WASHINGTON: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington Thursday to enchantment for assist combating Russia, profitable heat phrases of assist and weapons from Joe Biden however confronting skeptical Republicans who wish to minimize off help.
“We’re with you and we’re staying with you,” Biden informed the Ukrainian chief after their high groups met at White Home to thrash out Zelensky’s calls for for extra arms to push again the Russian invasion.
Carrying his trademark olive inexperienced military-style shirt, Zelensky mentioned Ukraine “has precisely what our troopers want” after Biden introduced a brand new bundle of US army help, together with subtle air protection weapons.
However behind the visuals – agency handshakes throughout a grand cupboard desk and reveals of solidarity within the Oval Workplace – lay the truth that Zelensky’s second wartime journey to Washington was far harder than the primary.
The place Zelensky acquired a hero’s welcome when he visited in December, this time he spent his closed-door conferences within the US Congress desperately making an attempt to beat rising conflict fatigue from Republicans.
Hardline Republicans are threatening to dam Democrat Biden’s request for a contemporary $24 billion help bundle for Ukraine, and it has now grow to be caught up in a bitter spending battle that would spark a US authorities shutdown.
Biden mentioned alongside Zelensky that there was “no different” to backing the Ukraine funding, including that he was “relying on the nice judgment of the US Congress.”
Talking later on the Nationwide Archives, Zelensky mentioned, “I assured President Biden that we in Ukraine won’t hand over and he assured me that America might be with us, so long as it takes.”
The US president mentioned the primary US M1 Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine “subsequent week,” boosting Kyiv’s forces as they battle Russian troops in a slow-moving counteroffensive.
Biden warns in opposition to appeasing Russia as Zelensky takes UN stage
The most recent US bundle would additionally strengthen Ukraine’s air protection functionality, essential at a time when the nation faces repeated Russian missile and drone assaults.
Zelensky arrived Thursday night time in Ottawa, Canada for an unannounced go to. He was to fulfill Friday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of Canada’s massive Ukrainian neighborhood, and provides a speech to parliament.
In Washington the Ukrainian chief arrived proper after one other wave of Russian missile strikes, hitting cities throughout the nation and killing a minimum of three individuals in Kherson and wounding many in different areas.
Zelensky thanked Biden for the “important help offered by the US to fight Russian terror, actually terror.”
As a part of his bid to win over Washington, Zelensky went to the Pentagon the place he laid a wreath at a memorial for victims of the September 11, 2001 assaults.
However in a blow to Zelensky, Biden rejected for now a request for longer-range ATACMS missiles that may strike as much as 300 kilometers (190 miles) away, the White Home mentioned.
The important thing a part of Zelensky’s go to was arguably to a deeply divided Congress.
On Capitol Hill, Zelensky acquired a notably discreet welcome from the Republican Speaker of the Home of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, who’s having bother holding a lid on inner occasion squabbling over US spending in Ukraine.
Some Republicans say the cash might be higher spent on US border safety, whereas there are additionally issues concerning the tempo of Kyiv’s counteroffensive and that corruption in Ukraine means the cash will go to waste.
The doubts are being fuelled by messaging from former president and certain 2024 candidate Donald Trump, who has opposed extra funding and ceaselessly expressed admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
It’s a pattern that has additionally reached elements of the commonly extra pro-Ukraine Republicans within the Senate, the place Senator Roger Marshall mentioned Congress shouldn’t be “sending one other clean test to Zelensky”.
Democratic Senate chief Chuck Schumer, a significant supporter of Biden’s pro-Ukraine insurance policies, mentioned Zelensky had informed him “if we don’t get the help, we’ll lose the conflict.”
Kyiv is in the meantime making an attempt to shore up worldwide assist, with Zelensky telling the UN Common Meeting in New York this week that the world should stand agency with Ukrainians in opposition to Russia’s “genocide.”
However Zelensky performed down a row with Poland, saying solely that he was “grateful” for Warsaw’s assist after the Polish prime minister mentioned he would not arm Ukraine in a mounting row over grain exports.
The Polish premier later mentioned he had been “misinterpreted.”