Zelensky to Congress: Close the Sky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Congress, requesting American aid, weapons, and a no-fly zone to help in Ukraine’s fight against Russia.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed a joint session of Congress virtually on Wednesday. Zelensky requested American aid and weapons and reiterated his call to “close the sky” over his country to stop Russia from raining death from the air.

  • The Ukrainian president delivered an emotional address, playing a 3-minute video of Russian atrocities against his country while requesting a no-fly zone that the Biden administration warned would lead to World War III.
  • Zelensky invoked Martin Luther King Jr., the Pearl Harbor attacks and the September 11th attacks, comparing the attacks on his country to two of America’s darkest days.
  • Biden announced a wide-ranging $800 million package of weapons the US will send to Ukraine after Zelensky’s speech. The US will provide highly effective air defense systems and surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles.
  • Zelensky’s address comes amid reports Russia’s advance has gotten bogged down in the fourth week of the conflict, even as they continue to target and kill civilians en masse.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Politico assessed four things Zelensky told Congress that could impact the war, including a “plan B” for a no-fly zone and new Russia sanctions.
  • The New York Times wrote on how Russia’s invasion has rallied “a divided nation:” The United States. Americans of all political stripes “express broad support for Ukraine,” although they disagree about what to do.
  • The Intercept highlighted a Zelensky request that hasn’t gotten as much media attention: a request that the West be more involved in negotiations to end the war.



  • Fox News spoke with Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence panel, after Zelensky’s speech. Turner called Biden “timid and afraid” and said the slow US response “has cost Ukrainian lives.”
  • The Commentary daily podcast crew recapped Zelensky’s speech and assessed the effect it will have on American efforts to “turn back Russia’s evil.”
  • The Dispatch argued that the Ukraine War demonstrates the need for a substantial increase in defense spending.

Author’s Take

Volodymyr Zelensky’s background as a television star seems to be paying dividends for his country. In his addresses to various Western legislative bodies, he’s been careful to invoke their histories and democratic values in his pleas for more aid for his country. When speaking to the US, he cited Martin Luther King Jr. and 9/11; Churchill when speaking to the British; their shared European heritage in his speech to the EU; and called for Germany to “tear down this wall” between “free” and “unfree” Europe.

Zelensky and his government understand the power of images. He unexpectedly showed a heartbreaking graphic video of Russia’s assault on his country, which moved several lawmakers to tears.

Russia has already lost more soldiers than the US lost in twenty years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ukrainians turned back a Russian assault on a strategic town a few days ago in a decisive rout, and launched a counteroffensive in recent days.

Less than a month into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Ukraine seems to be winning the propaganda war. The next task, of course, is winning the ground war.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022