Greetings, live blog readers. Happy Monday.
As we move into Day 19 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the Kremlin showing no sign of slowing down, there is news from Washington: Volodymyr Zelenskiythe president of Ukrainewill address Congress on Wednesday.
Announcing the address, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosiand Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumersaid: “The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine, who have shown extraordinary courage, resilience and determination in the face of Russia’s unprovoked vicious and illegal war.
“As war rages on in Ukraine, it is with great respect and admiration for the Ukrainian people that we invite all members of the House and Senate to attend a virtual address to the United States Congress, delivered by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine on Wednesday 16 March at 9am. ”
The address will only be open to members of Congress, the Democrats said.
Congress, meanwhile, is laying it on heavy on the Biden administration.
Politico Playbook took note this morning on how even though lawmakers typically let the White House take charge on matters of foreign policy, Republicans and Democrats have joined forces to push for the ban on Russian oil imports and an end to Russian trade relations.
Now Congress is amping up the pressure when it comes to the issue of the fighter jets in Poland. Zelenskiy has repeatedly pleaded to his global partners to send aid in the form of fighter jets. Poland has a cache of Soviet-style planes and last week Polish officials said they were available to Ukraine as soon as the US was ready to make the transfer happen.
The US has balked at facilitating this transfer for a number of reasons – they would be coming from a Nato airbase, for one, and over the weekend, Russia warned that it would view any such delivery as an escalation.
But Rob Portmanthe Republican senator from Ohio, spoke to CNN from the Ukraine-Poland border on Sunday and pointed out that Vladimir Putin had also called sanctions an “act of war”.
Stay tuned for more.