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16th Mar 2022

Ukraine’s president receives standing ovation after Martin Luther King reference in heartbreaking speech

Kieran Galpin


Zelenskyy addressed Biden directly, calling for him to act like the leader of the free world

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has received another standing ovation, this time from Congress who heard him plead for more assistance during a speech that referenced the words of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King and likened Ukraine’s current situation with the tragedy of September 11.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Zelenskyy has been hailed as a hero, leaving western leaders in awe of his dedication to lead his country to peace. In scenes akin to his speech to parliament, Zelenskyy appeared in front of congress on March 16, where he gave an impassioned speech calling for further aid.

“We need you right now,” he pleaded.

His powerful speech included graphic images and videos depicting dilapidated buildings, injured citizens and mass graves for both civilian and military fatalities. “I call on you to do more,” he asked, with numerous lawmakers fighting back tears.

Zelenskyy once again asked for the United States and its allies to implement a no-fly zone, which many fear will directly lead to World War III. The Ukrainian president also requested more economic sanctions, military equipment, fighter jets and missile defence systems.

Calling for a no-fly zone, Zelenskyy invoked phrasing reminiscent of one of Martin Luther King’s most iconic speeches: “I have a dream…I have a need. I need to protect our sky,” he said.

“I need your decision… exactly the same you feel when you say ‘I have a dream.”

He also made reference to previous attacks on American soil, including Pearl Harbour and September 11, saying: “Remember September 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, in battlefields.

“When innocent people were attacked from air, yes. Just like nobody else expected it, you could not stop it.”

Zelenskyy’s conclusion was not dissimilar to speeches given to the likes of UK politicians and their Canadian counterparts.

Switching to English, he said: “Being the leader of the means to be the leader of peace.

“I am almost 45 years old. Today when the hearts of more than 100 children stopped beating, I see no sense in life.

“I am addressing the President Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”

Senator Mitt Romney was one of the many lawmakers to commend the president following his address.

He Tweeted: “I’m again moved by his monumental leadership and heroic courage. Being a world leader does indeed mean we have a responsibility to be a leader of freedom and peace. We must fulfil his request immediately. Get Ukraine the MiGs.”

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