President Volodomyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine addressed Congress for the second time on Wednesday, and for the first time in person – a record time against the world’s most powerful legislative body that is surpassed only by the prime ministers Winston Churchill of Britain and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
Speeches by foreign leaders are not unprecedented, but they are relatively rare: in the decade before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, nine foreign leaders appeared before a joint meeting. Since the start of the war in Ukraine in February this year, Zelenskyy has appeared twice before Congress, and Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, also spoke at an informal meeting in July.
Churchill addressed the US Congress twice during World War II and again in the 1950s. Netanyahu, South African President Nelson Mandela and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin are the only other people registered by the House to addressed Congress more than once.