WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky did something Wednesday that few have been able to do in recent years, uniting Republicans and Democrats in Washington. In a speech to a joint session of Congress, Zelensky called on lawmakers to remember Pearl Harbor, remember 9/11 then reminding them that the people of his country have been living their own 9/11 every day for three weeks now.
"It was very moving, I think the plea that we heard from the President of Ukraine touched many of us," said Congresswoman Shontel Brown. Brown said she was touched by Zelensky's invoking of Dr. Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech telling Congress well "I have a need, a need to protect our sky." Brown supports providing Ukraine the tools they'll need to do that short of a no-fly zone.
"It sounds like a passive thing to say a no-fly zone but I think the people need to recognize that a no-fly zone means that when planes are in the air that we would have to shoot them down and that would be an act of war."
Congressman Dave Joyce tweeted his praise and his continued support for Ukraine reminding Republicans "America first does not mean America only."
Joyce told News 5 over the weekend he doesn't agree with the Biden Administration in viewing the transfer of Soviet-era MIGs from Poland to Ukraine as escalatory any more than the weapons we've already provided.
"If you want to give them stinger missiles and other objects and say we're not helping provoke, or somehow we're not helping them you know the jets would help them too," Joyce said. "Let them cover their own air space, let them defend their country just like we had to defend ours over the years."
Senator Rob Portman just returned from Poland where he met with Ukrainian refugees. He believes in providing Ukraine with everything they need for them to protect their own skies.
"This does mean anti-aircraft weapons, this does mean planes, this does mean drones, this does mean everything we can possibly do to protect a country that is under siege," he said adding that it needs to be done fast.
"We need to be creative right now this is a matter of hours and days, not weeks and months."
Portman also supports the transfer of the Polish MIGs to Ukraine. "What we're talking about is just giving the Ukrainians the ability to defend themselves. None of these are offensive weapons, none of them. Ukraine has no offensive desires, Ukraine just wants to defend itself."
"The Ukrainians are just trying to protect their own country, a territory that is independent and sovereign," he said reminding of the promise that was made to Ukraine when they agreed to give up the world's third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"By the way we also signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 that said that we were going to protect them. They were asked to give up their nuclear weapons in exchange for guarantees of protection by the UK, by the United States of America, and by Russia and here we are today. We didn't keep our end of the bargain. Certainly, Russia didn't."