February 5, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Preparing for the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Capitol Hill

Capitol police are stepping up security measures in connection with the visit of Volodymyr Zelensky – he will visit Washington to address Congress and meet with US President Joe Biden.

As informs Axios edition, citing several sources in the country’s top leadership, this is the first personal visit of the President of Ukraine to the United States since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. He is expected to thank lawmakers for billions of dollars in aid to the Ukrainian military and explain why even more funding is needed.

On Tuesday, Dec. 20, in a letter to colleagues, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked all lawmakers to “be physically present at Wednesday night’s meeting to take part in the ‘special focus on democracy’.”

CNN has also confirmed that Zelensky will be visiting Washington on December 21 and plans to meet with Joe Biden to discuss a new military aid package.

The Axios publication explains why Zelensky’s visit to the United States is so important now. Zelensky has not left Ukraine since Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused untold suffering to the Ukrainian people and sent shockwaves to the global economy. If he goes to Washington on his first trip abroad, it will send a strong signal that US support for Ukraine is working. Congress this week is ready to hand over $45 billion in additional military and economic aid to Ukraine as part of its $1.7 trillion comprehensive funding bill, bringing total US aid to over $100 billion.

CNN reports that President Joe Biden also plans to host the Ukrainian president at the White House. Biden is expected to announce during Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington on Wednesday that the United States will provide Ukraine with a Patriot missile defense battery, a senior administration official said. While the US and its allies, including France and Germany, have provided Ukraine with various missile defense systems in recent weeks, the Patriot system will be the most advanced one sent to the country since the start of the war.

The visit to the United States will give Zelensky the opportunity to personally meet with some of the skeptics, or at least with the leadership of the Republican Party, to convince him that US assistance is vital and used responsibly. In the midst of Hanukkah and Christmas approaching, Ukraine is suffering from massive power outages caused by Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure. It is highly likely that Zelensky’s emotional appeal could reach MPs who are preparing to leave the city for the holidays.

On Tuesday, CNN, citing sources, said: “The Ukrainian president is leaving his country and is already on his way here. [в Вашингтон]”. According to the channel, the Ukrainian president will deliver a speech at a joint meeting of the US House of Representatives and the Senate of the US Congress, and will also meet with US leader Joe Biden to discuss assistance to Kyiv.

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