Zoom call with Congress: Zelensky asks for fighter planes

According to a member who was present on the Zoom call, Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian President, made an emotional plea to U.S. lawmakers Saturday morning.

Zoom call with Congress: Zelensky asks for fighter planes

He asked for military planes, support and an embargo against Russian oil.

According to another source, Zelensky stated that Ukraine needed jets after its air force was decimated by the Russian invasion. He also requested an oil embargo against Russia. This would have the greatest impact on Ukraine. Zelensky stated to lawmakers that there wouldn't have been an invasion if there were sanctions in place in September and October.
Zelensky was clear from the beginning that his requests were urgent. He opened the meeting with a comment along the lines of, "This might be the last time I see you alive." He told them that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not relent after Ukraine. Poland and Lithuania, both NATO member countries, will follow. He urged the U.S. military to send aircraft and troops to Poland and Lithuania to help prepare and release Warsaw Pact surplus planes (MIGs, Sukohvs) from Poland and other countries. According to a source, the topic of establishing a no fly zone was brought up.

After the call, Mike Quigley (chairman of the House Ukrainian Caucus) told CBS News that Zelensky had stressed the importance of the battle in the skies and how it affects everything on the ground. Quigley stated, summarizing Zelensky’s message to Congress: "Either close down the skies or give me the planes one direction or the other."

In a statement following the call, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, said that Zelensky requested Russian-made planes and that he would do his best to assist the administration in making their transfer possible.

According to one source, Zelensky also requested more lethal assistance from lawmakers. He also asked for the U.S. not to remove Visa and Mastercards from Russia.

According to Quigley, both Democrats and Republicans received the Ukrainian president warmly.

"When everyone turned on their microphones... there was extraordinary universal, strong bipartisan, bicameral support," Quigley said. He added, "This was historic, correct -- he leader a free, democratic sovereign nation speaking live from his capital, when it is under siege, and with the realization he has been made target for death by an autocratic dictator." Quigley was impressed by Quigley's calm and courage, and stated that he hoped this would be enough to "motivate" more Ukrainian aid to pass quickly.

According to one legislator, the Zoom was attended by more than 280 Senate and House members. The Ukrainian president stated to the senators and House that he was grateful for the West's strong sanctions and united response. After speaking for approximately 30 minutes, the Ukrainian president answered questions from lawmakers.

Zelensky thanked America for the harsh sanctions. He said that the sanctions have left Russian business leaders shaken. Zelensky also spoke out about the Russian soldiers that Ukraine captured. He said that these soldiers often don't know the true situation in Ukraine and that they are fighting a war against hostility.

He spoke about Ukraine's strong relations with Poland and stated that humanitarian and military aid is flowing easily into Ukraine.

According to a source, Schumer said to Zelensky that he was inspired by the courage and strength of the Ukrainian people. Schumer stated in a statement that he, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others were working in a bipartisan fashion "to get all the assistance requested by the administration for the Ukrainian people fast" -- more than $10 billion in security, humanitarian, and economic funds.

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