Michigan Congressional Delegation Responds to Ukrainian President’s Address

For the first time ever, a foreign leader addressed a joint session of Congress remotely.

Wednesday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the United States Congress and made his country’s case for more help.

“It was the most emotional thing I’ve seen since being here in Congress,” said Rep. John Moolenaar.Zelenskyy Address Reax Vsv 3 16 2200 00 59 11still001

The world has seen the pictures and videos and heard his speeches but Wednesday Zelenskyy spoke directly to the U.S., pleading for help.

“He evoked memories of Pearl Harbor, of 9/11,” said Moolenaar. “Talking about innocent people who are killed by an aggressive act.”

Zelenskyy had two major requests, first, stricter sanctions on Russia.

“And then secondly, he’s asking for air support,” said Moolenaar.

A few hours later, President Joe Biden responded, going as far as to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

“The world is united in our support for Ukraine,” said Biden, “And our determination to make Putin pay a very heavy price.”

He agreed to send more aid.

“An additional $800 million in assistance,” said Biden.

The package will include rockets, ammunition, guns and defense systems.

“I hope it’s not too little too late,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga.

But there was no commitment to air support. No fighter jets to supply to Ukrainian pilots. The belief being that would be a step towards war but other equipment is not.

“Somehow airplanes crosses a line,” said Huizenga. “I’m not real clear why that necessarily would be a line that can’t or shouldn’t be crossed.”

NATO allies are not willing to take that step but ready to respond if Putin does.

“Obviously it would set off a completely different chain of events,” said Huizenga. “If there was a direct attack.”

Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters were not available for interviews but did release statements.

“President Zelensky just spoke to a joint session of Congress. I continue to be deeply moved by his astonishing courage and determination as well as that of the Ukrainian people in the face of an unprovoked, brutal, and relentless assault on their country. President Biden and Congress must continue to do everything we can to help them defend their people and their democracy. That includes the billions in essential aid just passed in the recent appropriations bill for military assistance to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and critical humanitarian assistance. And it includes continuing to hit Putin and his oligarchs where they feel it most – in their bank accounts. The people of Ukraine are standing strong – and Americans are with them in prayer and in action.” – Sen. Debbie Stabenow

“President Zelensky is a courageous defender of his nation and democracy. His address today was very moving. The U.S. & our European allies must continue to hold  Putin accountable and reinforce that the Western world will not stand for these atrocious actions against Ukraine. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Ukrainian Caucus, I remain committed to working with the Biden Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand with Ukraine.” – Sen. Gary Peters