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Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy Will Virtually Address Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy Will Virtually Address Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will speak virtually to members of Congress on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced in a joint letter to the body. “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.,” they wrote.

“The 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. We look forward to the privilege of welcoming President Zelenskyy’s address to the House and Senate and to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy,” Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer wrote in the letter.

[President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]
The virtual address is a follow-up for the roughly 300 members of both the House and Senate who participated in a Zoom call with Zelenskyy earlier this month. After that call, Congress voted to provide $13.6 billion in Ukraine-related aid. The House also passed legislation last week to cut off Russian oil and is expected to take up legislation this week ending normal trade relations with Moscow.

Zelenskyy has pushed the United States, along with countries in Europe, to help implement a no-fly zone. The Biden administration and lawmakers are largely opposed to that, however, because of concerns it would lead to direct conflict between the United States and Russia, which could increase the chances of an escalation to a larger and potentially nuclear war. Zelenskyy is also asking for more planes and other military equipment as Ukraine tries to fight off a much larger Russian army.

The speech is only open to members of Congress, and lawmakers who aren’t fully vaccinated will need to wear a mask to attend.

 

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