UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Congress and called for further help fighting back against Russia in a dramatic speech that included a graphic video and reminders of September 11 and Pearl Harbor.
Zelensky’s address featured the display of a graphic video that included tragic footage from the conflict in Ukraine, including disturbing photographs of civilian casualties of the war, destroyed buildings, and terrifying images of military attacks there.
It also included an invocation of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, with Zelensky saying, “remember Pearl Harbor…when your sky was black from the planes attacking you” and “remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn US cities into battlefields…and you could not stop it.”
Zelensky’s live-streamed address Wednesday into the Capitol was part of a very public strategy in his fight to stop Russia, and during the speech, he called on the US to “close the sky” to prevent the Russian airstrikes that are devastating Ukraine.
President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have so far refused to take that action to avoid a direct confrontation with Putin’s Russia.
Biden delivered his own address following Zelensky’s speech, in which he announced an additional $800million in security assistance to Ukraine.
Read our Zelensky speech live blog for the latest news and updates…
War in Ukraine could exacerbate inflation
As the US central bank pushed through its first rate hike since 2018, the Federal Reserve cautioned that the situation in Ukraine might exacerbate inflation and stifle economic growth.
In a statement released on Wednesday, members of the bank’s policy-setting committee noted that the invasion of Ukraine is “causing tremendous human and economic hardship.”
They continued: “The implications for the US economy are highly uncertain, but in the near term, the invasion and related events are likely to create additional upward pressure on inflation and weigh on economic activity.”
New Ukraine air defense systems
When US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visits Bulgaria and Slovakia this week, he is anticipated to explore the possibility of transferring Soviet-era S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine.
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talked to US senators via video on Wednesday, he specifically referenced the S-300s, pleading for anti-air systems that would allow Ukraine to “close the skies” to Russian jets and missiles.
Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Greece, all NATO members, have S-300s, which can fly hundreds of kilometers and shoot down cruise missiles as well as bombers.
Republicans push Biden to send jets to Ukraine
Republicans are pressing Joe Biden to commit to deploying fighter jets to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression, which House minority leader Steve Scalise has described as “nothing less than genocide.”
Following Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Congress earlier this week, Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy said the US must approve MiG jets for Ukraine so that officials there can create their own no-fly zone while slamming President Biden for what GOP leaders called “life-threatening delays.”
Ukrainians allowed to cross US border to Mexico
According to those crossing the border, American border authorities are enabling Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion in their nation to enter the US and stay without fear of deportation, the Independent reported.
Several Ukrainians informed the Reuters news agency that they walked through a checkpoint in Tijuana, Mexico’s northernmost city, this week and were granted permission to stay until 2023.
Authorities are offering one-year temporary “humanitarian parole” to Ukrainians, according to a former US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employee informed on the topic, but the Department of Homeland Security has so far declined to acknowledge this.
Instead, it has merely said that all parole decisions are determined on a case-by-case basis at the border.
Biden to attend Nato summit
After a crucial meeting with Ukrainian leaders, Joe Biden will meet with European leaders next week, where he will meet with a number of European leaders.
The plans were disclosed on Tuesday by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who explained how the president would fly to Brussels, Belgium, for a Nato meeting on March 24.
“He will also join a scheduled European Council summit to discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine, including trans-Atlantic efforts to impose economic costs on Russia, provide humanitarian support to those affected by the violence and address other challenges related to the conflict,” Psaki said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Joe Biden posted a nearly 3-minute clip of his speech, saying in the caption, “The package I announced today will provide unprecedented assistance to Ukraine.”
Biden responds to Zelensky
‘He speaks for people who have shown remarkable strength,” said Biden of Zelensky.
Biden said America is leading the effort to hold Putin accountable for his actions against Ukraine.
How long was Zelensky’s speech?
Zelensky didn’t speak for long, but his address led to strong reactions on social media and from many US politicians.
He began speaking right around 9am ET and was done before 9.15.
Americans support no-fly zone
In the same CBS News poll, a majority of Americans supported a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
Respondents supported the measure 59 percent to 41 percent.
However, when asked if they would support it if it was viewed as an act of war, respondents flipped the numbers, with 62 percent opposing and 38 percent supporting.
Most support sanctions
CBS News conducted a poll recently and found that most Americans approve of the sanctions on Russia, even if it causes gas prices to increase.
63 percent supported such a measure even if prices go up, compared to 36 percent who oppose it.
Canadian parliament speech
Zelensky spoke to Canada’s Parliament on Tuesday as well.
He appealed to the audience and asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau how he would explain to his children that their country was being bombed, The Hill revealed.
No-fly zone may be ‘escalatory’
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted the risk of military involvement from the United States in the conflict.
“The president has to look at decisions that are made through the prism of what is in our national security interest and global security interest,” she said, according to The Hill.
“And he continues to believe that a no-fly zone would be escalatory, would prompt a war with Russia.”
‘Unacceptable,’ says Russia about Biden’s comment
A Kremlin spokesman said it is “unforgivable” for US President Joe Biden to declare Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” for military action in Ukraine when US bombs murder people all over the world.
Biden spoke with the media on Wednesday. For invading Ukraine, Putin has been labeled a “war criminal.”
According to Russian state-owned news agency TASS, Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov called what Biden stated “unacceptable.”
The spokesman said: “We consider unacceptable and unforgivable such rhetoric of the head of state, whose bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
Speaking from the heart
After watching “barbaric” photographs of the carnage in Ukraine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president was speaking from his heart when he called Putin a “war criminal.”
She pointed out that there was a distinct legal procedure, overseen by the State Department, for determining war crimes, which was still underway.
Biden and Zelensky speak often
Zelensky has spoken often with President Biden since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia began on February 24.
President Biden says they speak “almost daily,” according to The Hill.
Zelensky spoke to members of the United States House and Senate.
The speech is also be available for American citizens to watch live via live stream through various outlets.
Was Zelensky in the United States?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a virtual address to the US Congress.
He was not actually in the Capitol.
Spain seizes Russian superyachts, continued
Similar actions have been taken against two additional boats, the Valerie, which was anchored in Port Adriano on the Spanish island of Majorca, and the Lady Anastasia, which was in a repair yard in Barcelona, according to the New York Times.
Spain is on the lookout for Russian-owned superyachts, after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s announcement on Monday that the Valerie had been seized and that “there will be more.”
The transport ministry stated on Wednesday that if the examinations revealed that the boats belonged to anyone on the European Union’s sanctions list, they would be immobilized completely.
Spain seizes Russian superyachts
Spain, which has promised to take Russian billionaires’ alleged superyachts as part of sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, seized the third such vessel, one of the world’s largest superyachts, in Spanish territorial seas on Wednesday.
According to a statement from Spain’s transport ministry, the ship was seized in the Spanish port of Tarragona for an inspection to determine its actual ownership.
The Crescent, as the ship was known, was registered in the Cayman Islands.
Belarusian aircrafts prohibited from Canadian airspace
According to a tweet from Canadian Transport Minister Omar Algahabra, Belarusian aircraft are forbidden from entering Canadian airspace due to their support for Russia’s unjustifiable assault in Ukraine.
Effective immediately, and until further notice, all aircraft directly or indirectly owned, registered, chartered, leased, operated or controlled by a citizen of either the Russian Federation or of Belarus, are prohibited from entering, exiting or overflying Canadian airspace,” Transport Canada tweeted.
At least 103 children killed in Ukraine
In a video statement broadcast on Facebook on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that at least 103 children had been slain in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.
In a video, Zelensky said: “Last night, Russian troops continued shelling Ukrainian territory, our peaceful cities, our citizens.
“Kharkiv and the region … They bombed the coast of the Odesa region.
“They fired missiles at Kyiv. Hit civilian infrastructure of Zaporizhzhia.”
What does Biden’s $800million package include?
“Just this week,” Biden said, the $800million packages, when coupled with a previous appropriation, totals $1billion.
Since Biden assumed office, the administration has provided a total of $2billion in security aid to Ukraine.
The new package includes the following:
- 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
- 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems
- 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
- 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 shotguns
- Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds
- 25,000 sets of body armor
- 25,000 helmets
Warnings to Russia to not deploy chemical weapons
According to USA Today, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, warned a Russian counterpart against using chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine.
A White House phone call readout with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev said that Sullivan “warned General (Nikolay) Patrushev about the consequences and implications of any possible Russian decision to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.”
During his speech on Wednesday on US aid to Ukraine, Biden made no mention of Russian threats of chemical and biological weapons.
No “significant advances” toward Kyiv
According to CNN, a senior US defense official said that Russian forces are still “generally stalled” in Kyiv, Ukraine, and have not “made any significant advances” towards the city from the north, northwest, or east.
According to the official, Russian soldiers to the east of Kyiv are still approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the city’s core.
Ukraine rescues Russian-detained mayor
The Ukrainian government claims to have rescued the mayor of Melitopol in the south, who was detained by armed men on March 11 in the Russian-occupied city, according to CNN.
In a statement on his Telegram channel, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, said: “A special operation to release the mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov has just been successfully completed. Vanya is safe.”
Melitopol was taken over by Russian soldiers on February 26.
Armed men detained Fedorov, the elected mayor of Luhansk, on March 11, and the prosecutor’s office for the Russian-backed separatist Luhansk region accused him of terrorism later that day.