English Section

Ukraine’s first lady asks US Congress for more weapons

20.07.2022 23:45
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska on Wednesday addressed US lawmakers, asking them to provide more weapons to help her country battle the Russian invasion.
Ukraines First Lady Olena Zelenska addresses members of the US Congress, in Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska addresses members of the US Congress, in Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.PAP/EPA/ Jabin Botsford

Zelenska became the first wife of a foreign president to deliver a speech to the US Congress, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

‘I'm asking for weapons’

The Ukrainian first lady said: “On behalf of those who are still alive, and those who are waiting for their loved ones to return from the front, I’m asking for something now I would never want to ask. I’m asking for weapons, weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that home.”

She added: “I’m asking for air defence systems, in order for Russian rockets not to kill children in my country.”

Zelenska said that Western air defence systems would protect Ukrainian cities from attacks like last week’s missile strike on the central city of Vinnytsia. 

She shared photos of civilian victims of Russian attacks, including a 4-year-old girl whom she had met last year and who was killed in the strike on Vinnytsia.

“I remember her as if she was standing here. She was joyful, mischievous, a little tomboy,” the first lady said. 

‘For Russia these are Hunger Games’

Zelenska went on to say: “For Russia these are Hunger Games, a hunt for the peacefully-minded people in Ukraine’s peacefully-minded cities. They never broadcast this kind of news and that’s why I’m showing this to you.”

Zelenska arrived in the US on Monday, meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, among other officials.

On Tuesday, she was hosted by US First Lady Jill Biden at the White House, with US President Joe Biden also greeting the guest.

The two presidential wives discussed further US support and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, as well as Russia’s war crimes and how to hold perpetrators accountable, officials said. 

Zelenska and Jill Biden were later joined by US Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.

Zelenska thanked her White House hosts in an Instagram post, writing: “We can do much more when we do it together.”   

The United States has so far supplied Ukraine with some USD 8 billion in military aid since the Russian invasion began, including some USD 2.2 billion in the past month, news outlets reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said that the next batch of weapons would include more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). 

With the four additional missile launchers, the Biden administration will have given 16 HIMARS to Ukraine, reporters were told.

Wednesday was day 147 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, cnbc.com

Click on the audio player above for a report by Halyna Pastushuk.