Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that his country will not abandon Ukraine’s neutrality, disarm and eliminate what he described as Nazism in Kyiv, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called in a speech before the US Congress to devise new tools to confront Russia and impose new sanctions on it.
Putin added, during a government meeting broadcast on television, that Western countries “shake the foundations of the world order and push Ukraine to continue to shed blood by supplying it with weapons.”
The Russian President stressed that his country will respond to the new Western sanctions package against Russia, and that Moscow will not back down before achieving the goals behind what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Putin said that the West will not succeed in what he described as its attempt to dominate the world and dismember Russia, adding that the West’s long-term policy is to keep Russia under control, considering that Western economic sanctions on his country are short-sighted.
Aid for the Russians
The Russian president pledged to provide financial aid to individuals and companies to counter Western sanctions imposed in the past days after Russia launched a war on its neighbor Ukraine, and also pledged to increase employee salaries and pensions.
The goal behind the Western sanctions – according to Putin – was to destabilize the Russian economy, but that did not work, he said, adding that his country would turn to emerging international markets due to “pressure and sanctions”, stressing that “the new reality requires us to make deep economic changes.” .
On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed a video speech to members of the US Congress, calling for the creation of new tools “to confront Russia and impose new sanctions to stop the Russian war machine.”
Zelensky said that he is addressing US President Joe Biden, “and he wishes to be a leader of the world, and that means to be a leader of peace.”
The Ukrainian president added that his country needs an American decision to protect its skies. He pointed out that if the establishment of a no-fly zone is not possible, Ukraine needs aircraft and air defense systems to defend itself.
After Zelensky’s speech, he showed a video recording containing horrific scenes of death and destruction in his country, and ended with the phrase “Close the sky over Ukraine.”
US President Joe Biden and other leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are resisting Kyiv’s request to impose a no-fly zone, amid fears that this could lead to a war between Russia and NATO.
The Ukrainian president called on American lawmakers to pressure American companies that are still operating in the Russian market to withdraw from it, stressing that the fate of his country and its people is now decided, and said that Russia “attacked his country’s values, dreams and desire to live in peace.”