Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, concluded an hour-long video call with US senators in which he called for more support to defend his country against Russian invasion.
All 100 US senators were invited to the Zoom call, with aides then informing reporters that Zelenskiy has requested the delivery of more planes and drones. James Lankford, a Republican senator, then tweeted that the Ukrainian president also wants “the world to stop buying Russian products (like oil and gas)”.
Zelenskiy made a “desperate plea” for Eastern Europe to supply Russian-made planes to Ukraine during an appeal, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “These planes are very necessary. And I will do everything I can to help the administration facilitate their transfer,” Schumer said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Congressional leaders are working on a roughly $10 billion economic and security aid package for Ukraine, with aides advising that fighter jets could be sent to the conflict via a third country. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, tweeted that NATO should “immediately facilitate the transfer of combat aircraft from Poland, Romania and Slovakia to Ukraine”.
Western leaders have so far rejected Zelenskiy’s request to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. But the senators expressed their strong support for the country after the meeting.
“I and others reaffirmed American support for Ukraine and discussed additional assistance the United States will send to our partners in their fight for freedom. All eyes are on Ukraine as she stands on the front lines of defending democracy,” tweeted Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, while Gary Peters, another Democrat, called Zelenskiy a “true inspiration.”
Rick Scott, a Republican, called for tougher action against Russia and Belarus, tweeting that the US should take “EVERY action to destroy their economies”.