Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Makes One Request During US Meeting That Could Change Everything
In a virtual meeting with 280 members of the U.S. Congress on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a request that could change the course of Russia’s ruthless invasion of his country.
Whether the fulfillment of this request on the part of the U.S. and its allies could save the Ukrainian people from this assault on their sovereignty or launch, quite literally, the third world war is impossible to say, however.
Zelenskyy, who has reportedly survived three assassination attempts and refused the Biden administration’s offer to evacuate, choosing instead to remain in his country’s besieged capital to fight for his people and his homeland, bluntly requested more lethal aid for Ukraine.
“Don’t allow brave and strong people who share your values to be exterminated,” he reportedly said, according to one unidentified Senate source who spoke to Fox News.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio posted a picture of Zelenskyy to Twitter during the meeting, though the lawmakers had been asked not to post to social media about the meeting while it was in progress, according to NBC News.
On zoom call now with President Zelensky of #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/xhgbpIwVD9
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 5, 2022
According to Axios, Zelenskyy also “pleaded” with lawmakers to introduce an oil embargo against Russia, from which the U.S. is still buying oil. That request runs conspicuously contrary to the Biden White House’s stance that such a blockade would disrupt the global energy market (which the Biden team suddenly seems to care very much about protecting).
“If you had started sanctions months ago, there would not have been war,” Zelenskyy also reportedly said, according to another Senate source who spoke to Fox.
This comes after the Ukrainian president rebuked NATO after the alliance shot down his request to establish a no-fly zone over the country, which would have certainly been a slippery slope towards full-scale involvement of NATO member nations.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and so the treaty’s Article 5 requiring all member nations to come to the aid of any nation that is attacked would not apply.
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s major contentions, which led to his escalation of a longstanding conflict between the two nations into outright invasion, is Ukraine’s desire to join the treaty organization.
Several European countries have been mobilizing unprecedented efforts to send weapons and other supplies to Ukraine, including such as Germany, Finland, and Sweden, which have reversed historic stances against sending military aid to conflict zones.
Zelenskyy has made specific requests for Russian-made fighter planes, possessed by former East Bloc nations now in the European Union, which his military could fly without needing re-training. The three nations that have such planes, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia, have declined to offer them, according to Newsweek,
Fox News reported that a U.S. defense official has denied blocking Poland or any other European countries from giving Ukraine planes, contrary to claims from Ukrainian officials and American lawmakers that any such effort to prevent this aid had taken place.
Following the meeting with Zelenskyy, during which one senator said he “spoke from the heart” about his request for Western aid in the form of weapons, sanctions, and a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine, according to Fox, several lawmakers reaffirmed their support for the embattled Eastern European nation.
“President Zelenskyy made a desperate plea for Eastern European countries to provide Russian-made planes to Ukraine,” the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said, according to Fox. “These planes are very much needed. And I will do all I can to help the administration to facilitate their transfer.”
“Senator [Mitch] McConnell and I along with the other members … are working very hard in a bipartisan fashion to get all the assistance the administration has requested for the Ukrainian people,” he also said, Axios reported.
“Together we will get that assistance of over $10 billion in economic, humanitarian and security assistance to the Ukrainian people quickly.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to Twitter to offer his takeaway, during which he praised the Ukrainian people, said the U.S. should help get fighter planes and military drones to Ukraine, called for greater sanctions on Russia, including its oil and gas sectors, and said the “Putin war machine, in my view, is in full-blown war crimes mode.”
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution voicing support for the Ukrainian fight for sovereignty and calling for additional and immediate “defensive security assistance” and for “fully isolating” Russia with economic sanctions and embargos.
One of the only three GOP congressmen to vote against the non-binding resolution, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, highlighted the vagueness of the resolution in terms of calling for assistance to Ukraine and sanctions that could be detrimental to both working-class Americans and the kind of innocent Russian citizens who have been protesting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
One’s heart certainly aches for the people of Ukraine and for its undoubtedly brave and strong leader who has opted to remain on the ground with his people when he could have easily accepted the U.S. offer to evacuate and watch from afar as his country was decimated by the Russian “devils,” as Zelenskyy reportedly put it during the call on Saturday.
We almost can’t expect anything else from him but to implore more powerful and prosperous nations to come to his aid if they can.
Yet his request strikes, sadly, at the core of the conflict over whether NATO nations should let his fight become theirs, and a conflict it very much is.
Do we get involved and do what we can to fend off the Russians, risking a cataclysmic global war that could result in potentially millions of deaths as nuclear war near-inevitably breaks out? Or do we refrain from sending troops and watch as Ukraine is destroyed and its sovereignty overthrown?
This is hardly the first time that our country has been faced with such a difficult decision, nor the first time that the onset of a large-scale war has been so morally complex and seemingly impossible.
The thing about a fallen world is when it comes to violent human conflict, there often is no simple, perfect solution, even to those who want nothing more than to preserve human life and a country’s national sovereignty.
Simply put, greater involvement by the U.S. and NATO countries could change everything about the current war in Ukraine — from a brutal, unjustified, but contained conflict into an all-out war with Russia — a nuclear-armed country. Of course, it could also change everything in the sense that it could turn the tide in favor of the Ukrainian people, but the risks involved are high.
If you’re feeling conflicted yourself over what Western response to support, I highly recommend going to God in prayer for the Ukrainian people, for Zelenskyy, for American and European leaders, and yes, even Putin and his cohort.
It’s not merely the only thing you can do, it is, in fact, the most powerful thing you can do. Desperate times call for spiritual warfare and there’s never been a better time to take our grievous global conflicts before the throne of God and to pray for wisdom, peace, and justice for our world.
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