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“I will make sure the world stays next to Kiev.” Joe Biden assured Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office. After opening the UN Security Council dedicated to the war in Ukraine on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Ukrainian president went to Washington: together with his wife Olena, he arrived at the White House for a meeting with his counterpart American Joe Biden. As anticipated by White House sources, Biden has announced a significant new military aid package for Kiev (ALL UPDATES ON THE WAR IN UKRAINE – THE SPECIAL). “Biden will announce to Zelensky a new weapons package that will include significant air defense systems,” national security advisor Jake Sullivan anticipated. In the package, he specified, there are no long-range “Atacms” missiles. American Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine “in the next few days, in the next few weeks”, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder also confirmed. Zelensky and Biden also discussed how to help Ukraine from an economic point of view. Before meeting with Biden, Zelensky served in Congress. “If we don’t get aid, we will lose the war,” he told US senators, according to reports New York Times by Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. And again: “We count on constant support” from the United States to win. But the speaker of the US House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, has held back on new aid by 2023.
Zelensky at the White House
Zelensky and his wife Olena, arriving at the White House, were received by Joe Biden and first lady Jill. For the Ukrainian leader and the American president, a conversation in the Oval Office, while for their wives a private meeting. Then Biden and Zelensky moved to a meeting which also included American Vice President Kamala Harris. “Very much,” Zelensky replied when asked how important this visit was. The Ukrainian leader thanked Biden for US support in the fight against “Russian terror”. “Today I am in Washington to strengthen our coalition to defend Ukrainian children, families, our homes, freedom and democracy around the world,” he added. Biden instead reiterated his commitment to a “just” and “lasting” peace for Ukraine. “No nation can be truly safe in a world where we do not defend Ukraine’s freedom from Russia’s brutal aggression,” he added.
Zelensky’s visit to Congress and the Pentagon
Before seeing Biden at the White House, Zelensky went to Capitol Hill: here he met the speaker of the House, the Republican Kevin McCarthy, and the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer. McCarthy is among those who have told Biden to stop “writing blank checks” to Ukraine. “If we don’t get aid, we will lose the war,” Zelensky told US senators, according to reports New York Times by Schumer. But McCarthy held back: he ruled out putting on the agenda the approval of a 24 billion dollar aid package for Kiev by the end of the year, as requested by Biden. “We have our own fiscal problems to deal with. There are 10,000 people who just crossed the border and the president is only thinking” about Ukraine, McCarthy said, however describing his meeting with Zelensky as “positive” and “productive.”
According to CNN, McCarthy denied the Ukrainian president a joint session of Congress that would have allowed him to address all deputies and senators. “We don’t have time for a joint session. I did exactly what I did with the Italian prime minister, the British prime minister. When leaders come here to Congress I create a bipartisan group of representatives,” McCarthy said. The Republican also avoided being seen publicly with Zelensky, denying photographers access to the meeting room. The leader of Kiev instead appeared with the leader of the minority dem Hakeem Jeffries and with the leaders of the Senate, the dem Chuck Schumer and the republican Mitch McConnell. “To win we must be united and work together. Ukraine is sincerely grateful to the House of Representatives, both parties and the American people for their unwavering support,” Zelensky later wrote on Telegram. After the Congress, the Kiev leader went to the Pentagon for talks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. In the Italian evening, the bilateral meeting with Biden.
Zelensky: “Today negotiations in Washington on air defense”
“Today the negotiations in Washington are important. Air defense for Ukraine is one of the main topics,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram in the morning. During the night “Russian terrorists launched another massive attack. In particular, on the infrastructure. Most of the missiles were shot down. But only the majority. Not all”, added the Ukrainian president, stating that he was “grateful to everyone countries that have already supplied Ukraine with anti-missile systems. We are working to completely deprive Russia of its terrorist potential. We must achieve this. More air defense systems. More sanctions. More support for Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines. Russian terror must lose.”
Zelensky’s speech at the UN
Yesterday Zelensky in his speech to the United Nations called for Russia to remove its veto power: “It is impossible to stop the war because all actions have the aggressor’s veto,” said the Ukrainian leader, sitting down for the first time since invasion in the same room with a Russian leader, the UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, because Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov arrived later, when the Ukrainian leader had already left. “Most of the world” recognizes that Russia’s actions in Ukraine are “criminal and unprovoked” and aimed at seizing Ukrainian territory and resources, but the Security Council “remains stuck in a stalemate due to the veto of Moscow”, accused Zelensky, who then relaunched his 10-point peace plan, reiterating Russia’s withdrawal and the restoration of borders before the invasion of Crimea in 2014 as an indispensable condition. Moscow had tried to prevent Zelensky from speaking first, arguing that this would “undermine the authority of the security council”, turning it into the theater of a “one-man show”. But Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, current president, replied: “There is a solution, stop the war and President Zelensky will not speak.”