Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked Congress for more aid, planes, and sanctions on Russia when he had a virtual call with lawmakers last Saturday. He also asked for them to stop Russian oil exports during the said video call. This comes as Washington considers sending more aid to help Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.
The Ukrainian president spoke on a video call with over 280 Congress members. During the call, he appealed to U.S. lawmakers to send more help.
“He spoke from the heart,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) said on Fox News Channel. He also revealed that Zelenskyy asked to close the skies with a no-fly zone.
This meeting comes in the trails of NATO’s rejection of Zelenskyy’s request for a no-fly zone over the former Soviet country to provide air cover for the people of Ukraine. The Ukrainian president slammed this decision, although NATO Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said in warning that having alliance planes fly over Ukraine could start a new world war.
Ukraine is not part of NATO, so the Article 5 provision of the alliance doesn’t apply to it. The said provision states that if one NATO member country is attacked, all other member countries will take action to help them.
Another source from the Senate said that, apart from the discussion of a no-fly zone, the Ukrainian president also asked for more planes. He also said he was concerned that the U.S. was blocking other NATO nations from sending planes.
According to Zelenskyy, Poland is ready to provide planes, more specifically MiGs made in Russia that Ukrainians can fly. However, the United States has yet to sign off due to fears that it would escalate the situation.
Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also claimed that the U.S. is standing in the way of other NATO members trying to send MiGs to Ukraine in a video he posted following the call with Zelenskyy.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 5, 2022
However, a defense official for the U.S. denied this claim.
The official told Fox News, “If Poland wants to send its warplanes to Ukraine, it can. The US is not blocking them from doing so.”
The Congress members who were part of the call felt moved by Zelenskyy’s plea and showed bipartisan support for Ukraine and for pushing for more U.S. aid.
“President Zelenskyy made a desperate plea for Eastern European countries to provide Russian-made planes to Ukraine,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated, adding, “These planes are very much needed. And I will do all I can to help the administration to facilitate their transfer.”
According to Daines, Zelenskyy also described the Russians as “devils” and spoke about the horrors of the ongoing war and how Russians are killing civilians.
He said children were murdered in kindergartens and in a special needs school. Zelenskyy also revealed that three nuclear plants have been targeted, with Russian troops denying the fire department of extinguishing fires, as per another Senate source.
The Ukrainian president also stated that he needs more lethal aid to resist the Russian invasion, another Senate source said. He also demanded the U.S. to cut Visa and Mastercard services in Russia and to embargo Russian Oil.
“President Zelenskyy made it clear that Putin’s forces are barbarous, and that Ukraine needs immediate resources to help control airspace for defense and humanitarian purposes,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La) told Fox News Digital. “He also expressed that it is imperative that the West help.”
According to a third source in the Senate, Zelenskyy said, “If you had started sanctions months ago, there would not have been war.”
To this, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) expressed his reaction on Fox News Channel, explaining that sanctions are most effective when they are done in coordination with allies. However, the problem with U.S. allies is that they didn’t believe Putin will push through with the invasion.
According to Kaine, he had never seen “a wider gulf between the US and our allies” before the invasion when it comes to what Putin intends to do.
“Yes, earlier sanctions might have worked better,” he said, adding, “But we weren’t on the same page until the invasion happened.”
During Saturday’s video call, Schumer reassured the Ukrainian president that he and GOP leader Mitch McConnell are working hard in a bipartisan manner to get the economic, humanitarian, and security aid worth $10 billion to the Ukrainian people “quickly.”