Biden says to Zelenskyy, ‘It’s an honor to be by your side’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a defiant wartime visit to Washington on Wednesday to thank US leaders and “common Americans” for their support in repelling the Russian invasion and to look forward to more help in the brutal months ahead push. President Joe Biden and Congress responded with billions in aid and a pledge to help Ukraine find a “just peace.”

Welcoming Zelenskyy to the Oval Office, Biden said the US and Ukraine continue to project a “common defense” while Russia wages a “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.” Zelenskyy, on his first known trip outside of his country since Russia invaded in February, said he wanted to visit him earlier and his visit now shows that “thanks to your support, the situation is under control”.

The highly sensitive trip came after 10 months of a brutal war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides and devastated Ukrainian civilians. Shortly before his arrival, the US announced theirs largest single delivery of arms to Ukraineincluding Patriot surface-to-air missilesand Congress planned to vote on a spending package that includes about $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine.

Russia, Biden said, “is trying to weaponize winter, but the Ukrainian people continue to inspire the world,” Biden said. He said to Zelenskyj: “It is an honor to be by your side.”

After the White House meeting, Zelenskyy and Biden were scheduled to hold a press conference in the East Room. The President of Ukraine was due to deliver a speech to Congress in the evening, which Vice President Kamala Harris would attend.

Zelenskyy went abroad after manufacture a daring and dangerous journey Tuesday to what he called the hottest spot on the war’s 1,300-kilometer frontline, the town of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s embattled Donetsk province. He praised the Ukrainian troops for their “courage, resilience and strength” as artillery pounded in the background.

Poland’s private broadcaster TVN24 said Zelenskyy entered Poland early on Wednesday on his way to Washington. The station showed footage of what appeared to be Zelenskyy arriving at a train station and being escorted to a motorcade. According to TVN24, the video, which was partially blurred for security reasons, was shot in Przemysl, a Polish border town that was the arrival point for many war refugees.

Officials citing security concerns have been reticent about Zelenskyy’s travel plans, but a US official confirmed that Zelenskyy arrived on a US Air Force jet that had landed at Joint Base Andrews just outside the capital from the Polish city of Rzeszow.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in inviting Zelenskyy to address lawmakers, said “the fight for Ukraine is the fight for democracy itself” and they looked forward to “carrying your inspirational message of unity, resilience and… determination to hear.”

US and Ukrainian officials have made it clear that they do not see an immediate solution to the war and are preparing to continue fighting for some time. The latest infusion of US funds would be the largest yet – and exceed Biden’s $37 billion demand.

Biden has reiterated that while the US will arm and train Ukraine, American forces will not be directly involved in the war.

Biden and Zelenskyy first discussed the idea of ​​a visit during a phone call Dec. 11, followed by a formal invitation three days later, according to a senior US government official. Zelenskyy accepted the invitation on Friday and it was confirmed on Sunday when the White House began coordinating with Pelosi to arrange the congressional address.

The White House has been consulting with Zelenskyy on security, including the risk of Russian action while he is briefly out of the country, said the official, who declined to detail the measures taken to protect the Ukrainian leader. Officials briefed reporters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the visit.

The US $1.85 billion military aid package will include for the first time: a Patriot missile battery and precision-guided bombs for its fighter jets, US officials said. It represents an extension of the breed of advanced weapons designed to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses against the increasing barrage of Russian missiles.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced the delivery of the advanced surface-to-air missile system seen as a provocative move and that the system and any crews accompanying it would be a legitimate target for Moscow’s military.

It was unclear when the Patriot battery would arrive at the front lines in Ukraine, given the need for US troops to train Ukrainian forces. The training can last several weeks and will probably take place in Germany.

The visit comes at an important time as the White House braces for more opposition when Republicans take control of the House in January and take a closer look at aid to Ukraine. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California said his party would not issue a “blank check” for Ukraine.

Biden and Zelenskyy have spoken frequently on the phone, with Biden praising Ukraine for standing firm against the Russians and Zelenskyy thanking the US President for his support.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened the chamber’s session by saying that passing the aid package and confirming the new US Ambassador to Russia, Lynne M. Tracy, would send a strong signal that Americans “clearly “ stand by Ukraine. Tracy was later confirmed by a vote of 93-2.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Zelenskyy comes not only as president but as “an ambassador of liberty itself.”

Top Senate Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said, “The most fundamental reasons for continuing to help Ukraine demote and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests.” He said, ” defeating Russian aggression will help prevent further security crises in Europe”.

Russia’s invasion, the started on February 24thShe’s lost momentum. The illegally annexed provinces of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia remain fiercely contested.

Amid the stalemate in the east, Moscow has used missiles and drones to attack Ukraine’s power supply, hoping to leave people without power as freezing weather sets in.

In a video released by his office about Bakhmut’s visit, Zelenskyy received a signed Ukrainian flag and alluded to handing it over to US leaders. “We are grateful for their support, but it’s not enough,” he said. “It’s a hint – it’s not enough.”

Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Kyiv-based think tank Penta Center, said Zelenskyy’s visit to the US “should determine the course of the war – Zelenskyy has dared to leave Ukraine for the first time and expects to be able to keep it going, possibly even.” Strengthen U.S. military and economic aid.”

Hanna Danylovych, 43, who lives in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and works as a scientist, welcomed the prospect of additional military assets, saying: “There is a great desire and dream to speed up the removal of Russian evil from our country.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his country’s military leaders on Wednesday that Russia will achieve its stated goals in Ukraine and use the combat experience to strengthen its military. His Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia’s military needs to be increased from the current 1 million to 1.5 million during the fighting in Ukraine.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Sarah Y. Kim

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