Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska asks Parliament for more weapons

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska addresses members of the United States Congress on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the U.S. Congress Visitor Center Auditorium on July 20, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | AFP | beautiful pictures

WASHINGTON – Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, on Wednesday called on bipartisan lawmakers to send more weapons to her homeland to repel a full-blown invasion of Russia.

Zelenska addressed members of Parliament from the same room that her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, did in March. He appeared virtual as if the war of Russia had just begun.

“I’m asking for something I never wanted to ask,” Zelenska said at the US Capitol. “I ask for a weapon, a weapon that will not be used to wage war on someone else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that house.”

Zelenska began her 15-minute speech with a presentation of photos of Ukrainian children killed by Russian missile strikes and shelling across the country.

“I’m asking the air defense systems so the missiles don’t get killed,” Zelenska said against a backdrop of disturbing graphics and images from the ravaged Ukrainian streets.

“While Russia kills, America saves, and you should know about that. We thank you for that,” Zelenska added, pointing to 15 military aid packages pledged so far.

Before addressing Congress, Zelenska met with first lady Jill Biden at the White House and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department.

Biden last met Zelenska during a surprise trip to Ukraine on Mother’s Day.

First Lady Jill Biden receives flowers from Olena Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, outside School 6, a public school accepting displaced students in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Susan Walsh | AP

Zelenska discussed additional weapons packages while at the White House and while at the State Department, talking about increased war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday that the United States is assembling a 16th set of security aids, specifically designed for the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The United States has provided about $8 billion in military aid since the war began in late February, including about $2.2 billion in the past month.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier said on Wednesday that the next batch of weapons would include more High Mobility Artillery Missile Systems, or HIMARS. With four additional heavy missile systems, the US will provide 16 HIMARS to Ukraine.

HIMARS, produced by the defense giant Lockheed Martindesigned to fire a variety of missiles from a mobile 5 ton truck.

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