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Several media reports: Zelensky will visit the United States on Wednesday (21 December, 2022)

 

Profile photo: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky honors a Ukrainian serviceman during an inspection tour of the Kharkiv region on May 29, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of Ukraine via The Associated Press)
Profile photo: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky honors a Ukrainian serviceman during an inspection tour of the Kharkiv region on May 29, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of Ukraine via The Associated Press)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to visit the White House and the Capitol on Wednesday (December 21), according to several media reports; However, these plans may be cancelled at any time for security reasons.

American online media outlet Punchbowl was the first to report the news. Zelensky’s visit will be Zelensky’s first known visit since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops on February 24. All media outlets cited anonymous sources.

President Zelensky is expected to meet with President Joe Biden and address a joint session of both houses of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed lawmakers that Congress would meet Wednesday night.

“We are closing a very special session of the 117th Congress, where legislation will bring progress to the American people and support our democracy,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday. “Please be here on Wednesday night and pay special attention to democracy.”

U.S. lawmakers will vote this week on a budget that includes $45 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, told reporters on Tuesday about Zelensky’s possible visit: “I think it’s important to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, but I think we have a pretty good record of doing so on a bipartisan basis.” I’m sure he understands that this is going to last for a long time, so it’s important to keep providing support. If he decides to visit, I will happily shake his hand, congratulate him, and tell him that we will do everything we can to continue to help.

Earlier on Tuesday, Zelensky visited the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian-Russian forces fought some of the heaviest battles.

In a video of that visit to the front posted by Zelensky’s office, Zelensky was handed a Ukrainian flag and mentioned that he would give it to the American leader.

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Zelensky said in the video: “These guys handed me our beautiful Ukrainian flag with their signature, and let us pass it on. Our situation is not easy. The enemy is increasing its troops. Our people are braver and need more powerful weapons. We’re going to pass it from these lads to Congress, to the president of the United States. We thank them for their support, but it is not enough. Here’s a hint: it’s not enough.

Both Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the courage of their respective forces on Tuesday.

Against the background of the roar of artillery, Zelensky met military personnel in a dimly lit building, praising the “courage, resilience, and strength” of the Ukrainian army.

At the same time, Putin also praised the “courage and selflessness” of the Russian military units in Ukraine. But he made the remarks at a ceremony in an ornately lit hall of the Moscow Kremlin.

Zelensky called Bakhmut “the hottest spot on the entire front line”, although the city, about 600 kilometers east of Kiev, remains under Ukrainian control. It is not clear how Zelensky got to Bakhmut.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky visited Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on December 20. The Russian army invading Ukraine has been launching a fierce attack on the area since August this year, but it is still under the control of the Ukrainian army. Zelensky told local Ukrainian officers and soldiers that the defense of the Donbas region is crucial to thwarting the Russian army’s total invasion plan.

“Bakhmut Fortress. Our people. Never conquered by the enemy. They proved with their bravery that we can survive and will not give up our land,” he wrote on the social media platform Telegram.

“The occupiers have been trying to capture our Bakhmut since May; But over time, Bakhmut has not only crushed the Russian Army, but also the Russian mercenaries who came to replace the crippled occupation army.

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In the Kremlin, Putin presented awards to the heads of four regions of Ukraine appointed by Moscow. Russia announced its illegal annexation of these areas in September, but most countries in the world do not recognize Russia’s claim.

“Our country often faces challenges and defends its sovereignty,” Putin said. “Now, Russia is facing such a challenge again. Soldiers, officers, and volunteers have shown outstanding examples of courage and selflessness on the front lines.

In a video address released before Tuesday’s ceremony,

Putin praised members of the security forces deployed to the four regions, saying that “the people who live there, the citizens of Russia, depend on your protection.” ”

“Your duty is to do everything to ensure their safety and protect their rights and freedoms,” Putin said. These areas are being counterattacked by Ukraine, but Putin has promised to put in more equipment and personnel to reinforce the troops there. Russia has never fully controlled any of Ukraine’s four states it claimed to have annexed in September.

Putin also ordered Russia’s highest security body, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), to step up surveillance at the border and at home to combat new threats and traitors from abroad.

Putin’s comments came a day after his rare visit to Minsk, where he also praised the benefits of cooperation with Belarus, an ally of neighboring countries; This worries Kiev that Russia is hatching plans for a joint ground offensive with Belarus against Ukraine.

The commander of the joint forces of Ukraine, Serhiy Nayev, said that he believes that Putin’s meeting with his Belarusian counterpart involved “further aggression against Ukraine and the broader participation of the Belarusian armed forces in the operation against Ukraine, in our opinion, in particular in ground operations.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly said that he has no intention of sending Belarusian troops to Ukraine after providing Russian troops with a springboard for invasion in February.

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At the same time, the assessment of British authorities believes that the prospects for the progress of the war in Russia are bleak.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, about 100,000 Russian servicemen have been “killed, wounded, or become deserters.” He did not give a number of casualties in Ukraine, but a senior U.S. military official recently said that 100,000 Ukrainian troops had been killed and wounded.

Wallace told lawmakers in the House of Commons, “On February 24 [the Russian operational commander], there is no one in command now.” Russia lost a large number of generals and commanders.

After 300 days of the war, Ukraine has liberated about 54% of the size of the territory that Russia seized the most in an invasion, the British Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.

Russia now controls about 18 percent of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory, including the earlier occupation of Donbas and Crimea, according to the British Ministry of Defence Twitter.

The fighting is still raging, and Zelensky’s office said at least five civilians were killed and eight wounded in the past day. Russian forces attacked nine regions in southeastern Ukraine.

The battle is still raging. Zelensky’s office said at least five civilians were killed and eight injured in the past day. Russian troops attacked nine regions in southeastern Ukraine.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said 19 cities and villages in the region had been shelled by Russia. Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the state was on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, telling Ukrainian television that residents “lived in basements without heating, food or medicine” and had to burn furniture to keep warm.

(This article draws on reports from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.) 

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