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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

In first foreign trip since Russian invasion, Zelensky meets Biden in Washington | World News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived Wednesday in Washington on his first international journey since Russia’s invasion, with US leaders hailing him as “heroic” and pledging to supply new missile protection programs.

Zelensky — whose media savvy and rugged demeanor has helped him rally the world to Ukraine’s trigger — landed in a US army aircraft at Andrews Air Pressure Base after a visit organized secretly because of safety issues.

He met President Joe Biden on the White Home, and can ship an deal with to Congress, which is finalizing a brand new $45 billion package deal for Ukraine heading into the brand new 12 months.

“I am thrilled to have you ever right here,” Biden tweeted shortly earlier than Zelensky’s arrival. Tv footage confirmed the aircraft being met by a big convoy on the runway.

Lawmakers in contrast his journey to Winston Churchill’s Christmas-time look within the Capitol in 1941, days after Japan’s assault on Pearl Harbor introduced the USA into World Struggle II.

“It’s significantly poignant for me to be current when one other heroic chief addresses the Congress in a time of conflict — and with democracy itself on the road,” stated Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a champion of Ukraine whose invitation to Zelensky can be one in every of her final acts earlier than Republicans take management.

As Zelensky arrived, the USA introduced one other $1.85 billion from beforehand budgeted funds for Ukraine, together with for the primary time the superior Patriot air protection system, which is able to taking pictures down cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles.

Ukraine fears a rising onslaught of missiles and has confronted a slew of assaults from drones, many purchased by Russia from Iran, as Moscow pummels energy vegetation and different civilian infrastructure simply because the nation shivers within the winter chilly.

“We’ll proceed to help Ukraine for so long as it takes, in order that Kyiv can proceed to defend itself and be within the strongest attainable place on the negotiating desk when the time comes,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a press release saying the help.

Zelensky whereas on his strategy to Washington tweeted that he hoped to “strengthen resilience and protection capabilities” of Ukraine.

– Putin additionally vows conflict funding –

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated Wednesday that new weapons deliveries would result in an “aggravation of the battle” and don’t “bode nicely for Ukraine”.

Talking with senior army officers throughout a televised deal with, President Vladimir Putin contended that Moscow was to not blame for the invasion and agreed with an evaluation that Russia wanted a bigger military.

“The fight capabilities of our armed forces are growing consistently,” Putin stated, including that Russia can even “enhance the fight readiness of our nuclear triad.”

“What is occurring is, in fact, a tragedy — our shared tragedy. However it’s not the results of our coverage. It’s the results of the coverage of third international locations,” he added.

“We have no limits on funding. The nation and the federal government is giving all the things that the military asks for, all the things,” Putin stated.

Zelensky’s go to was quietly deliberate, starting with a phone name between Biden and Zelensky on December 11, adopted by a proper invitation every week in the past and affirmation of the go to on Sunday, US officers stated.

The go to will ship Putin “a robust message of unity and resolve from the White Home, from Washington, from the free world, on behalf of all of the nations supporting Ukraine,” a senior White Home official added.

However that doesn’t embrace pressuring Zelensky into talks with Putin, the official careworn.

– Zelensky on frontlines –

Zelensky flies to the USA after a dangerous go to to the frontline in Bakhmut, the place each side have endured heavy tolls in fixed taking pictures and shelling over the previous two months.

Brutal trench warfare and artillery battles round Bakhmut — as soon as identified for its vineyards and salt mines — have flattened giant parts of the town and its environment.

“Right here in Donbas, you are defending all of Ukraine,” Zelensky informed Ukrainian fighters.

“This isn’t simply Bakhmut, that is fortress Bakhmut,” he stated, handing out honors to Ukraine servicemen.

Troopers gave Zelensky a Ukrainian flag with their names signed on it and requested him to current it to Biden and Congress.

Zelensky stated they informed him: “We now have a troublesome scenario. The enemy is growing their numbers. Our guys are braver, however we want extra weapons.”

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