Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a historic speech earlier than a joint assembly of Congress on Wednesday evening, pleading with the U.S. to proceed its help of Ukraine within the face of Moscow’s assaults.
The tackle, which spanned roughly 23 minutes, marked the primary time a overseas chief addressed Congress throughout wartime since Winston Churchill did so in 1941 throughout World Conflict II. The journey to Washington was additionally the primary recognized time Zelensky has left Ukraine since Russia invaded in late February.
Listed here are the 5 greatest moments from Zelensky’s speech:
A packed entrance
Zelensky entered a packed Home chamber Wednesday evening, with lawmakers from each events and chambers, Cupboard officers, and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine coming collectively to view the president’s historic speech.
The chamber erupted in a standing ovation, and Zelensky shook arms with numerous lawmakers whereas strolling down the aisle towards the dais.
The applause continued properly after Zelensky arrived on the microphone, stretching for roughly three minutes. At one level, when attendees have been nonetheless clapping, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) — who has been crucial of U.S. support to Ukraine up to now — sat down.
Vice President Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), each of whom wore blue fits whereas presiding over the chamber through the joint assembly, greeted Zelensky when he arrived on the dais and shook his hand. It might be the final time two ladies preside over a joint assembly of Congress for some time — Pelosi set to step down from her publish as Democratic chief on the finish of the yr.
Zelensky likens Ukraine’s warfare to U.S. battle for independence
All through his speech Zelensky pointed to moments in U.S. historical past as a method to name for united American help in keeping off Russia’s assault, evaluating the battles fought for U.S. independence to Ukraine’s battle for freedom.
“To make sure Bakhmut isn’t just a stronghold that holds again the Russian military however for the Russian military to utterly pull out, extra cannons and shells are wanted,” Zelensky mentioned. “Similar to the Battle of Saratoga, the battle for Bakhmut will change the trajectory of our warfare for independence and for freedom.”
“In case your patriots cease the rise in terror in opposition to our cities, it’s going to let Ukrainian patriots work to the complete to defend our freedom,” he added.
At one other level in his speech, Zelensky cited the Battle of the Bulge when underscoring Russia’s aggression.
“The Russian tactic is primitive. They burn down and destroy all the things they see. They despatched thugs to the entrance strains. They despatched convicts to the warfare. They threw all the things in opposition to us, just like the opposite tyranny, which is within the Battle of the Bulge,” he mentioned.
“Similar to the courageous American troopers which held their strains and fought again Hitler’s forces through the Christmas of 1944, courageous Ukrainian troopers are doing the identical to Putin’s forces this Christmas,” he added.
It isn’t the primary time Zelensky has cited historic occasions in American historical past to spherical up help for his nation. Throughout a digital tackle to Congress in March, he pointed to the assault on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist assaults.
Zelensky the comic shines via
Zelensky, who earlier than coming into politics was a comic and actor, confirmed moments of humor throughout Wednesday’s tackle, eliciting chuckles within the chamber.
“Your help is essential. Not simply to face in such battle however to get to the turning level to win on the battlefield. We now have artillery, sure. Thanks. We now have it. Is it sufficient? Actually, probably not,” he mentioned, evoking laughs.
At one other level in his speech, Zelensky spoke to the talents of Ukrainian troopers in terms of working American weaponry.
“Ukraine by no means requested the American troopers to battle on our land as an alternative of us. I guarantee you that Ukrainian troopers can completely function American tanks and planes themselves,” he mentioned, resulting in laughs and claps within the chamber.
The speech comes as Congress is getting ready to sending Ukraine an extra $45 billion in help amid its ongoing battle with Russia. The funding is included within the end-of-the-year spending measure that each chambers are contemplating this week.
Unity — however not utterly
Indicators of unity have been seen and heard throughout Zelensky’s speech, with lawmakers of each events and chambers coming collectively for numerous standing ovations all through the tackle.
A few of the largest cheers of the evening got here when Zelensky mentioned that “Ukraine holds its strains and can by no means give up” and that his nation “is alive and kicking.”
The chamber additionally erupted in a rush of applause when the president capped off his speech, wishing the group “merry Christmas and glad victorious new yr.”
As Zelensky wrapped up his speech, shouts of “Slava Ukraini,” which suggests “Glory to Ukraine,” might he heard within the chamber.
And in an indication of bipartisanship, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) sat on the Democratic aspect of the chamber for Zelensky’s speech. She was seated subsequent to Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), who together with Cheney serves on the Jan. 6 choose committee. Each misplaced reelection this yr.
Lawmakers weren’t, nonetheless, unified for your entire night. Boebert and Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Tim Burchett (Tenn.) sat out numerous standing ovations, and Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was not seen with Zelensky and different congressional leaders — Pelosi, Senate Majority Chief Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — when the group walked through the Capitol’s Statuary Corridor.
Zelensky, Pelosi trade flags
In probably the most highly effective moments of the evening, Zelensky and Pelosi exchanged flags of their respective international locations.
Zelensky mentioned he obtained the Ukrainian flag throughout a go to to Bakhmut on Tuesday, when he visited with troops. They requested that he ship the flag to Congress.
“Once I was in Bakhmut yesterday, our heroes gave me the flag. The battle flag. The flag of those that defend Ukraine, Europe and the world at the price of their lives. They ask me to convey this flag to you, to the U.S. Congress, to members of the Home of Representatives and senators whose selections can save thousands and thousands of individuals,” Zelensky mentioned.
“So let these selections be taken. Let this flag stick with you. Women and gents, this flag is a logo of our victory on this warfare. We stand, we battle and we are going to win as a result of we’re untied — Ukraine, America and your entire free world,” he added.
Zelensky then unfolded the Ukrainian flag — which had black handwriting on the yellow portion — and handed it to Pelosi, who was sitting on the dais. The 2 kissed on the cheek. Zelensky then handed the opposite aspect to Harris, and the 2 ladies held it up for the chamber to see.
Pelosi returned the favor shortly after, presenting Zelensky with a framed American flag that flew above the Capitol on Wednesday. Zelensky held it up over his head, and the chamber erupted in applause. He walked out of the chamber whereas displaying the flag.