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Ukraine’s President Addresses Congress as War Persists – Lesson

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Volodymyr Zelensky (Photo credit should read UKRINFORM/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

As the conflict continues, people are asking what America’s reaction should be.

As the war continues between Russia and Ukraine, peace talks have been going on but with no result so far. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky recently gave a speech to the US Congress via video link, asking for America to get more involved in the conflict. Russia began invading its neighbor almost a month ago, so what is happening in Ukraine, and what has the US response been?

On the Ground

As the Russian forces move westward into Ukraine, they have been firing shells – containers full of explosives – into cities around Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv. Around 1,000 Russian missiles have been fired into Ukraine, and it seems most of the damage has been caused by this shelling. According to some sources, actual soldiers haven’t advanced very far into Ukraine’s territory, due to supply problems.


A high school building is seen damaged after missile attacks in Ukraine on March 1, 2022. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Here are some key points about the situation on the ground in Ukraine:

  • Kyiv is under sustained shelling with numerous buildings being destroyed, including residents’ homes. Other targets include infrastructure such as an aircraft factory and communication towers.
  • Russian troops have encircled the port city of Mariupol, and fighting has reached the center of the city. Mariupol has been one of the hardest hit cities during the invasion. It’s reported that 400,000 people are still in the city, and people are hiding in basements trapped without running water, electricity, or other supplies.
  • The cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv are also under heavy attack.
  • Russia accused Ukraine of launching a missile into the rebel city of Donetsk, which supports Russia. Ukraine denied this, claiming it was actually a Russian missile that hit the city.
  • A Russian official said that his country’s forces had taken control of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region.
  • It’s reported that Yevhen Matveyev, a mayor in a southern city, was kidnapped by Russian forces, who then put in a new mayor to replace him.
  • A TV station said it was hacked to broadcast a fake message of Ukraine’s president telling his citizens to surrender.
  • According to the United Nations, an estimated three million Ukrainians have left the country as refuges, while 6.5 million are displaced within their country.
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Zelensky addresses US Congress. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Zelensky Addresses Congress

Ukraine’s President Zelensky spoke to the US Congress via satellite on Wednesday, March 16. He asked America to provide his country with combat aircraft, as well as other weapons to defend from air attacks. While the US has already agreed to send some money and military equipment to aid Ukraine’s efforts, Zelensky said, “I call on you to do more.” He urged America to put sanctions on all Russian politicians and to pressure companies to stop doing business in Russia. “Russians do not receive a single penny that they use to destroy people in Ukraine,” he suggested.

Following the speech, President Joe Biden announced he would send an additional $800 million to Ukraine.

What Has the US Been Doing?

Vice President Kamala Harris visited European allies Poland and Romania recently to discuss what could be done to help Ukraine. The message Harris conveyed on behalf of the nation was three-fold:

  • The US stands by its NATO allies (many European countries belong to the NATO alliance, but Ukraine doesn’t).
  • The US will continue to support Ukraine and its people.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion was a mistake that will end in a “resounding defeat” for his country.

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Harris’ boss, President Biden, has put sanctions on Russia. He blocked certain people and businesses in Russia using US dollars. He also banned Russian oil in America. Russia sells a lot of fuel around the world, and Biden is hoping to put a dent in those sales, causing Russia to suffer financially. The embargo on Russian oil means the US will stop accepting about 500,000 barrels per day at American seaports. He said during the announcement:

“Today I am announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy. We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to [Russian President] Putin’s war machine.”

Congress also introduced a bill to ban Russian oil imports, as well as passing a law to give over $13 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Is the US doing enough, or not? As the war continues between Russia and Ukraine, world leaders have to strike a careful balance if they hope to end this conflict and avoid turning it into a bigger one. Leaders and other people around the world are debating what is the best way to bring a return to peace.