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During his virtual address to members of Congress on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked U.S. lawmakers to watch a graphic video showing Ukrainian cities before and after Russia’s deadly military invasion.
“I ask you to watch one video, a video of what the Russian troops did in our country,” Zelensky said. “We have to stop it, we must prevent it, prevent or destroy every single aggressor who seeks to subjugate other nations. Please watch the video.”
The two-minute video began with a montage of peaceful scenes of children playing in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson and other cities before pivoting to missile strikes on residential areas.
The clip then oscillated between before-and-after images showing the destruction left by Russia’s assault. First responders trying to save bombing victims. Women and children crying. Bodies strewn across the pavement. Bodies dumped into a trench that served as a makeshift gravesite.
In the middle of the tragic montage, a message was displayed on the screen. “This is a murder,” it read.
The video concluded with another message: “Close the sky over Ukraine.”
Zelensky has repeatedly called for a no-fly zone, but the United States and other NATO allies have so far resisted the request.
Earlier in his address, Zelensky invoked the worst attacks on U.S. soil while pleading for more military assistance to fight back against Russia’s invasion.
“We need you right now [to] remember Pearl Harbor, the terrible morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Just remember, remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001, when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields, when innocent people were attacked,” Zelensky said. “Just like no one else expected it, you could not stop it. Our country experiences the same every day right now.”
According to the United Nations, at least 726 civilians, including 64 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Feb. 24, when Russia’s military invasion began. More than 3 million refugees have fled the war-torn country.