Zelenskyy asks US ‘to do more’ on sanctions, aid

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, drawing parallels to horrific moments in American history to explain his country’s plight, called on the U.S. to ramp up its aid to Ukraine in a virtual address to Congress on Wednesday, three weeks into his nation’s fierce struggle to repel invading Russian troops.

“Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided, the destiny of our people,” said Zelenskyy, who drew a standing ovation from Congress at the start of his speech from Kyiv. “Whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to save their democracy.” 

Zelenskyy referenced Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks to explain to members of Congress the situation his country faces now. This is Ukraine’s experience “every day, right now.”

In English at the end of his speech, he addressed President Joe Biden directly: “President Biden, you are the leader of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”

He added, “I call on you to do more.”

Earlier Wednesday, Zelenskyy suggested there was some reason to be optimistic that negotiations with Russia might yet yield an agreement. He said in a video address to his nation that Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic.” The sides were expected to speak again later Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, Kyiv suffers. Shrapnel from an artillery shell slammed into a 12-story apartment building in central Kyiv on Wednesday, obliterating the top floor and igniting a fire, according to a statement and images released by the Kyiv emergency agency.

The neighboring building was also damaged. The agency reported two victims, without elaborating.

Russian forces have intensified fighting in Kyiv suburbs, notably around the town of Bucha in the northwest and the highway leading west toward Zhytomyr, said Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv region, on Wednesday.

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