Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a virtual speech to Congress on Wednesday and reiterated his call for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would mean direct war with Russia.
“Is this a lot to ask for, to create a no-fly zone — zone over Ukraine to save people? Is this too much to ask — humanitarian no-fly zone, something that Ukraine — that Russia would not be able to terrorize our free cities?” Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian leader also played a graphic video that showed Russian strikes on Ukraine that ended with the words “close the sky over Ukraine.” In order for the US and NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, the Western powers would have to shoot down Russian planes and bomb surface-to-air missiles inside Russia.
President Biden has repeatedly said that he has no plans to go to war with Russia in Ukraine since it could spark World War III and risk nuclear war. Zelensky recognized in his speech that the US was hesitant to impose the no-fly zone. He said if the US going to war with Russia was “too much to ask,” there is an “alternative” plan that involves the US giving Ukraine S-300 surface-to-air missiles and other anti-aircraft weapons.
Zelensky invoked Martin Luther King Jr in his request for the anti-aircraft weapons. “‘I have a dream.’ These words are known to each of you today. I can say, ‘I have a need: I need to protect our sky,'” Zelensky said. Throughout the speech, Zelensky also invoked 9/11 and the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Zelensky received a standing ovation from Congress, and President Biden appeared to comply with his alternative plan by announcing $800 million in additional military aid for Ukraine that includes anti-aircraft weapons.