Zelensky Thanks 'Ordinary Americans' for Support

Biden holds joint press conference with Ukrainian leader
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 21, 2022 5:40 PM CST
Zelensky Thanks 'Ordinary Americans' for Support
President Biden speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid a defiant wartime visit to Washington on Wednesday to thank US leaders and "ordinary Americans" for their support in fighting off Russia’s invasion and pledged there would be "no compromises" in trying to bring an end to the war. President Joe Biden and Congress responded with billions in new assistance and a pledge to help Ukraine pursue a "just peace.” Biden welcomed Zelensky to the Oval Office, saying the US and Ukraine would continue to project a "united defense" as Russia wages a "brutal assault on Ukraine's right to exist as a nation." Zelensky, on his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February, said that he wanted to visit earlier and that his visit now showed the "situation is under control, because of your support," the AP reports.

Pressed on how Ukraine would try to bring an end to the conflict, Zelensky rejected Biden's framing of a "just peace," saying, "For me as a president, 'just peace' is no compromises." He said the war would end once Ukraine's sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity were restored, as well as the "payback for all the damages inflicted by Russian aggression." Just before his arrival, the US announced its largest single delivery of arms to Ukraine, including Patriot surface-to-air missiles. Russia, Biden said, is "trying to use winter as a weapon, but Ukrainian people continue to inspire the world." Later, in a joint news conference, he said Russian President Vladimir Putin has "no intention of stopping this cruel war."

The two leaders appeared to share a warm rapport, laughing at each others' comments and patting each other on the back throughout the visit, reports the AP, though Zelensky made clear he will continue to press Biden and other Western leaders for ever more support. He said that after the Patriot system was up and running, "we will send another signal to President Biden that we would like to get more Patriots." With a smile, Zelensky added, "We are in the war" as Biden chuckled at the direct request. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry," Zelensky added. Biden said it is “important for the American people, and for the world, to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight, and the need to continue to stand together through 2023." After the White House meeting, the Ukrainian president was scheduled to give an address to Congress. (Read more Volodymyr Zelensky stories.)

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