Visit to the most important ally: Ukrainian President Zelenskyj met US President Biden in Washington. It should also be about further arms deliveries. At the beginning Zelenskyj thanked the USA for their help.
The meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US President Joe Biden has started in Washington. Biden greeted Zelenskyj with his wife Jill in front of the White House. For Selenskyj it is the first trip abroad since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “First of all, thank you. It’s a great honor to be here,” Zelenskyj said.
Biden assured Ukraine of US solidarity: “The American people proudly stand by the side of the Ukrainian people.”
During their talks, the two presidents will also talk about ways to end the war, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said beforehand: “I have no doubt that they will talk about Zelenskyy’s idea of a just peace – and about what that could look like, what the ingredients of that peace are, and how we can help Ukraine achieve that,” Kirby said.
But it is also obvious that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not interested in diplomacy at the moment. “Quite the opposite. He’s interested in killing more Ukrainian civilians and turning off people’s lights and heating as winter approaches.” The US must first ensure that Ukraine gets the defense assistance it needs.
Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram after landing in the US: “I’m in Washington today to thank the American people, the President and Congress for their much-needed support. And also to continue working together and bring our victory closer. Next year we must return the Ukrainian flag and freedom to our entire country, our entire people.”
Tagesschau 3:00 p.m., 21.12.2022
After their meeting, Biden and Zelenskyy want to hold a joint press conference before the Ukrainian president addresses the US Congress. Both chambers of Congress will soon have to vote on a draft budget that also provides for almost 45 billion US dollars in further financial aid for Ukraine.
Shortly before Zelenskyy and Biden’s meeting, the White House also officially announced that the United States will deliver the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. It is among other US military aid totaling $1.85 billion. Also to be delivered are precision ammunition for Ukrainian fighter jets. The step had been known and expected for some time, but the deliveries had not yet been officially confirmed.
The Kremlin criticized Zelenskyj’s trip. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that together with new US arms deliveries, this is leading to a worsening of the situation. This does not bode well for Ukraine.
The federal government welcomed Zelenskyy’s trip and also the delivery of Patriot batteries. “We see this as a very, very positive sign,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in Berlin. It is a “hopeful step” that Zelenskyj is now leaving his country for such a visit.
The United States had previously agreed on the delivery of the Patriots with “close allies” such as Germany, Hebestreit said. It is quite possible, but not yet decided, that the Ukrainian soldiers will be trained to use the weapon system in Germany.