2023October 2023International News

Zelenskyy Visits White House in Push for Continued Aid

Neve Walker
Staff Writer

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington, D.C., early morning on September 21 for a meeting with lawmakers as well as United States President Joe Biden. This meeting was at the White House and included defense officials at the Pentagon, reports NBC News. The purpose of this visit was regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war and the push for continued aid. 

This is Zelenskyy’s second visit to Washington regarding the war. During this meeting Zelenskyy spent time on Capitol Hill, at the Pentagon, and at the White House. NBC News also states that Zelenskyy met with House members of a bipartisan group, including former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy denied the request to address Congress in a “joint session.” 

Earlier that week, Zelenskyy attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York City with the purpose to appeal to world leaders for continued and additional aid, just as he did in his meeting with Biden.

The U.S. has continued to be one of the biggest supporters and backers to the Ukrainian effort, despite the opposition the GOP has shown in Congress. According to The New York Times, Zelenskyy told lawmakers in the meeting that Ukraine will lose the war without the “flow of aid and weapons” provided by the U.S.  

The appeal for continued aid worked, after the visit Biden announced a new $345 million Ukraine aid package, reports NBC News. The president urges congress to find a bipartisan agreement regarding this aid package. According to The Washington Post, the total package is $24 billion. 

This money is not the only thing the U.S. plans to send Ukraine, in this package “more artillery, more ammunition or anti-tank weapons” will also be sent according to The Washington Post. With the passage of this bill, the first U.S. Abram tanks will be delivered to Ukraine by as early as the next week.

President Biden responded to the plea with the package, mentioning as well that the U.S. will be “staying with [Ukraine]” reports The New York Times. Biden said this without regard to the growing opposition he is facing from Senate Republicans. Zelenskyy mentioned during this meeting that this tension could cost Ukraine the war, considering how much the U.S. plays a role in its continued support, according to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer. “I’m counting on the good judgment of the United States Congress,” Biden said. “There’s no alternative.”

Unfortunately this plea for continued aid comes at a time where in the polls there is increased wariness over the war and the U.S.’ role in it among the general public according to The New York Times.

Unfortunately for the president, it is now up to a divided Congress to discuss and pass the financial aid package. As of right now, Biden is asking for almost $40 billion dollars of continued aid, as reported by The Associated Press.

There are also divides within how to debate about the need for continued aid. According to The Associated Press, different Congresspeople disagree with how the bill should be written, whether it is a stand-alone bill or included in an omnibus bill with other short-term spending issues.

This visit contrasts vividly with Zelenskyy’s last visit at the end of 2022. In this visit, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris unfurred the Ukrainian flag behind Zelenskyy while he addressed Congress. Now that Republicans control the House, Zelenskyy did not receive as warm of a welcome, writes The Associated Press.

These divides could potentially create a stalemate that both the U.S. President and Ukraine President want to avoid for the sake of the war.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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