Zelensky invokes 9/11, Pearl Harbor attacks during speech to Congress

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked the worst attacks on U.S. soil during his speech to Congress on Wednesday, pleading for more military assistance to fight back against Russia’s invasion.

“We need you right now [to] remember Pearl Harbor, the terrible morning, Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Just remember, remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001, when evil try to turn your cities, independent territories into battlefields, when innocent people were attacked,” Zelensky said. “Just like no one else expected it, you could not stop it. Our country experience the same every day right now.”

Zelensky went on to ask for the U.S. to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and to continue providing additional aid to Ukraine as it closes out its third week fending off Russian invaders, which, according to the United Nations, has left nearly 700 civilians dead.

“This is a terror that Europe has not seen for 80 years, and we are asking for a reply, for an answer, from the whole world,” Zelensky said in his remarks to Congress. “Is that too much to ask for, a no-fly zone?”

Large screen behind a stage before Congress shows Volodymyr Zelensky, with Nancy Pelosi standing onstage at a podium.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduces Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak to Congress by video at the Capitol on Wednesday. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool via AP)

Zelensky has been addressing the other member countries of NATO, which have joined in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine. On Tuesday, Zelensky made an emotional plea directly to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while addressing that country's Parliament, evoking the image of Trudeau’s own children waking in the early morning to Russian cruise missiles exploding in front of them.

But NATO ally countries have so far refused to establish a no-fly zone for fear it would escalate the invasion into a full-blown World War III with Russia.

Zelensky closed his address on Wednesday by pleading directly to President Biden for additional support.

“I’m almost 45 years old, today my age stopped when the hearts of 100 children stopped beating,” Zelensky said. “I’m addressing President Biden, you are the leader of the nation, your nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace.”

The Ukrainian president concluded his remarks by saying: “Glory to Ukraine.” He received a bipartisan standing ovation from Congress.


What happened this week in Ukraine? Check out this explainer from Yahoo Immersive to find out.

Where are Russian forces attacking Ukraine? Check out this explainer from Yahoo Immersive to find out.