Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks before US Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cited Pearl Harbor and the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in appealing to the U.S. Congress in his country’s fight against Russia.

Zelenskyy said by livestream at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday: “We need you right now.”

Zelenskyy has been rallying support against Russia’s crushing invasion. Wednesday’s speech was among Zelenskyy’s most important as he pushes the U.S. to do more than it has pledged so far.

Zelenskyy again asked for Western air forces to set up a no-fly zone to block Russian airplanes that are attacking cities and other civilian targets.

Notably, however, Zelenskyy also gave Western leaders an out from his demand for a no-fly zone, which the U.S. and NATO say would risk dragging the West into war against Russia.

“If this is too much to ask, we offer you an alternative,” Zelenskyy said. He asked by name for the Soviet-era S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, or similar systems to use against Russian aircraft, on top of Stingers and other anti-aircraft weapons already delivered by the West.

Biden is expected to deliver an address later Wednesday announcing $800 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine.

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