Update(1340ET): Zelensky has arrived on a large Air Force jet. He’s expected to soon meet Biden at the White House, after which there will be a joint presser at 1630ET.
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Update(10:45ET): Zelensky is reportedly arriving to Washington D.C. aboard a US Air Force plane, according to US officials cited in CNN, after taking a high risk train ride into Poland. White House national security communications coordinator John Kirby said of the impending visit with President Biden, “The President really believes that as we approach winter, as we enter … a new phase in this war, of Mr. Putin’s aggression, that this is a good time for the two leaders to sit down face to face and talk.” But this is how Reuters somewhat cynically previewed the visit:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy headed to Washington on Wednesday to meet President Joe Biden, address Congress and seek “weapons, weapons and more weapons” in his first overseas trip since Russia invaded Ukraine 300 days ago.
Surprisingly, the Associated Press additionally highlighted the latest video address by Zelensky, who yesterday while visiting a frontline fighting area in Bakhmut, said the following at a moment Congress is set to to approve $45 billion more in aid for Ukraine in the proposed massive omnibus package:
“We will pass it on from the boys to the Congress, to the president of the United States. We are grateful for their support, but it is not enough. It is a hint — it is not enough,” Zelensky said.
The US is about to reach $100 billion in total aid committed to Ukraine, and as Glenn Greenwald points out, this far surpasses the total current Russian military budget…
And yet Zelensky and the constant refrain of top Ukrainian officials has been essentially that despite the blank check approach of the Biden administration, it is never enough. Apparently even the mainstream media is beginning to recognize this.
However, over at CNN Zelensky is being compared to Winston Churchill…
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With Ukraine’s Zelensky reportedly in the air en route to Washington where he’s is to deliver a “very special” in-person speech to US lawmakers, it’s being widely reported Wednesday morning that President Biden is expected to announce the US will deliver the Patriot missile defense system, along with another $2 billion in defense aid.
An admin official quoted in Axios said Zelensky’s visit to Washington is expected to last just “a few short hours,” and marks the first known trip the Ukrainian leader has taken outside the country since the war began. He’s expected to hold an “in-depth, strategic discussion” with Biden, and the Congressional address is set for 7:30pm EST.
The unnamed official further said the White House wants to put on a “big show of bipartisan support for Zelensky” in hopes of shoring up political “momentum” for continued assistance to Kiev, which is also coming in the form of the enormous omnibus spending package which includes $45 billion in military, economic, and other foreign aid to Ukraine.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the Ukrainian president’s visit will be received with “strong, bipartisan support for Ukraine.”
She said “The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through the provision of economic, humanitarian, and military assistance.”
Zelensky in the meantime tweeted confirmation while en route…
Meanwhile, some initial reaction coming out of Moscow…
- PUTIN: INTERBALLISTIC MISSILES SARMAT WILL BE DEPLOYED FOR COMBAT DUTY IN NEAREST FUTURE
- RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER SHOIGU: WE ARE READY FOR TALKS
- RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER SHOIGU: JOINT FORCES OF WEST ARE FIGHTING RUSSIA IN UKRAINE
- WEST TRIES TO OVERLOOK NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL, INCLUDING OVER ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR POWER STATION
- WEST TRIES TO DRAG ON THE FIGHTING IN UKRAINE
- RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER SHOIGU: WE ARE FIGHTING TO SAVE PEOPLE IN UKRAINE FROM GENOCIDE AND TERROR
- MILITARY POTENTIAL OF UKRAINE IS BEING DESTROYED
It will be interesting to see whether Zelensky’s appearance before Congress is greeted with the same level of enthusiasm from all corners of the GOP.
The GOP wouldn’t fund a $5 Billion Border Wall but have happily sent $130 Billion to Ukraine over 9 months.
— Mostly Peaceful Memes (@MostlyPeacefull) December 20, 2022
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