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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has referenced Pearl Harbour, Martin Luther King, and the terror attacks of September 11 in a speech to American president Joe Biden and the US Congress.
During the address, the Ukrainian leader pleaded for the US to do more to help Ukraine's fight against Russia.
Live streamed to the Capitol from Kyiv, Zelenskyy demanded the US impose more sanctions for Russian politicians and to block imports.
"Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided."- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gives an urgent address to Congress, appealing to American values and pleading for more help to stop the Russian invasion of his country: https://t.co/C99GRa9znq pic.twitter.com/29aqma1ufQ— CNN (@CNN) March 16, 2022
An emotional video was shown to the US Congress detailing the destruction and devastation Ukraine has suffered at the hands of Russia.
"I wish you to be the leader of the world," Zelenskyy said, addressing the US President directly.
"Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace."
CNN apologizing to viewers for not being able to warn them that the video compilation played by Zelensky to Congress would be so graphic. I think this was Zelensky's point: Americans need to see what war looks like, without the comfort blanket.— Sebastian Smith (@SebastianAFP) March 16, 2022
Zelenskyy also repeated calls for a no-fly zone, asking the lawmakers to remember the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, and the 9/11 attacks in the US.
He also invoked Martin Luther King's iconic 1963 speech to drive his point home.
"I have a dream. These words are known to each of you today. I can say: I have a need. I need to protect our sky," Zelenskyy said.
"In the darkest time for our country - for the whole Europe - I call on you to do more," Zelenskiy added.
"Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people.
"Is this a lot to ask for - to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people? Is this too much?" the Ukrainian president said.
Zelenskyy received a standing ovation before and after his address to the US Congress.
Making his final remarks to Congress in English, President Zelensky calls on President Biden directly, asking him “to be the leader of the world, which means being the leader of peace.”— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) March 16, 2022
In a rare show of unity, Republicans and Democrats have aligned in the usually very divided Congress to in support of Ukraine.
Republican Representative Liz Cheney said while the US has already done a great deal for Ukraine, more should be done and quickly. She also said Biden can do more on his own.
"The United States has got to lead," Cheney said.
"Our own freedom and security depends upon it. And there can be no equivocation between our support for Ukraine versus Russia."
Ukrainian President Zelensky evoked MLK's "I have a Dream" speech when speaking to Congress about support for a no-fly-zone and other defensive aid for Ukraine against Putin aggression.— Terrell Jermaine Starr (@terrelljstarr) March 16, 2022
Chairman of the House Democratic caucus Hakeem Jeffries was more reserved on the proposed no-fly zone, telling reporters that
'the carnage is not coming from Russian airplanes and the Russian air force, it's coming from the ground and from missiles'.
Zelenskyy's speech to Congress comes just over one week over his 'historic address' to British MPs in the House of Commons on March 8.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.