Mr. Zelenskyy goes to Washington
“Today, I am in Washington to thank the American people, the President and Congress for such needed help,” the Ukrainian president said ahead of a rousing speech to the House and Senate.
300 days ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine saw his country invaded by Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a shocking display of unprovoked aggression. And in the months since, Zelenskyy has led his people in valiant defense of their country with the help of billions of dollars in military aid combined with punishing economic sanctions from the United States and a global coalition banded together by President Joe Biden.
But the Ukrainian people are in for a long winter as US intelligence indicates Russia has no plans to relent its widespread and cruel attacks against Ukrainian cities and towns, the country’s innocent civilians and its critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, here at home, we’re less than two weeks away from Republicans claiming control of the House — a development that could hamstring President Biden’s efforts to indefinitely support Ukraine’s defense.
It’s against this backdrop that Zelenskyy embarked on a secret trip from his eastern European homeland to the US nation’s capital to strategize the next phase of the conflict and express his gratitude to the American people for their solidarity.
“Our two nations are allies in this battle. And next year will be a turning point, I know it, the point when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom — the freedom of people to stand up for our values,” Zelenskyy said in an address to a joint session of Congress.
The visit was the first to DC since the war started and the known first time he’s left Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. And although Zelenskyy spoke to lawmakers about a peace formula he discussed with President Biden and expressed a willingness to even participate in a peace summit this winter, the White House said his visit wasn’t an opportunity to push for a peace settlement.