Tulane grad in Ukraine hopes Zelenskyy’s speech spurs action

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Tulane law graduate living in Ukraine says the clock is ticking when it comes to achieving peace in Ukraine.

He is hopeful that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech helps Congress provide more air defenses in a country under siege.

“Every morning at 5 AM we have air alarm systems calling people to go to the shelters,” said Ivan Bonderchuk, who relocated to the town of Ivano-Frankivsk, 400 miles west of Kyiv.

He says Russian forces have now bombed the airport three times, reinforcing the need for a no-fly zone requested by Zelenskyy in his appeal to Congress.

More: Zelenskyy pleads for more US help in speech to Congress

“Ukraine said if you don’t want to close the skies with your forces, basically give us the tools and we’ll defend ourselves,” said Bondarchuk.

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) says the Soviets provided planes to North Korea and north Vietnam during past wars and he says there is precedent for the U.S. to do the same now.

“Whether he needs surface-to-air missiles or planes we should do that. I know the president is nervous. We’re all nervous,” Kennedy said.

In order to avoid direct confrontation between U.S. and Russian planes, many continue to call for other countries to step up.

“This is the old concept of good and evil, and if Ukraine falls, then evil wins... and then who is going to be next?” said Ukrainian-American Vadym Rusnak, a doctor in Metairie.

“We have enough people, we have enough pilots to operate air defense systems and we know that Poland and Bulgaria and Greece have Soviet aircraft,” said Bondarchuk.

The next two weeks will be critical. Aside from missiles, Ukrainians say their soldiers need basic military equipment like guns, bulletproof vests, and helmets. They say there’s not enough to go around for all the Ukrainians now volunteering to fight.

“I believe if we have enough support in one week or two, we will have a situation where Russian troops can’t move further and they will sit down and negotiate,” said Bondarchuk.

He’s hoping American officials respond to Zelenskyy’s plea and do all they can to provide the assistance Ukraine needs

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