Mar 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ukraine ambassador asks for "anti-air" support

Archbishop Borys Gudziak (L) of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia embraces Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova at the conclusion of a press conference.
Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia embraces Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova at the conclusion of a press conference at the National Press Club. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Twenty days into the war, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, is asking the world for "anti-air" support, calling Russia’s invasion "a full-scale genocide" of the Ukrainian people.

Why it matters: A day before President Zelensky is scheduled to address members of Congress, Markarova has a dire warning for the U.S. and other democracies: Putin’s war will not stop in Ukraine. She requested support in the form of more weapons, diplomatic pressure and increased sanctions against Russia.

What she's saying: “We’re living now in the 1939 moment. It’s not enough to help Ukraine to fight on our territory. We have to do it together, because for Putin ... it’s about redrawing their borders in Europe.”

  • “None of us who is democratic and believes in democracy is safe," Markarova said at the National Press Club.
  • Markarova's address comes as fierce fighting rages across Ukraine and Russian missile strikes are targeting Kyiv and the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv.
  • “For twenty days, we are defending Ukraine — our homes — but we are also defending Europe and we’re defending democracy and we are defending freedom.”

Markarova asked for supplies of "any type of weapons" available with an emphasis on the anti-air defense.

  • "Air [defense] is something we need urgent support with to protect Ukraine from this brutal attack that they are doing from the air. This is ask No. 1."
  • Notably, she did not mention a no-fly zone, a request the U.S. and NATO have repeatedly denied.

Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia underscored the need for armored ambulances, medicine and surgical instruments.

  • Markarova also asked American universities to support Ukrainian students, some of whom have parents fighting in the war or have lost everything back home.
  • "We have many Ukrainian students here in the universities and we would like them to continue studying. It's our greatest resource when we will win and we will need to rebuild our country."

The bottom line: “In every field, there is something anyone can do to make a difference,” Markarova said. “Convey this to your government. Convey it to your congressmen, senators that American people are with Ukraine."

Go deeper