'Heart-wrenching' Zelenskyy speech gives Congress 'vivid reminder' of Putin's brutal war

Sen. Coons: ‘Somber’ mood as Zelenskyy addressed Congress

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a "very effective emotional appeal" to Congress in Wednesday’s address.

WASHINGTON – Members of Congress Wednesday said they were deeply moved by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to U.S. lawmakers, including a graphic video he presented showing the horrors of Russia’s war on his country.

“It was heart-wrenching,” Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said of the video. “It underscored the human side of this tragedy. These are families, children, and lives disrupted in a way that’s really unspeakable.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a virtual address to Congress by video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
(Drew Angerer, Pool via AP)

“You could see more concern in his eyes this time than what we saw a week or so ago when we did a Zoom with him,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., told Fox News Digital.

“The video really captured the moment – devastating. Hopefully people, not only our country gets to see that video, which is very graphic. The whole world needs to see it,” Tuberville added. “That’s the trouble we’re in with these dictators trying to do what they’re doing.”

“It is a gut punch and reminder of how we have to help the Ukrainian people in this moment,” Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, D-Mass., told Fox News Digital. 

“To see the images of the beauty of Ukraine before all of this started and then show images of what these bombed out buildings look like, children with blood all over them, dead bodies in the street, putting people who had been murdered into mass graves – incredibly, incredibly moving,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduces Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak to the U.S. Congress by video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. 
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

Zelenskyy’s speech comes at a critical juncture in the war as Russian forces continue to bombard Ukraine’s infrastructure and kill civilians, and encircle its capital of Kyiv. Zelenskyy also is the target of assassination plots by Russian saboteurs in Kyiv, he said. 

In the address, Zelenskyy appealed to Americans emotions, invoking events including 9/11, Pearl Harbor, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He asked the U.S. to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine – a proposal lawmakers say is a nonstarter due to the risk of confrontation with Russia – or alternatively to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons. 

Zelenskyy also asked for President Biden directly in his speech. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a virtual address to Congress by video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. 
(Sarah Silbiger, Pool via AP)

“I’m addressing the President Biden,” Zelenskyy said. “You, the leader of your nation, I wish you to be the leader of the world.” 

“It was a very powerful speech and a very vivid reminder of how Putin’s war is raining down on children, old people, everyone in Ukraine,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said. “President Zelenskyy used that video to make very clear what it’s like on the ground in Ukraine.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 

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