After three weeks of Russian bombardment, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a direct plea to President Biden Wednesday, urging him to be “the leader of peace.”
“Today it is not enough to be the leader of the nation. Today, to be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace,” Zelenskyy said while making an address in front of the U.S. Congress.
“Peace in your country doesn’t depend anymore only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you – on those who are strong,” he continued. “Strong doesn’t mean big. Strong is brave and ready to fight for the lives of his citizens and citizens of the world.”
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Zelenskyy directed his comments at the president after first urging Congress to push for more sanctions on Russia’s economy and all of its politicians.
He urged lawmakers to advise their constituents to remove any and all businesses from the Russian market and to close all American ports to Russian goods, telling them that “peace is more important than income.”
Zelenskyy said the threat of Russian aggression is not only a threat to Ukraine, but to the global order.
“Today, the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine – we are fighting for the values of Europe and the world, to provide our lives in the name of the future,” he said.
The Ukrainian president pleaded with Biden after he showed a video depicting lives that have been lost and the destruction that has occurred under Russian bombing.
More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled as fighting has spread to nearly every corner of the nation and the United Nations has said that at least 636 civilians have been killed, including roughly 50 children – though these figures are expected to be under-estimated.
“Today my age stopped when the hearts of more than 100 children stop beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop this,” Zelensky said. “I’m addressing President Biden, you are the leader of [your] nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
Zelenskyy once again pleaded with Biden to enforce a no-fly zone to help stop the barrage of missile strikes hitting Ukrainian cities nationwide.