(CNN)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to Congress for help directly Wednesday, telling US lawmakers “we need you right now” as he invoked tragedies in American history like the attack on Pearl Harbor and the September 11 terrorist attack.
Zelensky addressed President Joe Biden directly in the historic speech, “You are the leader of your grand 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 said at the conclusion of his remarks, which were met with a standing ovation from lawmakers.
The speech, which was given as a virtual address, came as the United States is under pressure from Ukraine to supply more military assistance to the embattled country as it fights back against Russia’s deadly attack.
“Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you,” Zelensky said. “Just remember it, remember, September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn US cities into battlefields, when innocent people were attacked from air, just like nobody else expected it and you could not stop it. Our country experiences the same, every day, right now at this moment.”
While there is widespread bipartisan support for aid to Ukraine, many US lawmakers also believe the US should be careful not to be drawn into any kind of direct, armed conflict with Russia.
During the speech, Zelensky reiterated calls for the US to help enforce a no-fly zone in Ukraine — to protect civilians — and provide fighter aircraft that the Ukrainians can use to defend themselves, requests that have so far been met with resistance.
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