Ukraine’s first lady addressed Congress on Wednesday, asking for more weapons to defend against what she called “Russian hunger games” killing children and ripping apart families.
“I want to address you not as a first lady but as a daughter and a mother,” Olena Zelenska told the gathered lawmakers. “An unprovoked invasive terrorist war is being waged against my country.”
“Russia is destroying our people,” she added.
The address came one day after Ms. Zelenska met with Jill Biden at the White House as their husbands seek to keep the world’s attention on the war ravaging Ukraine and the larger threat posed by Russian aggression.
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, said in a letter to House colleagues before the speech that “the brutality of Russian aggression and the treatment of women and children have horrified the American people, and these crimes have been of particular concern to the women members of Congress.”
The talks between Ms. Zelenska and Dr. Biden on Tuesday came just over two months after the two first met during Dr. Biden’s unannounced visit in western Ukraine. The meetings underscored how the war has dramatically reshaped their roles in recent months.
Ms. Zelenska, 44, who once focused on issues of female empowerment, literacy and culture in Ukraine, has been using her profile to raise awareness about Russian crimes against children and older citizens.
She met her future husband, Volodymyr Zelensky, when they were still students at different universities in their hometown, the industrial city of Kryvyi Rih. She later became a script writer at Kvartal 95, the production company that Mr. Zelensky founded before he traded comic acting for the presidency — and then became a wartime president.
In a post on Telegram, Ms. Zelenska said she was seeking help from the American government and business community for a program to provide prosthetic limbs to Ukrainian children who stepped on land mines or were maimed in bombardments.