Ukraine President Zelenskyy requests more lethal aid during virtual meeting with US senators

Senate action to help Ukraine would ‘carry a lot of weight’: Military analyst

National security and military analyst Rebecca Grant on what could result from a U.S. Senate virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday spoke to U.S. senators virtually as Congress weighs additional aid requests to help the country fight off a brutal Russian invasion. 

Zelenskyy spoke to the senators on Zoom video call where the president wore a military green t-shirt and spoke aside a Ukrainian flag. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., posted a picture of the meeting, which was to begin at 9:30 a.m Saturday EST.

“On Zoom call now with President Zelensky,” Rubio wrote. 

The meeting comes as NATO rejected a Zelenskyy request for a no-fly zone over Ukraine to provide air cover for the Ukrainian people. Zelenskyy slammed the decision, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that having alliance planes over Ukrainian airspace could spark a new world war. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen in a Zoom call with U.S. senators on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Image: Sen. Marco Rubio)
( Sen. Marco Rubio)

A Senate source tells Fox News Digital that the no-fly zone came up during the meeting and Zelenskyy asked for more planes. He also demanded the U.S. cut off Visa and Mastercard in Russia.

Zelenskyy described the horrors of the war and how Russians are killing and shelling civilians. He told senators that he needs more lethal aid to push back on Russian President Vladimir Putin, the source said.

Zelenskyy also told senators that the US must embargo Russian oil. He also said that Belarus, Lukaschenko doesn’t control the troops, Russia is ordering them.

The Ukrainian president also told senators, “if you had started sanctions months ago, there would not have been war,” according to a source within the Senate.

Zelenskyy said during the call that Ukraine has a strong relationship with Poland and the humanitarian assistance and military assistance flows easily. 

Earlier Saturday, Zelenskyy urged Russia and Belarus to cooperate on providing humanitarian corridors so civilians can escape the war zone.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to female flight attendants in comments broadcast on state television on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Image: Reuters Video)
(Reuters Video)

“Humanitarian corridors must work today,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted on Instagram. “To save people. Women, children, the elderly. To give food and medicine to those who remain.”

“Our help is already on the way,” he said. “Everyone who needs help should be able to leave.”

The two main corridors should allow citizens in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to flee as the fighting intensifies.

Meantime, the Biden administration is requesting at least $10 billion in new money to provide aid to Ukraine amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against the nation. The aid would go for additional humanitarian, security, and economic assistance in Ukraine and the neighboring region in the coming days and weeks, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Smoke rise after shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 4, 2022.(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House would take up the emergency Ukraine request next week as part of a larger government spending bill that Congress needs to pass by March 11 or else risk a government shutdown. 

Fox News’ Kelly Laco, Peter Aitken and Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 

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