300 days after Russian chief Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine with hopes of swift conquest, Zelensky loved a hero’s welcome on a lightning journey to Washington, however he additionally made clear he wouldn’t settle for any strain to compromise.
Zelensky — whose media savvy and rugged demeanor have helped rally the world to Ukraine’s trigger — saved his trademark army fatigues moderately than switching to a go well with as Biden rolled out the crimson carpet, affectionately placing his hand over the wartime chief’s shoulder as they entered the White Home.
“You’ll by no means stand alone,” Biden instructed him at a joint information convention.
“The American individuals are with you each step of the best way and we’ll stick with you — we’ll stick with you — for so long as it takes.”
Biden mentioned that People “perceive in our bones that Ukraine’s combat is a part of one thing a lot greater.”
“Collectively I’ve little doubt we’ll hold the flame of liberty burning vibrant and the sunshine will stay and prevail over the darkness.”
Zelensky will later ship an handle to Congress, which is finalizing a brand new $45 billion bundle for Ukraine heading into the brand new yr, earlier than flying again with barely half a day on the bottom.
Zelensky flew in secret to america straight after a dangerous go to to the frontline in Bakhmut, the place Ukrainian and Russian troops have each endured heavy tolls in capturing and shelling over the previous two months.
Zelensky offered Biden with an award that he mentioned was handed to him on the bottom by a “actual hero” — a captain on the bottom of a HIMARS rocket system that has been a game-changer on the sector.
“He is very courageous and he mentioned, give it to very courageous president,” Zelensky mentioned within the Oval Workplace.
As Zelensky arrived, america introduced one other $1.85 billion from beforehand budgeted funds for Ukraine, together with for the primary time the superior Patriot air protection system, which is able to capturing down cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles.
Zelensky voiced appreciation for the “crucial step,” saying the Patriot programs “will strengthen our air protection considerably.”
Ukraine fears a rising onslaught of missiles and has confronted a slew of assaults from drones, many purchased by Russia from Iran, as Moscow pummels energy crops and different civilian infrastructure simply because the nation shivers within the winter chilly.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned that new weapons deliveries would result in an “aggravation of the battle” and don’t “bode nicely for Ukraine.”
Talking with senior army officers throughout a televised handle, President Vladimir Putin contended that Moscow was to not blame for the invasion and agreed with an evaluation that Russia wanted a bigger military.
“The fight capabilities of our armed forces are growing continuously,” Putin mentioned, including that Russia may even “enhance the fight readiness of our nuclear triad.”
“What is occurring is, after all, a tragedy — our shared tragedy. However it isn’t the results of our coverage. It’s the results of the coverage of third international locations,” he added.
The USA and Ukraine scoff at recommendations that the invasion was brought on by something aside from Putin and say he’s not critical about any negotiated settlement.
Each Biden and Zelensky mentioned they supported a “simply peace” — with the Ukrainian chief standing agency that he is not going to be any territorial compromise with Russia, which additionally seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
“For me as a president, simply peace is not any compromises as to the sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity of my nation — the payback for all of the damages inflicted by Russian aggression,” Zelensky mentioned.
“As a father, I want to emphasize — what number of dad and mom misplaced their little children on the frontlines? So what’s ‘simply peace’ for them?” he mentioned, dismissing monetary compensation as inadequate.
Lawmakers in contrast Zelensky’s journey to Winston Churchill’s Christmas-time look within the Capitol in 1941, days after Japan’s assault on Pearl Harbor introduced america into World Struggle II.
“It’s notably poignant for me to be current when one other heroic chief addresses the Congress in a time of conflict — and with democracy itself on the road,” mentioned Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Ukraine enjoys extensive help in america however there was criticism from a number of far-right Republicans who both oppose the help or have voice sympathy for Putin.
Kevin McCarthy, the Home Republican chief, mentioned earlier than midterm elections that the brand new Congress wouldn’t give a “clean test” to Ukraine, a remark seen as in search of to mollify the right-wing flank of his celebration.
However Mitch McConnell, the Republican chief within the Senate, mentioned he appeared ahead to seeing the “inspiring” Zelensky and mentioned that defeating Russia was within the US curiosity.
“The Ukrainian individuals are brave and harmless and so they deserve our assist,” McConnell mentioned on the Senate ground.