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“While Russia kills, America saves”: Ukrainian First Lady to US Congress

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska appealed to US lawmakers on Wednesday, July 20, to provide more help to her country as it struggles against the Russian invasion, which will soon enter its sixth month.

“You’ve helped us and your help is very strong. While Russia kills, America saves and you should know about it,” said Ukraine’s First Lady to the assembled Representatives and Senators. “We thank you for that. But unfortunately, the war is not over.

“I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, will be leaving for the traditional congressional recess in a week. And all of you will be able to return to your offices in the fall. And probably all of you have already your calendar and schedule for September. This is normal. And it is precisely this normalcy that we Ukrainians are deprived of now. Will my son be able to return to his school in the fall? I don’t know like millions of mothers in Ukraine. Will my daughter be able to go to university at the beginning of the academic year and experience normal student life? I cannot answer,” said Olena Zelenska to the Congressmen.

Ms Zelenska showed them videos of children she said had been wounded or killed by Russian shells and rockets, including a three-year-old boy now in Germany learning how to use prosthetic limbs.

“How many children like him are there in Ukraine? How many families like this may still be destroyed by war? These are Russia’s ‘Hunger Games’, hunting for peaceful people in peaceful cities of Ukraine,” she said about a series of novels and movies in which children and teenagers are forced to hunt one another for the entertainment of the ruling classes. “We want every father and every mother to be able to tell their child, ‘Go to sleep peacefully. There will be no more airstrikes, no more missile strikes.’ Is this too much to wish for?”

Ms Zelenska knows of one way this can be achieved:

“I am asking for weapons, weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that home.”

The US has provided USD 8 bn in security assistance to Ukraine since the war began, including USD 2.2 bn in the last month alone. Members of Congress responded warmly to the appeal of Ukraine’s first lazy and said they were ready to authorise more.

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