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Biden and Zelenskyy present united front against Russia at White House as U.S. readies more aid

Washington — President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy are holding a press convention at the White House on Wednesday, presenting a united front against Russia as the U.S. prepares to ship billions of {dollars} more in army aid to bolster Ukrainian forces.

“It’s important for the American people and for the world to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to continue to stand together through 2023,” Mr. Biden mentioned, standing subsequent to Zelenskyy within the White House East Room.

The president mentioned the U.S. would proceed to assist Ukraine “as long as it takes,” and denounced ramped-up Russian assaults on Ukrainian infrastructure as the brutal winter chilly units in.

“We should be clear about what Russia is doing — it is purposefully attacking Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, destroying the systems that provide hat and light to the Ukrainian people during the coldest, darkest part of the year. Russia is using winter as a weapon,” Mr. Biden mentioned.

Asked what message he had for the American individuals, Zelenskyy emphasised that “we have the same values.”

“We really fight for our common victory against this tyranny. And that is real life. And we will win. And I really want [to] win together. Not want — I am sure,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

U.S. President Biden welcomes Ukraine's President Zelenskiy at the White House in Washington
President Biden and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy maintain a joint information convention within the East Room of the White House on Dec. 21, 2022.

KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS


The go to to Washington is the Ukrainian chief’s first recognized journey outdoors his nation within the 300 days for the reason that Russian invasion started. Mr. Biden rolled out the pink carpet for his Ukrainian counterpart, who wore an olive-green sweatshirt, cargo pants and boots. The two first held a meeting within the Oval Office, the place Mr. Biden mentioned the U.S. “stands with the great people of Ukraine” and known as Zelenskyy a “great leader.”

Zelenskyy is heading to Capitol Hill after leaving the White House, the place he’ll deal with a joint meeting of Congress at 7:30 p.m.

Planning for the journey was cloaked in secrecy given the extraordinary safety issues that include a wartime chief touring outdoors his nation. 

Zelenskyy mentioned it was a “great honor” to be welcomed to the White House, and expressed his appreciation “from my heart, from the hearts of Ukrainians, all Ukrainians” for Mr. Biden’s “support and leadership.”

In a second within the Oval Office that appeared to catch Mr. Biden off guard, Zelenskyy offered him with a fight medal {that a} Ukrainian captain combating on the front traces had given him. “He’s very brave and he said give it to a very brave president,” Zelenskyy mentioned, noting that the captain instructions a unit utilizing a weapons system offered by the U.S.

Shortly earlier than Zelenskyy arrived, the State Department unveiled a brand new army aid bundle for Ukraine price $1.85 billion, bringing the full army aid despatched to Ukraine to $22 billion. In a primary, the U.S. is sending the Ukrainians a Patriot missile battery, a classy air protection system that may repel Russian missiles and plane. The new bundle additionally consists of hundred of 1000’s of mortars and artillery shells, dozens of armored autos and specialised kits that vastly improve the effectiveness and accuracy of bombs dropped from fighter jets. 

“We’re going to continue to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, particularly air defense,” Mr. Biden mentioned. “And that’s why we’re going to be providing Ukraine with a Patriot missile battery and training your forces to be able to accurately use it.”

The Ukrainian president’s speech to Congress comes as U.S. lawmakers work to cross a sweeping $1.7 trillion authorities spending bundle that features practically $45 billion in army, humanitarian and financial help for Ukraine. The measure could be one of many closing items of laws handed by the present Congress, and lawmakers had been transferring with urgency to clear the omnibus invoice earlier than a Friday deadline to avert a partial authorities shutdown.

The roughly $45 billion included for Ukraine is increased than the $37.7 billion requested by the White House in November and, if accepted by Congress, could be the most recent tranche of emergency help offered to Ukraine as it continues to struggle Russia.

Lawmakers have allotted more than $65 billion in whole aid, which incorporates monetary and humanitarian help, to Ukraine for the reason that invasion, although some House Republicans have expressed opposition to persevering with direct funding to the nation. This new bundle would convey U.S. help to over $100 billion. 

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