5 Things To Remember About Volodymyr Zelensky’s Visit To Washington: Three hundred days after Russia invaded his country, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, flew to Washington, DC, to talk about what might happen in the next 300 days. From Zelensky’s drab green sweatshirt to President Joe Biden’s blue-and-yellow striped tie to the Ukrainian battle flag that was spread out on the House floor, everything about the historic visit was full of meaning.
But there was a lot more to the trip than just symbols. Biden wouldn’t have invited Zelensky to Washington and made him take a risky journey outside of Ukraine for the first time since the war started if he didn’t think they could get something done by meeting in person instead of talking on the phone.
After their talk, both men clarified that they thought the war was moving into a new phase. As Russia sends more troops to the front lines and fights a brutal air campaign against civilian targets, fears of a stalemate grow.
But when Zelensky left Washington for a long and risky trip back to Ukraine, it wasn’t clear that there was a better way to end the conflict. As Zelensky Walks Into The White House, Biden Shakes His Hand. After Zelensky arrived in the United States on Wednesday, Rufus Gifford, who is in charge of protocol for the State Department, met him.
Biden And Zelensky Try To Figure Out What Will Happen To End The War
One of the reasons for bringing Zelensky to the White House was to find out where he stood on ending the war. The Ukrainian leader said he wants “just peace” to end the conflict. US officials have said that this will be the main topic of their talks on Wednesday.
But on Wednesday, Zelensky said things that made it sound like peace was not close. He said that concessions to Russia were not the way to end the war. “For me as president, ‘just peace’ means no compromises,” he said, meaning he doesn’t see a way to peace that involves Ukraine giving up territory or sovereignty.
Zelensky later told Congress that he had given Biden a 10-point peace plan. However, US officials later said it was the same plan he had given world leaders at the Group of 20 summits last month.
Western countries that have come together to support Zelensky have been worried about his long-term plan. Biden, for his part, said that Zelensky should “decide how he wants the war to end.” This is a long-held view that doesn’t answer many questions.
Zelensky Shows That He Knows His Audience And That He Knows How To Put On A Show
In his speech to lawmakers, Zelensky talked about important events in American history, like the Battle of Saratoga in the American Revolutionary War and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
He told everyone that he would speak in English, which was his choice. Even his clothes—the now-familiar Army green shirt, cargo pants, and boots—seemed meant to remind his audience that they were in the presence of a wartime leader.
Throughout the war, Zelensky has shown a keen ability to connect with his audience, whether it be national legislatures or people watching the Grammys. On Wednesday, he tried to get Americans to feel wrong about what was happening in his country by talking about dark winter nights as Russia tried to cut off Ukraine’s power.
“Christmas is coming up in two days. Maybe with candles. “There won’t be electricity,” he said. “Not because it’s more romantic, but because there won’t be any.” But he also seemed to know that many Americans, including some Republicans in Congress, have asked out loud why the US needs to spend billions of dollars on a war thousands of miles away. He tried to make sure that the cause was about more than just his own country.
“The fight isn’t just for the lives, freedoms, and safety of Ukrainians or people in any other country that Russia wants to take over,” he said. “The fight will decide what kind of world our kids and grandkids will grow up in.”
“Your money is not charity,” he said. It’s an investment in world peace and democracy that we take care of in the best way possible.”
Zelensky Finally Agrees To Take The Ride That Was Offered To Him, And He Also Gets The Guns
At the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Americans offered to get Zelensky out of Kyiv. He refused. Zelensky told the US, “I need weapons, not a ride.” After ten months, he got both. When Zelensky landed in a US military plane outside of Washington on Wednesday, it was the end of a 10-day rush by American and Ukrainian officials to set up a dangerous wartime visit to rally support for Ukraine’s ongoing fight against Russia’s invasion.
Just before Zelensky arrived, the Biden administration said it would send nearly $2 billion in extra security aid to Ukraine. This would include a new, high-tech air defense system that Zelensky had been asking for months.
A source who knows about the situation says that when Zelensky was thinking about a trip to Washington, he told advisers that he didn’t want to go if there hadn’t been a significant change in the relationship between Russia and the United States. Zelensky thought it was a substantial change in how the US and Ukraine worked together when they sent Ukraine a Patriot missile defense system.
Still, when he was standing next to Biden, he was honest about the fact that he didn’t think the single Patriot system was enough. He said as Biden laughed, “We’d like to get more Patriots.” “Sorry, but we’re at war right now.”
One Of The Most Complicated Relationships In The World Has A United Front
Later, when he talked to Congress, Zelensky said again that he didn’t think the American help was enough. “Is that all? “To be honest, not really,” he said about the artillery the US has given. Zelensky’s honest request for more Patriots and Biden’s funny answer gave a glimpse into one of the most complicated relationships in the world.
Biden and Zelensky have kept up what seems to be a strong relationship. As Zelensky went from the Oval Office to the East Room to Capitol Hill, he praised Biden. Still, it doesn’t take much to see that there are problems below the surface. Even though Biden has given Zelensky’s country tens of billions of dollars in military aid, Zelensky has always asked for more help from the US.
This has not always made Biden or his team happy. But, as he has done with many other foreign leaders, Biden seemed determined on Wednesday to use their closeness to learn more about his counterpart. “The most important thing is to look someone in the eye. I mean it. He said, “I don’t think there is anything that can replace sitting down with a friend or foe and looking them in the eye.”
A Trip That Marks The Start Of A “New Phase” In The War
Officials said that Biden asked Zelensky to come to Washington this week because he thinks the war in Ukraine is moving into a “new phase.” As winter approaches and Russia keeps attacking civilian infrastructure, it seemed like the right time for Zelensky to make a dramatic public plea for more help worldwide.
The new phase isn’t just happening on the battlefield, though. Leaders worldwide have to deal with the harmful effects of Russia’s invasion. Tough sanctions against Moscow have led to higher prices for energy and food, which has caused problems for politicians in Europe and the United States.
In Washington, Republicans about to take control of Congress have made it clear that they won’t automatically approve every one of Vice President Biden’s requests for help with Ukraine. However, fears that funding will run out ultimately don’t seem true. Congress is almost ready to approve nearly $50 billion extra money for economic and security aid.
When Zelensky talked to lawmakers, he often spoke of people from “both parties.” He did this to show that his cause was essential to people from both parties. Still, some Republicans didn’t show up when Zelensky spoke to Congress. They did this to protest what they say are uncontrolled dollars leaving the US.
In light of this, Biden insisted that the US keep helping for months. He said, “It’s important for the American people and the rest of the world to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to stay together until 2023.”
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