March 16, 2022 by Devin Bates
On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a heartfelt plea to Congress that moved lawmakers and galvanized their will to assist the Ukrainian people.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) viewed the speech as a call to action.
“It was a very, very powerful day, and it welded us together,” Rep. Welch said. “America and our allies are united in wanting to do everything we can to help Zelensky and Ukrainians defend themselves against this aggression.”
During the speech, Zelensky shared images of tragedy, bravery and war similar to those that have been broadcast around the world since Russia’s invasion began.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said the video from thousands of miles away hit close to home.
“As a new mom, it is heart-wrenching to watch the video President Zelensky just played in terms of the bombing of maternity wards and the war crimes that are being committed today,” Rep. Stefanik said.
President Biden announced Wednesday that the U.S. will send an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones.
As further assistance makes its way from Washington to Kyiv, Welch and Stefanik suggested that a coordinated effort among allies remains critical for Ukraine’s success.
“This is where it is absolutely essential that we have unity among our allies, and I think President Biden has been doing a tremendous job,” Rep. Welch said. “The sanctions that have to get tougher and the military aid that we have to continue providing depend on all of us working together, and we’ve got to tighten that economic stranglehold on Putin until he relents.”
“Make no mistake, there will be consequences on the global stage for Putin, who is a war criminal and a thug,” Rep. Stefanik said.
Wednesday’s meeting also acted as a reminder to lawmakers of the bravery and sacrifice being shown by a nation at war.
“It was so powerful with him in the midst of missiles flying, his people being killed by the brutal invasion, him standing firm,” Rep. Welch said. “The Ukrainian Army is performing brilliantly, so we’ve got to stay the course.”
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