August 13, 2022

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By LISA MASCARO

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday known as Russian President Vladimir Putin a battle felony because the atrocities in Ukraine mount and the president there begged the U.S. Congress for extra assist.

“He’s a battle felony,” the president stated of Putin as he left an unrelated occasion. It’s the sharpest condemnation but of Putin and Russian actions by a U.S. official because the invasion of Ukraine.

Whereas different world leaders have used the phrases, the White Home had been hesitant to declare Putin’s actions these of a battle felony, saying it was a authorized time period that required analysis.

However in a speech Wednesday, Biden stated Russian troops had bombed hospitals and held docs hostage. He pledged extra assist to assist Ukraine battle Russia.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows beneath.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy summoned the reminiscence of Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults in interesting Wednesday to the U.S. Congress to do extra to assist Ukraine’s battle in opposition to Russia. President Joe Biden stated the U.S. is sending extra anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones.

Zelenskyy, livestreamed to a rapt viewers of lawmakers on a large display, acknowledged the no-fly zone he has sought to “shut the sky” to airstrikes on his nation could not occur. Biden has resisted that, in addition to approval for the U.S. or NATO to ship MiG fighter jets from Poland.

As a substitute, Zelenskyy pleaded for different army assist to cease the Russian assault.

Biden, describing assist he was already ready to announce, stated the U.S. will probably be sending a further $800 million in army help, making a complete of $2 billion in such assist despatched to Kyiv since he took workplace greater than a yr in the past. About $1 billion in assist has been despatched up to now week. Biden stated the brand new help consists of 800 Stinger anti-aircraft programs, 100 grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launchers and mortar rounds and an unspecified variety of drones.

“We’re going to offer Ukraine the arms to battle and defend themselves by all of the tough days forward,” Biden stated.

Biden spoke hours after Zelenskyy delivered a video deal with to members of U.S. Congress by which he made an impassioned plea for the U.S. and West to offer extra assist to save lots of his younger democracy than world leaders have to this point pledged to offer.

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For the primary time in a public deal with to world leaders, he confirmed a packed auditorium of lawmakers a graphic video of the destruction and devastation his nation has suffered within the battle, together with heartbreaking scenes of civilian casualties.

“We want you proper now,” Zelenskyy stated. “I name on you to do extra.”

Lawmakers gave him a standing ovation, earlier than and after his brief remarks, which Zelenskyy started in Ukrainian by an interpreter however then switched to English in a heartfelt attraction to assist finish the bloodshed.

“I see no sense in life if it can not cease the deaths,” he stated.

Nearing the three-week mark in an ever-escalating battle, Zelenskyy has used the worldwide stage to implore allied leaders to assist cease the Russian invasion of his nation. The younger actor-turned-president usually attracts from historical past, giving weight to what have turn into highly effective appearances.

Biden has stopped in need of offering a no-fly zone or the switch of army jets from neighboring Poland because the U.S. seeks to keep away from a direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

The White Home has been weighing giving Ukraine entry to U.S.-made Switchblade drones that may fly and strike Russian targets, in response to a separate particular person accustomed to the matter who was not licensed to talk publicly. It was not instantly clear if the brand new drones that Biden stated could be delivered to Ukraine embrace the Switchblades.

Zelenskyy has emerged as a heroic determine on the middle of what many view as the largest safety menace to Europe since World Conflict II. Nearly 3 million refugees have fled Ukraine, the quickest exodus in trendy instances.

Sporting his now trademark military inexperienced T-shirt, Zelinskyy started the remarks to his “American buddies” by invoking the destruction the U.S. suffered in 1941 when Japan bombed the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the 2001 assaults on the World Commerce Heart and the Pentagon by militants who commandeered passenger airplanes to crash into the symbols of Western democracy and economic system.

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“Keep in mind Pearl Harbor? … Keep in mind September 11?” Zelenzkyy requested. “Our international locations expertise the identical day by day proper now.”

Biden stated he listened to Zelenskyy’s “important” speech however didn’t instantly deal with the Ukrainian’s critique that the U.S. and West may very well be doing extra. The U.S. president stated Zelenskyy’s speech mirrored Ukrainians “braveness and energy” proven all through the disaster.

“We’re united in our abhorrence of Putin’s wicked onslaught and we’re going to proceed to have their backs as they battle for his or her freedom, their democracy, their very survival.”

Sen. Angus King, the Maine impartial. stated there was a “collective holding of the breath” within the room throughout Zelenskyy’s deal with. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska stated, “When you didn’t have a look at that video and really feel there’s an obligation for not solely the USA however however the free international locations of the world to come back collectively in assist of Ukraine, you had your eyes closed.” Majority Whip Dick Durbin known as the deal with heartbreaking and stated, “I’m on board with a clean verify on sanctions, simply no matter we will do to cease this Russian advance.”

Outdoors the Capitol demonstrators held a big signal lawmakers noticed as they walked again to their workplaces. “No Fly Zone=World Conflict 3.”

The Ukrainian president isn’t any stranger to Congress, having performed a central position in Donald Trump’s first impeachment. As president, Trump was accused of withholding safety assist to Ukraine as he pressured Zelenskyy to dig up grime on political rival Biden. Zelenskyy spoke Wednesday from a large display to lots of the similar Republican lawmakers who declined to question or convict Trump, however are among the many bipartisan groundswell in Congress now clamoring for army assist to Ukraine.

He thanked the American folks, saying Ukraine is grateful for the outpouring of assist, at the same time as he urged Biden to do extra.

“You’re the chief of the nation. I want you be the chief of the world,” he stated “Being the chief of the world means being the chief of peace.”

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It was the newest go to as Zelenskky makes use of the West’s nice legislative our bodies in his appeals for assist, invoking Shakespeare’s Hamlet final week on the British Home of Commons asking whether or not Ukraine is “to be or to not be” and interesting Tuesday to “Pricey Justin” as he addressed the Canadian Parliament and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He usually pushes for extra assist to save lots of his younger democracy than world leaders have to this point pledged to offer.

To Congress, he drew on the picture of Mount Rushmore and instructed the lawmakers that folks in his nation wish to reside their nationwide desires simply as they do.

“Democracy, independence, freedom.”

Biden has insisted there will probably be no U.S. troops on the bottom in Ukraine and has resisted Zelenskyy’s relentless pleas for warplanes as too dangerous, doubtlessly escalating right into a direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

“Direct battle between NATO and Russia is World Conflict III,” Biden has stated.

Zelenskyy appeared to acknowledge the political actuality.

“Is that this to an excessive amount of to ask to create a no fly zone over Ukraine?” he requested, answering his personal query. “If that is an excessive amount of to ask, we provide an alternate,” he stated, calling for weapons programs that might assist battle Russian plane.

Already the Biden administration has despatched Ukraine greater than 600 Stinger missiles, 2,600 Javelin anti-armor programs, unmanned aerial system monitoring radars, grenade launchers, 200 shotguns, 200 machine weapons and almost 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition, together with helicopters, patrol boats, satellite tv for pc imagery and physique armor, helmets, and different tactical gear, the U.S. official stated.

Congress has already accredited $13.6 billion in army and humanitarian assist for Ukraine, and the newly introduced safety assist will come from that allotment, which is a part of a broader invoice that Biden signed into legislation Tuesday.

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Related Press writers Zeke Miller, Mary Clare Jalonick, Aamer Madhani, Ellen Knickmeyer, Farnoush Amiri, Kevin Freking, Alan Fram, Nomaan Service provider and Chris Megerian and Raf Casert in Brussels, Jill Lawless in London, Aritz Parra in Madrid and videojournalist Rick Gentilo contributed to this report.