Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska spoke before the US House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday and appealed to lawmakers to provide more help to her country as it struggles against a five-month-long Russian invasion.
"We remain completely broken when our world is destroyed by war. Tens of thousands of such worlds have been destroyed in Ukraine," she said through a translator in her emotional 15-minute speech, according to the Reuters news agency.
Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, showed videos of children she said had been wounded or killed, including a three-year-old boy now in Germany learning how to use prosthetic limbs.
"How many children like him are there in Ukraine? How many families like this may still be destroyed by war? These are Russia's 'Hunger Games,'" she said in reference to a series of novels and movies in which people hunt one another.
"I am asking for weapons, weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else's land, but to protect one's home and the right to wake up alive in that home," Zelenska said.
"The answer is right here in Washington, D.C. ... Help us to stop this terror against Ukrainians and this will be our joint great victory in the name of life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness," she pleaded.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow is expanding the scope of the Ukraine war beyond the eastern Donbas region.
The announcement took place as Russian troops attacked targets in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Russia’s new goals in the conflict will include expanding deeper into Ukrainian territory if Western nations continue sending Kyiv long-range missiles, such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti.
His statement verified a Tuesday warning by the Biden administration that Russia was planning to annex additional Ukrainian territory.
"Russia is laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory that it controls in direct violation of Ukraine's sovereignty," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
"Russia is beginning to roll out a version of what you could call an annexation playbook, very similar to the one we saw in 2014," when it invaded and eventually annexed Crimea, Kirby said.
The areas targeted for annexation, continued Kirby, include Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, all of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Shortly before he launched the invasion of Ukraine this past February, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the two separatist regions in Ukraine of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent and later announced he would deploy "peacekeeping" forces there.
He then said that rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine had asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian "aggression", fueling fears that the rebel request amounted to a pretext for war.