Mar 16, 2022 - World

Zelensky's shame-on-you world tour

Zelensky addresses Canadian parliament
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky receives a standing ovation from the Canadian parliament in Ottawa on Tuesday. Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky can be expected to call out the U.S. on Wednesday when he addresses Congress virtually — as he did with the Canadian parliament, and as he has done with the world.

Why it matters: Three weeks into Russia's invasion, Zelensky has invoked Winston Churchill, Hamlet, Canadian cultural landmarks and his own demise as he's made deeply emotional appeals to Western leaders and lawmakers.

In Ottawa on Tuesday, Zelensky made it first-name personal as he asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and lawmakers for help enacting a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

  • "Justin, can you imagine you and your children hearing all these severe explosions, the bombing of the airport, the bombing of the Ottawa airport?" Zelensky asked. "Cruise missiles are falling down and your children are asking you: 'What happened?'"

In London last week, Ukraine's wartime leader channeled Churchill as he told the U.K. Parliament: "We will not give up, and we will not lose. ... We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets."

  • And in Brussels on Day 1, Zelensky helped secure an unprecedented sanctions package at record speed when he told EU leaders "this might be the last time you see me alive."

The backdrop: Zelensky and President Biden speak almost daily by phone, but he has appealed directly to Congress before — and has gotten a very receptive ear, AP notes.

  • Members of the House and Senate have remained remarkably unified in their support of Ukraine.
  • Two weekends ago, Zelensky delivered a desperate plea to 300 lawmakers and staff on a private call, and was met with an outpouring of support in his requests for Polish fighter jets and sanctions on Russian energy.

Between the lines: Zelensky's wish list to Congress includes armed drones, communications jamming equipment, long-range, anti-ship missiles and high-tech air-defense systems, the N.Y. Times reports.

  • Biden, meanwhile, wants to avoid playing catch-up: He plans to announce more than $1 billion in new military aid to Ukraine today, including anti-armor and anti-air systems, The Wall Street Journal reports.

What's next: Zelensky's next stop could be Spain's Congress of Deputies. He's been invited for a virtual address.

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