Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky capped a whirlwind day in Washington with an impassioned plea to Congress and the American people to maintain support for Kyiv in its fight against Russian aggression.
In Wednesday’s speech, Zelensky thanked lawmakers and the American people for their broad bipartisan support and said sustained commitment would be key. It came weeks before it promised to scrutinize the endorsement more closely.
“Your support is important not only to stand in such a battle, but also to reach the turning point of winning on the battlefield.” investment, and we will handle it in the most responsible way.”
Speaking in English, Zelensky made various historical references, such as comparing Ukrainian soldiers in Donbass to the Americans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, framing the Battle of Kyiv as global, It was part of his attempt to shore up support from key allies as Russia left Ukraine for the first time since it invaded last February.
“This fight cannot be frozen or postponed,” he said. “It can’t be ignored.”
During his speech, Zelensky received multiple standing ovations from the audience, which included senators and congressmen.
Before addressing Congress, President Zelensky took a more defiant tone when he appeared at the White House with President Joe Biden, questioning whether Kyiv could reach a “just peace” with Moscow. and pressured his U.S. counterparts to send additional weapons to sustain his war. effort over the winter.
President Trump touted $1.85 billion in new aid, including the long-awaited Patriot Missile Defense Corps, and assured the Ukrainian president that Washington was ready to support Kyiv “as long as necessary.”
Zelensky has spoken passionately about his gratitude to the President of the United States and the American people, during a meeting in the Oval Office, from front-line soldiers commanding troops armed with mobile artillery systems provided by the United States, to the very presented Biden with a symbolic military medal. Later in Congress, Zelensky handed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a Ukrainian flag signed by Bakhmut frontline soldiers.
After nearly four hours of talks at the White House, there were signs of tension between the two presidents, even in warm affirmations.
Zelensky’s question about whether a “just peace” with Russian President Vladimir Putin can be reached comes after Biden and US officials publicly claimed that the Ukrainian leader wanted just that. rice field.
“For me as president, ‘just peace’ is no compromise,” he said at a news conference in the East Room of the White House, standing next to Mr. Biden.
“There can be no ‘just peace’ in the war that is imposed on us,” he added, adding that Kyiv should be “returned to full territorial integrity, except for repayment of all damages inflicted by Russia’s aggression.” I do not agree,” he said. ”.
Biden also argued that efforts to provide a “radically different” weapons system could risk collapsing the Western alliances that the United States seeks to maintain, citing offensive weapons. attempted to soften Zelensky’s demands for
Still, two wartime allies showed up in Washington — Zelensky in his usual military green cargo pants and sweatshirt, and Biden in a striped tie in Ukraine’s national colors of blue and yellow. — dramatically showed the unity of the two leaders. It has staked its future on the bloodshed of Russia’s common enemy.
Zelensky’s visit after more than 300 days of war Russian invasionOfficials in Kyiv have warned Russia is bracing for a possible winter attack as Ukraine fends off Russian attacks on two fronts.Fierce fighting between troops on the ground and the air .infrastructure where Moscow beat Ukraine’s vital energy.
Western weapons are critical to Ukraine’s ability to maintain its defenses. Kyiv has long called for a Patriot system, which will not provide immediate respite from the mass Russian missile and drone strikes that are crumbling Ukraine’s power infrastructure, but will add to the country’s air defenses. Analysts say it will be a strong addition to
A senior US defense official said the Patriots complement other weapons already offered by the US and its NATO allies.
“There is no silver bullet for air defense,” the official said. “The Patriot complements the medium- and short-range air defense capabilities we provided, which the Allies provided in previous donation packages.”
Officials said it will take months of training before the Ukrainian military can successfully operate the system.
In addition to the Patriot system, the United States is the first to develop a joint direct-strike weapon that converts unguided air weapons into “smart bombs,” allowing the Ukrainian military to target Russian military positions with greater precision. Announced to move.
Parliament is set to vote on an appropriation bill this week that includes $45 billion in extra funding for Kyiv. The United States has already contributed tens of billions of dollars in military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.
The Kremlin on Wednesday said it expected no positive developments or changes in Kyiv’s position on peace talks after Zelensky’s visit to Washington.
“Weapons supplies to Ukraine continue and their range is increasing. It will lead to aggravation of the conflict and will not bring any benefits to Ukraine,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Additional reporting by Aime Williams, Washington, Anastasia Stognei, Riga, and Christopher Miller, Kyiv