Defiant Zelenskyy says to Congress, This fight can’t be stopped and put off.
Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked Congress to approve more aid for his country. He told lawmakers that “this battle cannot be frozen and put off,” and he reminded them that winter is coming and the weather is getting colder.
Zelenskyy said in English, to cheers, “Ukraine is alive and well.” “Russian tyranny is no longer in charge of us,” he said.
Zelenskyy’s whole speech was in English. He thanked Americans for their help and said, “Ukraine will win because Ukraine, America, and the whole free world are united.”
“As I stand here today, I think about what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said…
“The American people will win through absolute victory with their righteous strength,” “Zelenskyy said. “The people of Ukraine will also win. Absolutely.”
He said that many people in Ukraine will celebrate Christmas by lighting candles, not because it’s romantic, but because the Russians cut off the power. He said that millions of people will have neither heat nor running water. He said that they would still celebrate, though, and that millions of Ukrainians want the same thing: victory.
At the end of his speech, he gave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris a Ukrainian flag that had been signed by Ukrainian people.
Zelenskyy’s trip to Washington is his first trip outside of Ukraine since Russia invaded in February. His trip comes as Congress debates a huge $1.7 trillion spending bill that includes $45 billion more in aid for Ukraine.
Before the speech, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed for the bill to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by President Joe Biden by Friday. He said that Zelenskyy “made it clear that without this aid package, the Ukrainians will be in trouble and could even lose the war.”
“That makes it even more important that we pass this law quickly and correctly,” Schumer said.
Several Republicans who don’t want more aid were at Zelenskyy’s speech. Reps. Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz stood up, but they didn’t cheer for the Ukrainian leader.
Zelenskyy told Congress that the future of our shared freedom depends on “Ukrainian courage and American resolve.”
Zelenskyy met with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House before the speech. At a joint press conference, Mr. Biden said he would keep helping Ukraine “as long as it takes” and criticized Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure as the harsh winter weather sets in.
“We should be clear about what Russia is doing: it is attacking Ukraine’s critical infrastructure on purpose, destroying the systems that keep the Ukrainian people warm and give them light during the coldest, darkest time of the year. Russia is using the winter as a weapon, “Mr. Biden said this as he stood next to Mr. Zelenskyy in the East Room of the White House. “It’s important for the American people and the rest of the world to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to stay together until 2023.”