Zelensky Speaks To Congress Via Zoom, Asks For More Weapons, No Fly Zone

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky chided the Biden administration for not slapping sanctions on Russia’s Vladimir Putin sooner in an emotional, approximately hour-long Zoom call with 280 US senators and House members Saturday morning.

“If you had started sanctions months ago, there would not have been war,” he said, Fox News reported.

Zelensky thanked the US for the assistance it has already sent, and pleaded for additional American military aid for his besieged country, a Senate source said.

Dozens of lawmakers unmuted themselves to thank Zelensky for his bravery as the call came to an end – with some pledging “Slava Ukraini,” a source told CNN.

The embattled Ukrainian leader expressed support for a potential US boycott of Russian oil, in response to a question posed by West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin, the Senate source said.

He also begged the US to help establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, CNN reported – in the face of Vladimir Putin’s Saturday warning that such a move would be tantamount to a declaration of war – and asked the lawmakers for help getting Eastern European countries to send Russian-made fighter planes to Ukraine so that Zelensky’s air force pilots can fly them in combat.

“He said we either need a no-fly zone or we need to be given planes, that was the basic message,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) told The Post. “If NATO is not going to provide a no fly zone, then provide planes. And that is something where NATO can help.”

“I will do all I can to help the administration to facilitate their transfer,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised in a statement issued after the call was complete.

Schumer praised Zelensky, saying, “Mr. President, we are inspired by you and the strength and courage of the Ukrainian people.”

“The people of New York and its large Ukrainian community stand with you,” he added.

Zelensky scheduled the 9:30 a.m. call with the lawmakers ahead of Congressional debate over a request for a $10 billion emergency funding package that would provide humanitarian aid and security assistance, NBC News reported.

“In Congress, we’re likely to approve an additional $5 to $8 billion of military aid within the next couple of weeks,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told MSNBC shortly before the call began.

The full Senate and the 80-member House Ukrainian Caucus were invited to speak with Zelensky on the video call, the first time lawmakers are able to speak with the embattled leader since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion 10 days ago, according to The Hill.

Sen. Marco Rubio shared an image from the conversation on Twitter Saturday morning, showing Zelensky sitting near a Ukrainian flag and wearing his now-signature Army green t-shirt.

“Russia’s Air Force is having their worst day yet in Ukraine,” Rubio tweeted in the midst of the discussion. “Multiple shoot downs and dead and captured pilots.”

On Friday, Zelensky released a blistering speech slamming NATO for refusing to enact a no-fly zone over Ukraine, claiming the decision gave Russia a “green light” to continue shelling his country.