin was going invading, as the U.S. insists.
Kaine stated that he had never witnessed “a greater gulf between America and our allies” before the invasion.
Senator Tim Kaine: Strong bipartisan support for a ‘dramatically increasing’ military aid to Ukraine
Kaine stated that earlier sanctions may have been more effective. “But, we weren’t on a similar page until the invasion.”
During the call, Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine has strong relations with Poland and that humanitarian and military aid flows easily. Zelenskyy informed the lawmakers that the Belarusian President Alexander Lukasenko does not control the troops of Belarus and that Russia is commanding their military.
Zelenskyy had earlier Saturday urged Russia to collaborate with Belarus on humanitarian corridors so that civilians can flee the war zone.
In the meantime, the Biden administration has requested at least $10 billion to help Ukraine in the wake of Putin’s war on the nation. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the aid would be used for humanitarian, security and economic assistance in Ukraine and its neighboring regions in the coming days and week.
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Speaker, stated that the House will take up the emergency Ukraine request next Wednesday as part of a larger bill for government spending. Congress must pass the bill by March 11, or risk a government shutdown.
Schumer assured Zelenskyy, that he and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell were working together in a bipartisan manner to obtain the $10 billion of economic, humanitarian, and security aid to the Ukrainian people “quickly.”