March 16, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) – After hearing from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Wednesday morning, north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik criticized President Biden for “weakness and delay” in helping Ukraine.
In a historic address to congress, Zelenskyy pleaded for more help from the U.S., especially in protecting Ukraine’s skies from Russian bombs and artillery shells.
“This administration has been far too slow, not only in their implementation of sanctions, but the lack of completeness of sanctions,” Stefanik said right after Zelenskyy’s speech.
“The Ukrainian people need those MiGs, they need them now, they need them yesterday.”
(President Biden announced Wednesday he’s sending an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. It does not include the fighter jets.)
The Ukrainian government has asked western countries to establish a “no-fly” zone over Ukraine, or – failing in that – to supply Ukraine with MiG 29 fighter jets.
Stefanik said Republicans have been “united in advocating for strong tough sanctions for months, pre-dating the invasion.” In a written statement, she said the U.S. needs to “use every lever of economic power to cripple the Russian economy through tougher sanctions targeting the Russian energy sector.”
Stefanik said “As a new mom, it is heart-wrenching to watch the video that President Zelenskyy just played, in terms of the bombing of maternity wards and the warm crimes that are being committed today.”
During his address to congress, Zelenskyy played a brief video contrasting what Ukraine was before the Russian invasion, and what has happened to the country since.
“Make no mistake, there will be consequences on the global stage for Vladimir Putin, who is a war criminal and a thug,” Stefanik said.
New York’s senators weighed in on Zelenskyy’s speech as well.
Charles Schumer said he “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.”
And Kirsten Gillibrand praised Zelenskyy’s “resilience and strength” but said she has not changed her mind about imposing a ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine.
“I have not changed my mind that we should not enforce a no-fly zone,” she said. “Because one of the things Putin would love to do is turn this into a world war. He would love to use his nuclear weapons, love to decimate more cities in Ukraine, and he’d like to expand that to other NATO countries and even America.
“We’re not going to play into President Putin’s irresponsible and power-hungry war.”
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