Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Bay Area Reacts to Ukrainian President's Pleas to U.S. Congress

"He is an extraordinary leader. He has risen to the moment, he has shown courage beyond anything most people would ever expect from anybody," said Congressman Garamendi about the Ukrainian president

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the U.S. Congress Wednesday and pleaded for more aggressive measure to help stop the war.

Thousands, including Ukrainians in the Bay Area, watched closely looking for any news on their loved ones in the war zone and what the international community will do to help defeat the Russians.

Roman Malanke moved to the Bay Area for work eight years ago, and says he's been closely following the events in his native Ukraine.

He left behind his mother, sister and extended family and says he fears for their lives.

"Its a very difficult decision for people to leave, partially because they realize that if everybody leaves, there is nobody to stay there and defend the country," he said.

The images shown of his home country during Zelenskyy's speech were too much to bear for him.

"There were structures destroyed in places where I used to spend my time, because at this point the destruction has touched all parts of Ukraine."

Bay Area Congressman John Garamendi also watched Zelenskyy's speech very closely.

"He is an extraordinary leader," he said. "He has risen to the moment, he has shown courage beyond anything most people would ever expect from anybody. He and his family are at risk every moment, but he's standing in the breach."

Even as Ukraine's president pleaded for more international help, there are whispers of a new ceasefire.

NBC has not independently confirmed those reports, but some people say they don't believe it.

"People in Ukraine, people that I know, they don't believe that there will be anything meaningful out of these conversations," Malanke said.

"It's been very clear with what Zelenskyy said today, security guarantees would have to be ironclad because Putin cannot be trusted," Congressman Garamendi said.

Hours after Zelenskyy's plea to Congress, President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military aid for Ukraine, but stopped short of the biggest request - U.S. fighter jets to patrol the skies and prevent new bombings.

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