Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the U.S. Congress on Wednesday that the tens of billions of dollars of aid approved to combat Russian aggression is not a charity, but an investment in global security.
On his first trip abroad since the civil war began in February, Zelensky told lawmakers on a soaring House floor that he hoped they would continue to support Ukraine on a bipartisan basis. in the House of Commons.
“Your money is not charity,” said Zelensky, wearing the khakis that were his public uniform during the 300-day conflict. is.”
After meeting with Democratic President Joe Biden at the White House, Zelensky’s speech had to resonate with Republicans in the House, who are increasingly skeptical about continuing to send large amounts of aid to Ukraine.
Zelensky’s arrival was met with repeated roars of applause in the nearly full chamber. As he entered, the three members raised large Ukrainian flags.
“It is a great honor for me to be in the United States Congress and to speak to you and all Americans. Against all doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine did not fall. ‘ said Zelensky.
“We beat Russia in the battle for the heart of the world,” he said.
Zelensky joins a long list of world leaders to address the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives. This tradition began in 1874 with the visit of King Kalakaua of Hawaii and included an almost legendary wartime visit by British Prime Minister Winston his Churchill and the King and Queen. and one pope.
Deputies and senators from both parties have repeatedly stood up to cheer for some of Zelensky’s speeches in English, such as “Ukraine will hold its line and never surrender,” urging its country against the Moscow army. likened the battle to the great battles of World War II. Even the American Revolution.
Although there are no signs of peace talks to end the war and both Russia and Ukraine have indicated their willingness to continue fighting, Zelensky said he had discussed with Biden a 10-point Ukrainian peace plan.
“Today, I am pleased that President Biden has endorsed our peace initiative. Ladies and gentlemen today, I hope that America’s leadership remains strong, bicameral, and bipartisan. To ensure that, we can help implement it,” Zelensky told lawmakers.
According to an aide to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, planning for Zelensky’s speech began in October when she met with Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, the Supreme Assembly. was attending the 1st parliamentary summit of the International Crimean Platform in Zagreb.
Exactly 300 days after the Russian invasion, Zelensky arrives knowing that the Senate and House of Representatives control America’s purse strings as rocket attacks rage and Ukrainian cities are ravaged.
His timing was perfect: Congress is on the verge of approving an additional $44.9 billion in new emergency military and economic aid, adding to the nearly $50 billion already sent to Ukraine this year.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland and fellow of the Atlantic Council, Daniel Fried, said Zelensky’s visit was a testament to his and Biden’s shared belief that America, despite its mistakes, is the leader of the free world. said that it shows that
Freed said Zelensky said on his first trip abroad since the start of the war, “I didn’t go to Berlin, Brussels, London or Paris.”
Former comedian and actor Zelensky, 44, was also in Washington on the day the Senate overwhelmingly approved Russia’s new ambassador.
Zelensky’s welcoming optics as a defender of democracy conveyed a much deeper message than military aid. He was to let Russian President Vladimir Putin know that the United States and its NATO allies remained firmly behind Ukraine.
In the case of Zelensky, whose wartime Olive Fatigue gained worldwide recognition, the House of Commons generally overlooked the rule that men must wear jackets and ties in meeting rooms.
(Except for the headline, this article is unedited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)
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