Washington — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver a virtual address to members of Congress on Wednesday as he continues to urge the West to send fighter jets and more weapons to help his forces.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced his upcoming address in a letter to members of the House and Senate on Monday. Pelosi and Schumer said Congress “remains unwavering in our commitment to supporting Ukraine as they face Putin’s cruel and diabolical aggression, and to passing legislation to cripple and isolate the Russian economy as well as deliver humanitarian, security and economic assistance to Ukraine.”
“The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine, who have shown extraordinary courage, resilience and determination in the face of Russia’s unprovoked, vicious, and illegal war,” the Democratic leaders wrote. “As war rages on in Ukraine, it is with great respect and admiration for the Ukrainian people that we invite all Members of the House and Senate to attend a Virtual Address to the United States Congress delivered by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine on Wednesday, March 16th at 9:00 a.m.”
The Ukrainian leader has pleaded for the U.S. and its NATO allies to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters its third week. But Western leaders have resisted his calls, fearing a broader conflict in Europe. Russia launched a missile strike against a Ukrainian military base in the west of the country on Sunday near the border with Poland, a NATO member.
Zelensky previously addressed members of Congress in a Zoom call earlier in March, in which heto provide Ukraine with more fighter jets and military support.
Last week,a $13.6 billion aid package for Ukraine — more than the White House requested — as the country tries to fend off invading Russian troops. Mr. Biden also announced a ban on the import of all Russian oil and gas, in addition to punishing sanctions issued earlier in the war meant to devastate the Russian economy.
Zelensky has encouraged Ukrainians to step up their fight against the Russian invaders, as Russian forces are closing in on Kyiv. Another round of direct talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials was underway on Monday.
Weijia Jiang contributed to this report.