‘Your support is crucial,’ Ukraine’s Zelenskyy tells U.S. Congress in historic address

The Ukrainian president pressed lawmakers to continue their support to help fight off Russia's invasion, as some Republicans openly question the need for further U.S. funds.

‘Your support is crucial,’ Ukraine’s Zelenskyy tells U.S. Congress in historic address

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy underscored the importance of American aid in Ukraine’s effort to fight off Russia’s invasion during a historic address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, the culmination of the leader’s first known foreign trip since the war began.

Zelenskyy received thunderous applause from lawmakers, who are in the middle of voting on billions of dollars in new emergency assistance as Republicans pledge to give more scrutiny to money flowing to Ukraine when they take control of the House of Representatives in January.

“Your support is crucial, not just to stand in such a fight but to get to the turning point, to win on the battlefield,” he said.

“Your money is not charity,” he added later. “It is an investment in the global security and democracy.”

Zelenskyy spoke in English, billing his remarks as a “speech to Americans.” He repeatedly thanked not just legislators but “every American” who has donated to humanitarian causes, fundraised and even sheltered Ukrainians who fled the war.

He appeared to choke up when, at the beginning of his speech, he acknowledged members of the Ukrainian diaspora who had filled the viewing gallery above him — prompting a standing ovation on the House floor.

Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington came a day after he made a dangerous trip Tuesday to what he called the hottest spot on the 1,300-kilometre front line of the war, the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s contested Donetsk province.