The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskiy said Wednesday to Congress that the tens billions of dollars it approved for aid in fighting a Russian invasion were not donations but investments in global security.
Zelenskiy, his first trip out of Ukraine since February’s war started in February, told the House of Representatives that he hopes they will continue to support Ukraine bipartisanly – an important point considering the fact that the House is due to be dominated by Republicans on January 3.
Zelenskiy stated, wearing the same khaki fatigues that he wore throughout 300 days of war: “Your money does not go to charity.” It is an investment into the global security, democracy and stability.
After meeting with Democratic President Joe Biden at the White House, Zelenskiy spoke to House Republicans. They have expressed increasing doubts about Ukraine’s continued aid.
Zelenskiy arrived to be greeted in the chamber with raucous applause. As Zelenskiy entered the chamber, three members raised a large Ukrainian flag.
It is a huge honor to speak at the U.S. Congress to address you all. Ukraine didn’t fall, despite all the doom-and-gloom predictions. “Ukraine is still alive and well,” stated Zelenskiy.
He said, “We defeated Russia” in the fight for the minds and the future of the world.
Zelenskiy was among a number of global leaders who addressed joint Senate/House meetings. This tradition began with the visit of Hawaiian King Kalakaua in 1874 and has included legendary wartime visits of Winston Churchill and kings, queens, and even one pope.
Senators and members of the House from each party leapt repeatedly to their feet in support of Zelenskiy’s English speech. He said, “Ukraine keeps its lines and won’t surrender,” and compared his country’s fight against Moscow to the great battles of World War Two or even to American Revolution.
There is no sign of peace negotiations to end the conflict and neither Russia nor Ukraine has signaled their willingness to continue fighting. However, Zelenskiy stated that he had discussed with Biden a 10-point Ukrainian peace formula.
“I am glad President Biden supports our peace initiative today. “All of you, ladies and gentlemen, can help in the implementation to make sure that American leadership is solid, bipartisan, and bicameral,” Zelenskiy told the legislators.
According to an aide of Nancy Pelosi the Democratic House Speaker, Zelenskiy began planning for her speech in October when she met Ruslan Stefanchuk (chairman of Ukraine’s parliament Verkhovna Rada). Pelosi was in Zagreb (Croatian) at the First Parliamentary Summit for the International Crimea Platform.
300 days ago, Russian troops entered Ukraine. In the midst of intensified rocket strikes that left cities in Ukraine in ruin, Zelenskiy reached America knowing that both House and Senate control America’s purse strings.
He was right on time, Congress is about to approve $44.9 billion more in emergency economic and military assistance on top of the $50 billion that has already been sent to Ukraine this fiscal year.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Daniel Fried was a Fellow at the Atlantic Council and said that Zelenskiy’s visit demonstrated their shared belief in the United States being the leader of the Free World, regardless of its flaws.
Fried stated that Zelenskiy “didn’t travel to Berlin, Brussels London, Paris or London for his first overseas trip since the beginning of war.”
Zelenskiy (44 years old), was a comedian and actor who also visited Washington. This happened on the same day as the Senate unanimously confirmed an ambassador for Russia.
Zelenskiy’s welcoming as defender democracy sent a deeper message than just military assistance. This was intended to show Vladimir Putin, Russian President of Russia, that America and NATO are still behind Ukraine despite some impatience from Republican legislators about the increasing cost.
Zelenskiy’s wartime olive-fleece shirts have been internationally recognized. The House ignored a requirement that men wear jackets and ties inside the chamber.