‘You will never be alone’: Biden promises to support Zelenskiy during his visit to the United States | Ukraine
Joe Biden promised Volodymyr Zelenskiy that “you will never be left alone” as the Ukrainian leader made his way to the White House in a bid to maintain the supply of American weapons for the war against Russia.
Zelenskiy, dressed in his now iconic military-style green trousers and shirt, praised the American support while warning that it was difficult to see an easy end to the conflict and that “there can be no just peace in a war that has been imposed on us”. .
Ukraine’s president left his country for the first time since Russia invaded 300 days ago for the Oval Office meeting and to address Congress on Wednesday night as the new Republican leadership of the House of Representatives challenges increasingly questioning the continued military aid “blank check”.
In a press conference after the two-hour meeting, Biden repeatedly affirmed the United States’ commitment to Ukraine.
“You will never be left alone,” he said. “Because we understand in our bones that Ukraine’s fight is part of something much bigger. The American people know that if we stand idly by in the face of such blatant attacks on freedom and democracy, and the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the world would surely face worse consequences.
The United States has already provided $22 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February. Shortly before Zelenskiy’s arrival, the White House announced $1.85 billion in additional aid, including, for the first time, advanced Patriot air defense missiles to defend against Russian attacks that have crippled Ukraine’s electricity and other infrastructure.
Zelenskiy said he came to Washington to thank the United States for what he described as its crucial military aid and to ask for more. He also called on Congress to approve $45 billion in military aid for next year, despite Republican skepticism, saying it was in the US interest to support Ukraine.
“Every dollar of this investment for the United States will strengthen global security,” he said. “Regardless of the changes in Congress, I think there will be bipartisan and bicameral support.”
Asked by a Ukrainian journalist how the war might end — and what a just peace might look like — Zelenskiy was not optimistic.
“For me, as president, a just peace is not a compromise on the sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity of my country. And reimbursement for all damages inflicted by Russian aggression,” he said.
But Zelenskiy said a just peace was a more complicated issue for those who suffered because of war.
“I would like to highlight the number of parents who have lost their sons and daughters on the front line. So what is peace for them? Money is nothing and these compensations or reparations are of no consequence. They I think this is a terrible tragedy and the longer the war lasts, the longer this aggression lasts, there will be more parents who will live for revenge.
Biden said there was an easy way to end the conflict, but he didn’t expect that to happen soon, and so the war will continue for now.
“We both want this war to end,” he said. “It could end today if Putin had any dignity and did the right thing and walked away. But it won’t happen. It won’t happen now. So what comes next? This we talked about today is that we will continue to help Ukraine succeed on the battlefield.