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Ukraine's First Lady asks Congress for more weapons

Ukraine’s First Lady calls the war Putin’s ‘Hunger Games’ as she asks Congress for more weapons – including air missile defense systems – in emotional speech honoring children killed in strikes

  • ‘Those are Russia’s hunger games—hunting for peaceful people,’ Zelenska said as she displayed of a three-year-old now using prosthetic limbs
  • ‘They will never broadcast this on their news. That’s why I’m showing it to you here,’ Zelenska said
  • Married to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the first lady is the first spouse of a foreign leader to address the U.S. Congress directly at the Capitol 
  • After highlighting the atrocities her nation faces, she turned to a plea for more weapons: ‘When Russia kills, America saves’  

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska made an emotional plea for the U.S. to provide air missile defense systems to save ‘children in strollers’ from being killed by Russian rockets in an address before Congress Wednesday. 

‘Those are Russia’s hunger games—hunting for peaceful people,’ Zelenska said as she displayed of a three-year-old now using prosthetic limbs after being caught in one of Russia’s indiscriminate attacks. 

‘They will never broadcast this on their news. That’s why I’m showing it to you here,’ Zelenska said. 

Married to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the first lady is the first spouse of a foreign leader to address the U.S. Congress directly at the Capitol. 

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska made an emotional plea for the U.S. to provide air missile defense systems to save ‘children in strollers’ from being killed by Russian rockets in an address before Congress Wednesday

‘Those are Russia’s hunger games—hunting for peaceful people,’ Zelenska said as she displayed of a three-year-old now using prosthetic limbs after being caught in one of Russia’s indiscriminate attacks

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, left, House Minority Leader Kevin McCaerthy, center left and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listen via headphone translation to Zelenska’s address 

‘I want to address you not as a first lady but as a daughter and a mother,’ Zelenska said. ‘An unprovoked invasive terrorist war is being waged against my country.’ ‘Russia is destroying our people,’ she added. 

After highlighting the atrocities her nation faces, she turned to a plea for more weapons. 

‘While Russia kills, America saves,’ Zelenska said. ‘I’m asking for something now that I would never want to ask. I am asking for weapons … air defense systems. In order for rockets not to kill children in their strollers.’ 

She said the weapons 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.’  

‘I know that you [legislators] will be leaving for the traditional congressional recess in a week … I hope you heard me today. And I hope that your decisions will be speedy.’

Zelenska shakes hands with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Five months into Vladimir Putin’s invasion, the U.S. has doled out billions in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. The U.S. has committed $8 billion in direct security assistance to Ukraine, including $2.2 billion in the last month, and Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin said that the U.S. is sending four more high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine, bringing the total up to 16. 

Russian forces are crushing through the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine and now control about a fifth of the country. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier this week ordered his army to prioritize destroying Ukraine’s long-range missile and artillery weapons after the Western-supplied weapons were used to shoot down Russia’s supply lines. 

Earlier this week a bipartisan group of six senators wrote a letter to Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley asking them to hurry shipments of medium- and long-range air defense systems to Ukraine as appropriated by Congress in May. 

On May 19 Congress passed a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which included $20 billion for the Ukrainian military. 

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