As Ukraine’s embattled president spoke to the United States Congress, some lawmakers appeared more captivated by their devices than by the address.
In one viral video clip, Senator Joe Manchin swiped on his iPad as Volodymyr Zelensky spoke. In another, Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared not to participate in a standing ovation for the Ukrainian leader, instead rooting around for her phone.
In the video of Mr Manchin, Mr Zelensky can be heard begging Congress for help fending off the Russian invasion.
“We are asking for a reply, for an answer to this terror from the whole world,” the Ukrainian leader says, as translated by his interpreter. “Is this a lot to ask?”
It is not yet clear whether Mr Manchin’s screen time was in some way related to the speech, or simply distracted behavior. The Independent has reached out to his office for comment.
It is also unclear whether Ms Greene deliberately skipped the standing ovation, or whether she applauded after she found her phone. The Independent has reached out to her office as well.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now in its fourth week. The United Nations has estimated that at least 636 civilians have died so far, though the real number is probably higher.
On Tuesday, Mr Zelensky beseeched America’s lawmakers to “do more” to help Ukrainians defend their country, asking for a no-fly zone over Ukraine and additional sanctions on Russia.
“New packages of sanctions are needed constantly, every week until the Russian military machine stops,” Mr Zelensky told Congress. “All American companies must leave Russia from their market. Leave their market immediately because it is flooded with our blood.”
After the address, Senator Manchin expressed his support for Mr Zelensky in a statement.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from President Zelensky as he continues to show immense courage leading his country through this senseless attack from Vladimir Putin,” Mr Manchin said. “The United States can and must do more to support the valiant efforts of the Ukrainian people and prevent Putin’s further advance while also preventing another world war.”
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