Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky flies to the US, will meet with Joe Biden. A journey with a change in Poland
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he was going to Washington, where he would meet with US President Joe Biden. The Ukrainian leader, on his way to the United States, on Wednesday morning, changed planes in Poland. The visit, Reuters reported, is expected to last “several hours”.
On his way to the USA, the Ukrainian leader changed planes in our country at the airport in Jasionka near Rzeszów.
Zelensky is expected to arrive in Washington in the afternoon local time (evening in Poland). Details about the Ukrainian leader’s visit have not yet been released for security reasons. According to Reuters, it will take several hours.
Zelensky meets with Biden
Wednesday morning media reports on trip to the US was confirmed by Zelensky himself on Twitter, writing that the purpose of the visit is to “strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities”. “U.S. President Joe Biden and I will discuss cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. I will also give a speech to the Congress and hold a series of bilateral meetings,” the Ukrainian president said.
White House Spokeswoman: Biden will announce significant aid package to Ukraine
In a statement released by White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, President Biden invited Zelensky to visit the US to “underscore the United States’ continued commitment to Ukraine.” “Three hundred days ago, Russia launched a brutal attack against Ukraine. In response, President Biden called on the world to support the Ukrainian people in defending their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” stressed Jean-Pierre.
“During this visit, President Biden will announce a major new security assistance package that will help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. The visit will underscore the U.S.’s steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary, including by providing economic, humanitarian and and military,” the statement said.
Representative of the White House about the goals of Zelensky’s visit
As the representative of the White House said during a telephone press conference announcing the unexpected visit of the Ukrainian president, it is the result of a conversation between the two heads of state on December 11, and was formally confirmed last Sunday. Zelensky is scheduled to meet with Biden on Wednesday afternoon local time (evening Polish time), appear at a press conference and deliver a speech in front of the combined houses of Congress in the evening.
“During the meeting, President Biden will have the opportunity to have an in-depth, strategic discussion with President Zelensky about the path ahead on the battlefield, the military capabilities and training that the U.S. and our allies will continue to provide to Ukraine, sanctions and export controls… and the economic, energy and humanitarian assistance we provide to improve the lives of Ukrainians, the official said.
He said the US will also announce a new $2 billion arms package for Ukraine, which will include a battery of Patriot missiles. Training on the use of this anti-aircraft and anti-missile system is to take place in a third country.
A representative of the administration stressed that President Biden did not intend to “press or push” Zelensky in any way about possible peace talks with Russia. “It will be a message of solidarity and support, coordination and unity, and to ensure that we put Ukraine in the best possible position,” he said. He added that Biden intends to repeat to Zelensky and the Ukrainians his promise that the US will support Ukraine “as long as it takes.”
When asked about concerns about the safety of Zelensky’s trip in wartime conditions, the official said both sides agreed that there were adequate “security parameters” for the visit. He also pointed out that just before leaving for Washington, Zelensky went to Bakhmut, which is currently the subject of the fiercest battles on the front.
Vote in Congress on aid for Ukraine
During the visit to Congress, a vote will be held on the draft US budget, which provides for USD 45 billion for military and economic aid for Ukraine. In the first procedural vote on Tuesday in the Senate, 70 out of 100 senators voted for further processing of the bill.
A White House official said the vote on the matter would show that “despite some rumors and suggestions to the contrary, support for Ukraine will remain broad, deep, and bipartisan.”
During his speech in Congress – Zelensky has already appeared once before two houses of the US parliament virtually, in March – the Ukrainian leader is to thank the Americans for their support and convince them to continue helping, presenting Ukraine’s fight as a fight for democracy.
Previously Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to come to the Capitol on Wednesday for a “special” event.
White House: US does not seek direct war with Russia
President Joe Biden has made it clear that the US “is not seeking a direct war with Russia,” a White House official, who wished to remain anonymous, said ahead of Zelensky’s visit to Washington.
The White House denies the Kremlin’s allegations that the delivery of Patriot batteries means an escalation of the United States’ involvement in the war war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainians have been striving for the Patriot system for a long time. The Americans refused precisely because they were afraid that Moscow would recognize this step as an escalation of the conflict. There were also concerns about training and whether American soldiers would be needed to operate it. Biden vehemently rejected sending any US combat troops to Ukraine.
According to White House officials, the factor that influenced the decision to hand over the system was Russia’s massive missile attacks, which damaged Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving many residents unable to heat their homes in the winter, the Associated Press wrote.
It is not clear when the Patriot system will reach the Ukrainian front, as the US military will first need to train Ukrainian soldiers in the use of this technologically advanced system. The training may take several weeks and is to take place at the Grafenwoehr training ground in Germany. So far, all training of Ukrainian forces by the US and the West has taken place in European countries, the agency reported.
One Patriot battery typically includes up to eight launchers, each capable of holding four missiles. About 90 soldiers are usually needed to operate and maintain the entire system, which includes the radar, control station, computers and generators. However, according to the US military, it takes only three soldiers to launch the missiles, the AP added.
Main photo source: TVN24
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