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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Virtual Address To The U.S. Congress

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding this morning’s virtual address to the U.S. Congress by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Moments ago, speaking through a video feed from Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed members of both the House and the Senate as the war in Ukraine and enters its 21st awful day.

It is one of the highest honors of any Congress to welcome remarks by a foreign head of state, but it is unheard of to hear from a leader fighting for his life, fighting for his country’s future, and fighting to preserve the very idea of democracy.

I cannot remember the last time a foreign leader united a room full of members from both sides so quickly and so intensely. He spoke not just to American ears, but to America’s very soul. In one sense, his speech was reminiscent of that stirring feeling all of us had in the aftermath of 9/11, equal parts resolve and unity and determination to save democracy from an hour of darkness.

As we have said from the start of the war, the Senate, the Congress, and the American people stand unequivocally behind the people of Ukraine. America will continue to strengthen our NATO allies and reassure our friends in Europe that we will remain a steady ally.

It’s why last week Congress approved nearly $14 billion for food, shelter, money for Javelins and Stingers and anti-aircraft weapons, and refugee help. Every last penny that the U.S. sends to Ukraine is money well spent.

This morning, it’s reported that President Biden will also announce another $800 million in military assistance. This means funding for anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons that have been the most effective on the battlefield for the Ukrainians.

Last night, the Senate also unanimously passed legislation supporting investigations by the International Criminal Court into potential war crimes by Putin and his regime. I thank Senator Graham and the many, many others who backed this bill. The Senate also confirmed the Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice – our lead advocate in making sure this investigation is robust and it is swift. 

These steps are all necessary. Over the last two weeks, we have seen Putin attack the largest nuclear plant in Europe; attack the Chernobyl containment site; attack a children’s hospital; and attack designated humanitarian convoys. 

Putin so far is not winning militarily so now this evil man is trying to win by massacring civilians, massacring babies, parents, the elderly, and targeting apartments. Just as he did in Syria. Just as he did in Chechnya. If this doesn’t equal a war crime, I don’t know what does. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now that President Putin and his band of cronies are not going to stop. But in his monomaniacal hubris, Putin has severely—severely— underestimated the Ukrainian people.

Every time an innocent Ukrainian is killed, the resolve of the people grows stronger and we stand with them.

I join my colleagues in one voice to say this: Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukriane.

Just seeing the video the president showed us is heartbreaking and strengthens our resolve. Putin, being such a villain, such a brutal, evil man is not going to deter the Ukrainians, for sure, and not the American people from helping Ukraine. It strengthens our resolve when we see how vicious, how brutal he is.