Speech of the Ukrainian Zelenskyj before the Congress in Washington


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked Congress Wednesday night to approve more aid Ukrainetelling lawmakers that “this fight cannot be frozen and postponed,” and reminding them that temperatures are dropping with the arrival of winter.

“Ukraine is alive and well,” Zelenskyy said in English to applause. “Russian tyranny has lost control of us,” he added.

Zelenskyy, who delivered his entire speech in English, thanked the Americans for their support and promised Ukraine “will win because we are united – Ukraine, America and the entire free world”.

“As I stand here today, I remember the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt… ‘The American people shall prevail in their righteous might through absolute victory,'” Zelenskyy said. “The Ukrainian people will win too. Absolutely.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy receives a US flag from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy receives a US flag from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after his speech before Congress December 21, 2022.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

He noted that many in Ukraine celebrate Christmas with candles – not because it’s romantic, but because the Russians destroyed the electricity, he said. Millions will have neither heating nor running water, he said. But they would celebrate anyway, he said, adding that millions of Ukrainians want the same thing – victory.

At the end of the speech, he presented Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris with a Ukrainian flag signed by Ukrainians.

Zelenskyy’s trip to Washington, his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion in February, comes as Congress debates a massive debate $1.7 trillion in government spendingwhich includes an additional $45 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Before the speech, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed for passage of the bill – which must pass both houses of Congress and be signed by President Joe Biden by Friday – and said Zelenskyi “made it clear that without this aid package, Ukrainians will be left behind.” be in trouble and might even lose the war.”

“That’s why it’s all the more important that we get this law and get it done quickly and without errors,” Schumer said.

A number of Republicans opposed to more aid attended Zelenskyy’s address — Reps Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz stood, but did not applaud the Ukrainian leader.

Before the congress, Zelenskyy called for “Ukrainian courage and American determination” that “guarantee the future of our common freedom”.

Before the speech, Zelenskyy met with President Joe Biden at the White House. They held a joint press conferencewhere Mr Biden said he would continue to support Ukraine “as long as necessary” and denounced Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure as the brutal winter cold hit.

“We should be clear about what Russia is doing – it is deliberately attacking Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and destroying the systems that provide heat and light to the Ukrainian people during the coldest and darkest time of the year. Russia is using winter as a weapon,” said Mr. Biden, standing next to Zelenskyy in the East Room of the White House. “It is important for the American people and the world to hear from you directly, Mr. President, on Ukraine’s struggle and the need to continue standing together through 2023.”

Zelenskyi addressed the congress virtually in March.

Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

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