Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Speaks With Biden and Addresses Congress, Calling for American Aid
“Ukraine is alive and kicking,” the Ukrainian leader told Congress.
On the 300th day of the brutal war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy left his home country for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine in February to urge U.S. lawmakers in Washington D.C. to grant more aid to Ukraine as winter arrives.
“This battle can not be frozen or postponed,” Zelenskyy said. “The world is too interconnected and interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and at the same time to feel safe when such a battle continues.”
Zelenskyy thanked “every American” for their support of Ukraine and lawmakers for the billions of dollars granted to the country to provide military and economic assistance.
“Against all odds and doom and gloom,” Zelenskyy said, “Ukraine didn’t fall, Ukraine is alive and kicking.” Members of Congress stood to their feet and applauded the president.
The Ukrainian leader added that the nation’s people may have to celebrate Christmas by candlelight and without heat or running water, as there may not be any electricity as the result of Russia’s missile and drone attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure.
Zelenskyy remained optimistic about the will of his nation.
“We will celebrate Christmas, and even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith, in ourselves, will not be put out.”
The Ukrainian president predicted the conflict will reach a “turning point,” in the next year. “Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the suture of our common freedom – the freedom of people who stand for their values.
Zelenskyy mentioned that although Ukraine will never surrender, Russia has the advantage in artillery, ammunition, missiles and planes, and that Russia’s tactic is “primitive” and destroying “everything they see.”
“We have artillery, yes thank you,” Zelenskyy told Congress. “Is it enough… honestly, not really,” the Ukrainian leader said as light laughter from the Congress followed.
“Your money is not charity, it’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way,” Zelenskyy said.
“We need peace,” Zelenskyy told Congress. “You can speed up our victory.”
He gave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris a Ukrainian flag that had been signed by Ukrainian troops on the battlefield at the conclusion of his speech.
In return, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented the Ukrainian president with the U.S. flag.
The United States unveiled a $1.85 billion security assistance package for Ukraine that includes a Patriot surface-to-air missile, which Ukrainian forces will be trained to operate to help bolster Ukraine's air defense as well as contracts to supply ammunition.
This will be in addition to the anticipated $45 billion in emergency funding to Ukraine.
“Russia is using winter as a weapon,” President Biden said in a later joint press conference. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden said, has “no intention of stopping this cruel war.”
Biden looked to Zelenskyy during the joint conference and informed him that the American people “are with you every step of the way and we will stay with you for as long as it takes”
“We will keep the flame of liberty burning bright, the light will remain and prevail over the darkness.”
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