You are currently viewing Zelensky to make 2nd wartime White House visit

Zelensky to make 2nd wartime White House visit

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Politics / World
  • Post last modified:16/09/2023
  • Reading time:5 mins read

WASHINGTON: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will pay his second wartime visit to Washington next week.

According to White House this visit will be an attempt to solidify the support of his country’s crucial backer, which has shipped billions of dollars in aid to fight Russian invaders.

Zelensky will travel to the White House on Thursday for talks with President Joe Biden and also hold meetings at the US Congress, where elements of the rival Republican Party are hesitant as Biden seeks to push through a major new package for Kyiv.

The Ukrainian leader’s trip to Washington will come after meetings with other world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, said that the trip came at a “critical time” as Ukraine wages a counteroffensive against Russia.

Biden will reaffirm “his commitment to continuing to lead the world in supporting Ukraine as it defends its independence, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” Sullivan told reporters.

He contrasted Zelensky’s trip to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent summit with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated and sanctioned countries, from which Moscow is seeking weapons.

But doubts have also grown over the future of US assistance as Congress approaches a September 30 deadline to approve funding just as the election season approaches.

Former president Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to challenge Biden next year, has lashed out at US assistance, saying the money would be better spent at home and predicting an eventual triumph for Putin, for whom he has shown admiration.

– Building ‘momentum’ for aid –

But traditional Republicans including Senator Mitch McConnell, the party’s Senate leader, support assistance to Ukraine.

“We have confidence that there will be bipartisan support for this. I think President Zelensky does as well, and he wants to build momentum towards that as we head to the end of the month,” Sullivan said.

“Frankly, Republicans and Democrats both recognize that the United States cannot — in its own naked self-interest, let alone the moral obligations we have – walk away from Ukraine at this critical moment,” Sullivan said.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against entrenched Russian positions in June but progress has been limited, spurring the political debate in the West over support for Kyiv.

The United States has provided $43 billion in security assistance as Ukraine holds off Russian incursions.

Biden last month asked Congress for another $40 billion for Ukraine, both in emergency defense aid and economic and humanitarian assistance

Along with wooing Congress, Zelensky is expected to seek longer-range ATACMS missiles that can strike up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) away, giving Ukrainian forces a new edge.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, said the ATACMS request was “under active review” and cautioned that the United States opposed strikes into Russia proper.

“We do not encourage, nor do we enable, the use of our weapon systems outside of Ukraine,” he said, while adding: “Fundamentally these are Ukrainian decisions.”
Baerbock said Germany has also made clear that its arms to Ukraine “are limited to defending their own territory.”


M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.