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Zelensky addressed Congress after his visit to the White House: “Ukraine has not fallen”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech at a joint session of the two houses of the US Congress, and US Vice President Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and lawmakers applauded. (21 December 2022)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech at a joint session of the two houses of the US Congress, and US Vice President Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and lawmakers applauded. (21 December 2022)

WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky ended his trip to Washington by delivering an emotional speech to the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives of the US Congress on the evening of Wednesday (December 21), US time. He told U.S. lawmakers that the struggle in Ukraine “will define what kind of world our children and grandchildren will live in.”

“Despite all the difficulties and pessimistic presuppositions,” he said at the beginning of his speech, “Ukraine has not fallen.” Ukraine is still tenaciously alive.

He thanked the United States for its military equipment and financial support. But he said Ukraine needed more aid.

“Your money is not charity,” he told lawmakers. “It’s an investment in global security and democracy, and we’re doing it in the most responsible way possible.”

“In the battle for the hearts and minds of the world, we defeated Russia,” he said. ”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech in the US Congress on the evening of the 21st. 

At the Reichstag, lawmakers stood up to give Zelensky warm applause. In an English-language speech, he declared that Ukraine “will never surrender.”

He also warned that the conflict is not only about the fate of Ukraine, but also testing democracy around the world.

“This battle cannot be ignored and there can be no hope that the ocean or something else will provide protection,” he said. ”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives of the US Congress, held an American flag presented to him under the gaze of Vice President Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He presented Congress with a Ukrainian flag from the front. (21 December 2022)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives of the US Congress, held an American flag presented to him under the gaze of Vice President Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He presented Congress with a Ukrainian flag from the front. (21 December 2022)

Before coming to the United States, Zelensky visited the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. The Ukrainian army has been fighting fiercely with the Russian army for several months there. At the end of his speech on Wednesday, Zelensky presented to the U.S. Congress a battle flag signed by Ukrainian officers and soldiers guarding Bakhmut. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented him with an American flag that flew that day at the U.S. Capitol.

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Meeting at the White House

Earlier Wednesday, US President Joe Biden welcomed Zelensky at the White House. This is Zelensky’s first known trip abroad since Russia launched its war to invade Ukraine in February.

He said the American people and the Ukrainian people “stand together proudly.”

“Democrats, Republicans, and our allies in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere, make sure you have the economic, humanitarian, and security assistance you need,” Biden said. He also noted that 300 days have passed since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “brutal attack on Ukraine’s right to exist as a state.”

Zelensky expressed to Biden in English “my heartfelt gratitude and that of all the Ukrainian people” for the bipartisan support of the United States.

“Our ordinary people thank you ordinary people in America,” he said. ”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a medal to US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House. (21 December 2022)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a medal to US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House. (21 December 2022)

Zelensky also gave Biden a “crusader medal” belonging to a captain operating the “Hymas” multiple launch rocket launcher on the front line, and the officer entrusted him with the medal to “a very brave American president.” Biden accepted the medal, saying he was “ashamed but grateful.”

Joint press conference

The two leaders then held a joint press conference. Biden once again assured Zelensky that the United States will provide support.

“We will give Ukraine what it needs to be able to defend itself, to be able to succeed, to be able to succeed on the battlefield,” Biden said. He added: “We are with Ukraine as long as it is there.” ”

US President Biden announced at a press conference with Ukrainian President Zelensky on the 21st that a new batch of security assistance worth $1.85 billion will be provided to Ukraine, including the Patriot missile system. 

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Biden was asked why he did not provide them with all the weapons capabilities requested by Ukraine. He said the United States is providing Ukraine with the weapons and equipment it needs to defend itself and succeed on the battlefield.

“The idea that we should provide Ukraine with fundamentally different supplies than those already used on the ground will open up the possibility of splitting NATO, the European Union and the world,” he said.

Biden said he devoted “hundreds of hours” talking to European allies, urging them to continue supporting Ukraine.

“They totally understand, but they don’t want to go to war with Russia,” he said. They don’t want a third world war.

Zelensky was asked if there was a way to end the war, a “just peace.”

“For me as president,” Zelensky said, “a just peace is an uncompromising approach to the sovereignty, freedom, and territorial integrity of our country.” Compensate for all losses caused by Russian aggression.

Zelensky’s visit comes as U.S. lawmakers debate an additional $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine, bringing the total amount of U.S. wartime aid to more than $100 billion.

Patriot anti-aircraft missiles

Just as Zelensky arrived in the United States, the US Department of Defense announced an additional $1.85 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems and ammunition used by a missile company, additional ammunition for the Hymas multiple launch rocket launcher, missiles, artillery, and other ammunition. This is the 28th time since August 2021 that Biden has authorized the use of this withdrawal authority.

“The $1 billion extracted will provide Ukraine with expanded air defense and precision strike capabilities, as well as more ammunition and critical equipment that Ukraine is effectively using for battlefield self-defense,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

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He said the United States is also announcing an additional $850 million in security assistance to Ukraine. This will bring an unprecedented $21.9 billion in U.S. security assistance to Ukraine since the current administration took office.

Zelensky has repeatedly urged the United States and other countries to provide air defense systems to help Ukraine respond to missile and drone strikes by Russian forces, which have hit cities across Ukraine and severely damaged infrastructure.

Ukrainian troops will be trained in the use of the Patriot missile system in third countries, a senior executive of the administration said, adding that the process “will take some time.”

Retired General Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, said in an interview with the media Ukrainian language group: “Ukrainian soldiers are the fastest I have ever seen learning new technologies. I guess they will be trained like this somewhere in Germany or Poland.

Hodges said the Patriot missile, designed to defend a limited area, is “the best in the world” for “shooting down cruise missiles and advanced aircraft,” but “not a killer app.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that sending new weapons to Ukraine would deepen the conflict. He also said that Russia does not see an opportunity for peace talks with Ukraine.

The White House also sent a pessimistic message about the prospects for peace. The senior administration official said Moscow had shown no intention to start negotiations and that Biden would not push Ukraine to negotiate an end to the Russian-led war.

The official said Biden “will not pressure or push Zelensky to the negotiating table, he will work with Congress and our allies to put Ukraine in the best possible position on the battlefield so that when the time comes, they will be in the best possible position at the negotiating table.”

(This article draws on reports from The Associated Press and Reuters.)

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