Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine

Alexandra Ustinova, Ukrainian parliamentarian (Pool)

Alexandra Ustinova, the member of the Ukrainian Rada parliament, became emotional as she called for direct financial action against Russian oligarchs, more humanitarian aid, and a no-fly zone, following her meeting with US House members.

She also spoke about her own situation, as she is pregnant, acknowledging that she will probably give birth in America.

“We were talking about specific needs for our country,” she said in a meeting with the House Ukrainian Caucus. “These can be divided into financial needs – which means we need sanctions, and we need personal sanctions against Putin and his close allies and their families.”

On the Russian oligarchs, particularly those in the US and other nations abroad, she said, “we need to seize their accounts, we need to take the money from them. If this is not being done, in a very short period of time, they’re not going to react. ”

“Second, we need humanitarian support,” she continued. “People are literally sitting in Kyiv, in Kharkiv, in other cities without food, electricity, in cold weather without any heat.”

Tearing up, Ustinova said, “This is impossible, this is the 21st century in the middle of Europe where women have to deliver babies in bomb shelters, and they have nothing to eat after that.”

“One of the most important, key things Ukrainians are dreaming about is the no-fly zone over Ukraine,” she added. “If we do not have a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which means that Russians would not be able to use their missiles over Ukraine, to use their airplanes, they will probably erase Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities from the map.”

Ustinova said that the financial sanctions against Russia “have to be more specific, and they have to be stronger.

“If we are talking about cutting Russia off SWIFT, it has to be about all Russia banks. So far, from what we know, it’s going to be only partial, it’s going to be 5 or 8 banks. That means we leave a huge loophole for them, and they will be using it, ”she said.

As she wrapped up her on-camera comments, Ustinova talked about how popular support for Ukraine has forced the international community to get involved.

“People who started going out on the streets in all countries, made them actually start talking, start sanctioning, start sending us ammunition, start sending us arms,” said Ustinova, using Germany as an example, “We had 100,000 people in Berlin, and they changed their minds. ”

Ustinova said, “People make their politicians not think of politics and polls, but think of people’s lives, and this makes a huge difference, because basically right now people on the streets are protecting citizens of Ukraine from being shot down to death, making their government’s take action. And I’m really grateful for that. ”

Asked if she will return to Ukraine soon, she said she plans to continue meetings in DC.

“We need the support with our sky. We need to protect our babies in Ukraine who are being born in the bomb shelters — I’m sorry, ”she broke off, turning away, in an emotional moment.


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