Biden pledges extra $800m in Ukraine aid and urges end to ‘tragic, unnecessary war’ – live | US news

Images of bodies being tossed into open graves; of bloodied and mutilated children; buildings destroyed as Russian missiles rain down from the sky; and scenes of weeping refugees with their meager belongings attempting to flee Ukraine’s besieged cities.

Rarely, if ever, has the US Congress witnessed anything like the powerfully moving and brutally graphic video presented by Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his address to the US Congress.

“This is a murder,” a caption across the screen states simply, as images flash behind it of a family lying dead in the street, of a mass grave, and a man crying next to a loved one’s body, covered by a blood-soaked blanket on a hospital gurney.

The intensity of the 2min 20sec video was punctuated by interspersed scenes of Ukraine in happier times, just a few weeks ago, a brief city-by-city tour of families enjoying the freedom of the open air, their children in playgrounds, and feeding pigeons. An old man with a walking stick enjoys a stroll in the park – until the street in front of him explodes into a fireball as a missile lands.

The message from such imagery was clear: this could be any western city, including within the United States. Zelenskiy’s remarks, likening the barrage his country is enduring to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the horrors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, will have resonated with Congress members.

“You could hear a pin drop and some lawmakers wiped away tears as [Zelenskiy] played a video of the horrors that have unfolded in his country,” NBC’s chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker tweeted.

The video closes with more images of injured children, dead bodies, and the devastation caused by Russia’s aerial bombardment, then the screen turns to black with the plea: “Close the sky over Ukraine.”

Whether the video, or Zelenskiy’s wider appeal for help, will have any effect on Joe Biden’s position remains to be seen, but some lawmakers were immediately moved.

“We need to give them what they need,” the Ohio Republican congressman Bill Johnson said in a video he recorded as he left the chamber following the Ukraine president’s speech.

“We need to give them the missiles, [and] both manned and unmanned aircraft, so that they can set up their own no-fly zone. And we need to provide humanitarian assistance to the millions that have been driven from their homes, their families slaughtered, their schools destroyed.”

Here’s the full video, posted by The Recount

The Recount

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy showed this powerful video to Congress, depicting Ukraine before and during the invasion.

The video ends with a familiar call for a no-fly zone: “Close the sky over Ukraine.”

March 16, 2022

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