Zelensky invokes 9/11 in plea to US Congress

Ukraine’s president invoked the horror of the 2001 terror attacks on the US as he pleaded for more military aid in a historic address to the US Congress.

Volodymyr Zelensky said via video link that Ukraine was enduring a 9/11 every day as it battled Russian forces.

He again urged the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying: “I need to protect the sky.”

US President, Joe Biden, is later set to sign off an extra $800m (£612m) in military aid to Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky urged the assembled US politicians to remember coming under attack in the past – at Pearl Harbor in 1941 and on September 11, 2001 – saying Ukrainians were experiencing the same thing every day.

“In your great history, you have pages that would allow you to understand the Ukrainian history. Understand us now,” he said.

He also referenced US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King’s famous speech: “I have a dream, these words are known to each of you – today I can say I have a need. I need to protect the sky,” he said.

The Ukrainian leader also showed a video of missile strikes on his country’s cities and the resulting dead and wounded people.

He has repeatedly called on NATO to impose a no-fly zone over his country’s airspace, but NATO has refused.

A no-fly zone over Ukraine would mean that NATO forces would have to engage directly with any Russian planes spotted in those skies and shoot at them if necessary.

As an alternative to a no-fly zone, Mr Zelensky pleaded for air-defence systems and aircraft.

He has previously asked the US and the European Union (EU) for Polish MiG-29 fighter jets, but this has been rejected by Mr Biden over fears this would pull NATO members into the war.

Addressing President Biden directly in English, President Zelensky said: “I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace.”

After the speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelositweeted that it had been a “distinct privilege” to hear from the Ukrainian president, and that the US was “unwavering in our commitment to the people of Ukraine as they courageously defend democracy”. -BBC

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