Compiled by Robert Strybel
Updated March 18, 2022
Zelensky appeals to US Congress for additional war aid
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has addressed the US Congress via live video, and received a standing ovation the moment he appeared on the screen. In his address Zelensky called on US President Biden to “be the leader of the world…to be the leader of peace.” Growing emotional, the 45-year-old head of state said he saw “no sense in life” if he could not prevent the death of more Ukrainian children and that it was his biggest concern. The Zelensky summoned the memory of Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in appealing to Congress to do more to help Ukraine’s fight against Russia, But he acknowledged the no-fly zone he had sought to protect against Russian air strikes has met with Washington’s resistance. Instead, he sought other military aid to stop Russian assault. For the first time in a public address to world leaders, he showed a packed auditorium of lawmakers a graphic video of the destruction and devastation his country has suffered in the war, along with heartbreaking scenes of civilian casualties.“We need you right now,” Zelensky said. “I call on you to do more.”
US pledges more arms and an extra $800 mln for Ukraine
In response to Ukrainian President Zelensky’s address to Congress, President Biden has additional arms and an extra $800 million over and above what has already been provided. The money for Ukraine will go both to helping refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion and to defensive equipment and training for the country’s military. Biden’s prompt response and comments were seen as underscoring the US commitment to Ukraine as well as the seriousness with which the White House views the crisis and the power of Zelensky’s pleas.
Poland continues pro-Ukrainian diplomatic offensive
Poland has continued its all-out diplomatic offensive to secure the broadest possible support for beleaguered Ukraine struggling against Putin’s brutal invaders. Polish leaders have lobbied for the harshest possible sanctions against Moscow including an embargo on Russian fuel imports, Warsaw is also persuading its European partners to step up military aid to Ukraine and support for its EU membership. A recent visitor to Poland was British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who said his country would supply a Sky Saber ground-based defense system and 100 troops to help operate it. The system can target fighter planes and smart bombs. On a similar wave-length with Poland is also Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares Bueno who pledged continued aid to Ukraine and thanked Poland for helping evacuate its diplomats from that war-torn country. Harder nuts to crack are Holland which opposes Ukraine’s EU membership and Germany which balks at severing all business ties with Russia.