Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Americans for helping to fund Ukraine’s war efforts with money that he claimed is “not charity,” but an “investment” in global security and democracy.
The Ukrainian President told U.S. legislators during his visit to Washington on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 that against all odds his country still stands.
The visit to Washington; his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February, was aimed at reinvigorating support for his country in the U.S. and around the world at a time when there is concern that allies are becoming tired of the costly war and its disruption to global food and energy supplies.
Zelenskyy called the tens of billions of dollars in U.S. military and economic assistance provided over the past year vital to Ukraine’s efforts to beat back Russia and appealed for even more in the future.
“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Just before his arrival, the U.S. announced a new $1.8 billion military aid package, including for the first time Patriot surface-to-air missiles. Also, Congress planned to vote this week on a fresh spending package that includes about $45 billion in additional emergency assistance to Ukraine.
The speech to Congress came after President Joe Biden hosted Zelenskyy in the Oval Office for strategy consultations, saying the U.S. and Ukraine would maintain their “united defense” as Russia wages a “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.”
Biden pledged to help bring about a “just peace.”
Zelenskyy informed Biden that he had wanted to visit sooner and his visit now demonstrates that the “situation is under control, because of your support.”
Zelenskyy traveled to Washington aboard a U.S. Air Force jet.
Zelenskyy spent less than 10 hours in Washington before beginning the journey back to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy Predicts A “Turning Point” In The Conflict
The Ukrainian leader predicted that next year would be a “turning point” in the conflict, “when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom; the freedom of people who stand for their values.”
Zelenskyy received a deafening applause from members of Congress and presented lawmakers with a Ukrainian flag autographed by front-line troops in Bakhmut, in Ukraine’s contested Donetsk province.
The flag was displayed behind him on the rostrum by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris. Pelosi, in turn, presented Zelenskyy with an American flag that had flown over the Capitol that day.
Declaring in his speech that Ukraine “will never surrender,” Zelenskyy cautioned that the stakes of the conflict were greater than just the fate of his nation; that democracy worldwide is being tested.
“This battle cannot be ignored, hoping that the ocean or something else will provide protection,” he said.
Earlier, in a joint news conference with Biden, Zelenskyy was pressed on how Ukraine would try to bring an end to the conflict.
Zelenskyy rejected Biden’s idea of finding a “just peace,” saying, “For me as a president, ‘just peace’ is no compromises.”
Zelenskyy stated that the war would end once Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity were restored, and Russia had paid back Ukraine for all the damage inflicted by its forces.
“There can’t be any ‘just peace’ in the war that was imposed on us,” he added.