Americans respond to Zelenskyy's plea with empathy, pain, and hope

Americans reacted with sympathy, pain, frustration, and sometimes anger Wednesday to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine,'s passionate speech to Congress asking for more assistance to a nation and a population under siege.

Americans respond to Zelenskyy's plea with empathy, pain, and hope

Zelenskyy's speech was shared by thousands across the country via social media. Many were particularly affected by the clip of bloody children in hospitals, bodies in streets and crumbling facades in apartment buildings.

Many were shocked by Zelenskyy’s statement that "I see no use in life if it can't stop the death."

Eric Bottoms, a North Little Rock day trader, stated that America is bound to protect Ukraine's citizens because Russian President Putin "purposely targets" them.

Bottoms stated, "It's morally right to do so," comparing relative inaction with failing to stop Nazi Germany from attacking the first century. How many lives could we have saved if we had done it earlier?

A small group of workers gathered at Streecha in New York City to watch Zelenskyy's comments live on television. Dmytro Kolenko, the manager of the canteen, moved from Ukraine to the United States in 2014 following the Russian invasion Crimea.

Kovalenko stated that he believed his country could win the war even if America provided more assistance, such as anti-aircraft guns or the establishment of a no fly zone. For fear of anescalating war, the U.S. has ruled out the possibility.

Kovalenko stated that the United States had proven to be our allies and friends supporting us. "Maybe they could do more. We expect them to do more. You have already proven that you are our friend."

Zelenskyy used the September 11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor as examples to urge Congress to help Ukraine fight back against Russia. He also called for increased U.S. financial sanctions on Russia.

Zelenskyy was right to use the horrors 9/11 and Pearl Harbor to appeal to Americans. Taisa Kulyk is a Harvard University senior and a Cleveland, Ohio native. Her parents, who immigrated from Ukraine in 1996, is 22 years old. Kulyk stated that Ukraine is now experiencing the terror every day and every night for three consecutive weeks. "The world can't just watch and witness terrorism of this magnitude."

Zelenskyy "appealed at the American experience terror, thus speaking directly with American voters," Oleh Kotsyuba (a 41-year old scholar at Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute, who is originally from Ukraine) said.

After Zelenskyy's speech, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would send an additional $800million in military aid to Ukraine. This includes more anti-aircraft weapons and drones and more anti-tank weapons. This totals $2 billion in aid to Kyiv since Biden's election more than a decade ago.

Numerous Ukrainian Americans sat in Detroit's Warren suburb, Michigan, as the flag of Ukraine was raised in front City Hall. Luba Kytasta was one of them. She described her initial reaction at Zelenskyy’s speech as "Heartbreak", "rage", outrage, and hope."

Kytasta stated that the outrage stemmed from "what's happened to my people, my country that my parents were born in", as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin who she claimed "wants all of us to die, not just in Ukraine, but because we're also suffering here."

She said, "I can't eat and I can't go to sleep - just like all the other Ukrainians." "This is all that's on your mind."

Kytasta stated that Zelenskyy's address provided her with hope.

He is very determined. He is very focused. He's very focused, just like all the Ukrainian fighters," Kytasta said.

Social media responses to Zelenskyy’s speech were dominated by the ever-lingering question "What to Do?" Anger and helplessness were the dominant emotions. Many stated that they couldn't allow the violence to continue. Others warned that accepting Zelenskyy’s request for anti-aircraft missiles or air power could lead to World War III.

Others criticized U.S. legislators who applauded Zelenskyy Wednesday, but had voted against impeaching or convicting the former President Donald Trump for withholding U.S. Military Aid to Zelenskyy’s government in 2019.

Mykola Murskyj from the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan in Warren stated that he lost 9 pounds because he was worried about his family and friends since the war began.

Murskyj said, "We're spending every moment working for Ukraine," and he watched Zelenskyy speak online from the kitchen of his sister’s Detroit-area house.

He said, "It was an extremely moving address." "There are children and mothers dying on the streets, apartment bombings, nuclear power plant attacks -- these are things that were unimaginable a month ago in Europe.

"And now they are happening, and we must do something."


 

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