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Biden calls Putin a 'war criminal' after Zelenskyy calls for no-fly zone in US Congress address

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called on US President Joe Biden to be “the leader of peace”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Image: ABACA/PA Images

Updated Mar 16th 2022, 9:20 PM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR Zelenskyy has reiterated calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine this afternoon in an address to the US Congress.

During the speech, he spoke in both Ukrainian and English and showed a graphic video of scenes in Ukraine, showing Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian apartment blocks and streets.

US President Joe Biden labelled Putin a “war criminal” after watching the harrowing TV footage. 

It was the first time Biden has used the phrase to describe Putin, and the US president then tweeted that Putin was “inflicting appalling devastation and horror on Ukraine – bombing apartment buildings and maternity wards.”

Referring to reports that Russian troops took hostage doctors and patients in a Mariupol hospital, Biden said that “these are atrocities. It is an outrage to the world.”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that Biden’s rhetorical attack was “unacceptable and unforgivable on the part of the head of a state, whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”

Zelenskyy received a standing ovation from American lawmakers at the beginning and end of his speech, where he drew on both Pearl Harbour and the 9/11 attacks.

“This is a terror that Europe has not seen for 80 years,” Zelenskyy said.

“Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you.

Remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, in battlefields.
Our country experiences the same every day.

While calling for the no-fly zone, Zelenskyy also sought further sanctions against Russia to stop their ability to wage war against Ukraine.

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“New sanctions are needed until the Russian military machine stops,” Zelenskyy said.

He also said that as Biden is the leader of the free world, he needed to be “the leader of peace” around the world.

“I am addressing President Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace,” said Zelenskyy, addressing the Congress in English.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Tadgh McNally

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