Talking to Congress members via video link, the Ukrainian President urged the West to “understand” the situation his country is and respond with greater force. He asked leaders to “protect the sky” over Ukraine by introducing – and, importantly, enforcing – a ‘no fly zone’. The request has so far been turned down by officials due to the extent to which it would escalate the conflict. For some, however, Mr Zelensky’s comments came in second place, in terms of interest, to his dress-code.
He opted for a green t-shirt rather than a top button and tie.
Peter Schiff, American stock broker and Chief Economist at Euro Pacific Capital, accused Ukraine’s leader of “disrespecting” the US by not donning a suit during his address to policymakers.
He wrote in a post on Twitter to his 670,000 followers: “I understand times are hard, but doesn’t the President of the Ukraine own a suit?
“I don’t have much respect for current members of the US Congress either, but I still wouldn’t address them wearing a t-shirt.
“I wouldn’t want to disrespect the institution or the Unites States.”
Mr Schiff’s post unsurprisingly received a fierce backlash, with many branding his comment the “worst take of the year”.
Responding to the opening of Mr Schiff post – that he “understands times are hard” – comedian David Baddiel wrote: “I think maybe it’s just possible you don’t quite understand how hard times are, Peter.”
US film maker Andy Ostroy wrote: “So you watched a man desperately pleading for the survival of his country against a brutal invading army… and your big takeaway was that he wasn’t wearing a suit?”
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Following Mr Zelensky’s speech, US President Joe Bien is set to sign off an extra $800million (£612million) in military aid to Ukraine.
Asked earlier in the day whether he was ready to brand Vladimir Putin a war criminal, Mr Biden responded “no”.
He later clarified he did in fact view the Russian leader as a war criminal.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, is reported to have responded this was “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric by the leader of a country from whose bombs hundreds of thousands of people have died”.