zelensky: Biden funnels $800 million aid to Ukraine after emotional Zelenskyy speech

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden is set to announce a $800 million emergency security assistance for Ukraine on Wednesday, hours after the country’s embattled President Voldymyr Zelensky made an emotional appeal to him to be the leader for peace and do more to save Ukraine from Russian attacks.
The aid package, part of a massive $ 13.6 billion in new assistance for Ukraine written into the US government spending bill passed on Tuesday, was aimed at assuaging Zelensky’s plaintive outreach in an unprecedented address to US lawmakers in which he invoked Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to describe what his country is going through.
“Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided, the destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy,” Zelensky said in a speech from Kyiv to a joint session of US Congress, the first such virtual address by a foreign leader in US history. Ukraine, he said, is grateful to the United States for its overwhelming support, but he called on Washington “to do more,” including imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent Russian bombardment. “We need you right now,” he pleaded.
“To create a no fly zone over Ukraine to save people, is that too much to ask?” Zelensky said, hyperbolically invoking 9/11 because “our country experiences the same every day.” If a no-fly zone is too much to ask, he offered an alternative: fighter jets, air defense systems, and relentless sanctions on Russia.
The US President has rejected pleas for a no-fly zone fearing it will lead to a direct firefight with Russia, but Zelensky’s distraught appeal — backed by graphic videos showing Ukrainian suffering — served to stir the White House into a speedy announcement of assistance amid pressure from visibly moved US lawmakers.
“I am almost 45 years old. Today when the hearts of more than 100 children stopped beating, I see no sense in life,” Zelensky, unshaved and wearing a t-shirt, told US lawmakers in one of the most poignant moments of the speech, before he switched to English to directly address Biden: “You are the leader of your great nation. I wish you be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
Zelensky also called for new sanctions every week until the Russian military machine stops, and complete boycott of Russian goods, telling Americans, “peace is more important than income.” Despite their anger against Moscow, US and NATO continue to buy $ 600 million a day worth of oil and gas from Russia while urging rest of the world to join in Washington-led sanctions.

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