Vladimir Zelensky's visit to the US capital is associated with the failure of American President Joe Biden's attempts to convince Congress to allocate an additional $61.4 billion for the needs of Ukraine and $14 billion for military assistance to Israel. Discussions over the payments have stalled as Republicans insist that border enforcement at the U.S. border with Mexico must first be tightened.. Democrats reject these measures.
“Although Biden says he is open to compromise, the Republican bloc continues to doubt that Ukraine needs to allocate more than the $100 billion that has already been approved by Congress. The Biden administration believed that no one could better explain the importance of aid for their country than Zelensky himself,” writes CNN.
The President of Ukraine arrived in Washington on Monday evening at the invitation of Joe Biden and had the opportunity to personally convince American politicians of the need to unblock military and economic aid to Ukraine.
On Monday, he gave a speech at the National Defense University in Washington to representatives of the military industry.. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian president held talks with Joe Biden in the oval office of the White House, spoke in the Senate and met behind closed doors with US House Speaker Mike Johnson.
Zelensky convinced senators of Ukraine’s military successes
According to the Associated Press, Vladimir Zelensky, during a two-day visit to Washington, convinced the American public that Ukraine is fighting “for our and your freedom,” that it is successful in defense and can win.
“For almost two years we have been in a state of full-scale war — the largest battle for freedom since World War II.. No matter what Putin achieves, he has not won a single victory. Thanks to Ukraine’s success – success in defense – other European countries are protected from Russian aggression,” the Associated Press quotes Vladimir Zelensky as saying.
In an interview with NBC News, the President of Ukraine said that his meetings with American senators were fruitful, as he was able to explain to them in detail Ukraine's progress in the war with Russia.
“We talked to representatives of both parties. I think they didn’t know all the details about what was happening on the battlefield… Yes, they admitted that we are actually having very good successes in the Black Sea against Russian ships, and this is very good,” Zelensky was quoted as saying by NBC News.
Biden promised that the United States will continue to help Ukraine “as much as we can”
On Tuesday evening, Vladimir Zelensky and Joe Biden held a joint conference, at which the US leader noted that “the American people can and should be incredibly proud of the role they play in supporting Ukraine.”. The States, he said, will continue to supply Ukraine with critical weapons and ammunition “for as long as we can.”
CNN notes that the president has subtly but significantly changed the narrative. Previously, Biden always emphasized that the United States would help Ukraine defend itself from Russian invasion “as long as necessary.”
«Biden's comment may reflect the president's more pragmatic view of the future of aid to Ukraine as time — and perhaps political will — runs out,» CNN writes.
Biden approves $200 million for Ukraine
During a meeting with Vladimir Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Joe Biden announced the allocation of a new package of military assistance to Ukraine in the amount of $200 million.
The American president strongly recommended that the US Congress approve more significant assistance to Kyiv before lawmakers go on Christmas vacation. Otherwise, he said, American congressmen will present Putin with “the biggest Christmas gift” and thereby undermine security in Europe and the world.
«We see what happens when dictators don't pay the price for the damage, for the deaths, for the destruction they cause. They move on when they haven't paid anything for it.. The threat to America, Europe and the world will only increase unless we act.. And I want us to act,” Joe Biden emphasized.
Schumer called Zelensky's speech in the Senate «very powerful»
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said the Ukrainian president impressed senators with arguments that Ukraine needed help “urgently” and that a Putin victory could be “very dangerous” for the United States.
According to Senator Mike Rounds, Zelensky convinced American lawmakers that Ukraine urgently needs additional air defense systems to block land passage to Crimea. Senators, in turn, asked questions mainly about reporting for the assistance provided to Ukraine, and Zelensky tried to convince them that American money would not flow into the pockets of corrupt officials.
Republican Senator Thom Tillis told reporters that the Ukrainian president had to debunk conspiracy theories, in particular the myth that $75 million of American money was spent on the purchase of a $75 million yacht for Vladimir Zelensky.
“Tillis said that he and other senators have gained an understanding of what is really happening on the territory of Ukraine. He expressed confidence that the money was transferred properly. Tillis warned that if US lawmakers fail to support Ukraine, the United States will have to spend a lot more money,” writes Raw Story.
Johnson asked for a strategy to end the conflict
Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson held a 30-minute meeting with Vladimir Zelensky, after which he said in an interview with Fox News that he supports Ukraine in its fight against Putin’s army. But he is going to release the House of Representatives for the Christmas and New Year holidays (from December 14) without making a decision on providing assistance to Ukraine.
According to Johnson, the Senate and the White House are to blame for the delay in the decision on Ukraine, which does not fulfill two of his requests — does not agree to strengthen control on the border with Mexico and does not formulate a clear strategy on how the conflict in Ukraine will be ended with the help of the United States.
“I gave President Zelensky a very clear message… We stand with the people of Ukraine, with the besieged people of Ukraine, and we are against Vladimir Putin’s brutal attack — his invasion of their country. But we must protect our own home first,” Mike Johnson was quoted as saying by Fox News.
McConnell called passage of the law this year 'virtually impossible'
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the US Congress will likely delay consideration of aid to Ukraine and Israel until next year.
“It’s virtually impossible, even if we reach an agreement, to get a bill ready, get it through the Senate and get it through Congress before Christmas,” The Hill quoted Mitch McConnell as saying.
According to him, most congressmen will leave Washington for the New Year holidays and will not agree to return until early January. So even if Senate negotiators reach a deal to secure the border with Mexico, there won't be enough House members to vote to release aid to Israel and Ukraine.