Ukraine President Zelensky Heads To White House To Strengthen Defense Against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is taking his first overseas trip since Russia initially invaded Ukraine to meet with President Joe Biden regarding further defense against Russian missile and drone attacks. 

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is taking his first overseas trip to the US since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 300 days ago. Zelensky will be meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House with the intention of acquiring further defenses and resilience strategies against Russia and their missile/drone attacks. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenky’s political adviser, recently spoke with Reuters regarding the visit and its intent to ideally strengthen Ukraine’s defense against Russia. 

Podolyak explained to the publication that the visit between the two nation’s leaders shows the “high degree of trust” between the two countries and will allot the opportunity for strategic planning for the defense needs of Kyiv in particular.

“This finally puts an end to the attempts by the Russian side to prove an allegedly growing cooling in our bilateral relations. This, of course, is not even close. The United States unequivocally supports Ukraine.” 

A senior US official also stated that Biden is gearing up to announce a $2 billion budget to assist in military assistance for Ukraine. This budget will include defenses such as a Patriot missile battery to help the nation go against barrages of Russian millisles. 

“Weapons, weapons, and more weapons. It is important to personally explain why we need certain types of weapons. In particular, armored vehicles, the latest missile defense systems, and long-range missiles,” Podolyak explained to Reuters

After his meeting with President Biden, Zelensky will engage in a news conference with Biden before going to Capitol Hill to discuss the session with the US Senate and House of Representatives. 

In an MSNBC interview, White House spokesman John Kirby explained that “diplomacy and defense capabilities would top the agenda” of these meetings.

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“Clearly we’re going to make sure that President Zelensky, when he leaves this country, knows that he’s leaving with the full support of the United States going forward.”

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Russia initially invaded Ukraine on February 24th with the intent of taking over the capitol, Kyiv, within days of the initial invasion. This plan was quickly thwarted by Ukrainian defense forces, redirecting Russia to advance their takeover along eastern and southern fronts. 

Although Putin has claimed to consider Ukrainians to be a “brotherly” people, Russian forces have killed tens of thousands of citizens in their invasion attempts, forcing millions of other Ukrainians to flee the nation. 

Biden and Zelensky have been corresponding for the past 10 months, but this meeting will mark the first time the two have been able to meet in person since the war initially started. So far, the Biden Administration has provided around $20 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, according to Reuters data. 

“We will turn it over to the Congress and to the U.S. president from the guys. We are grateful for the support. But it’s not enough,”  Zelenskiy said in a video press conference. The US Senate has advanced a government-funded bill that included $44.9 billion in emergency assistance funds for Ukraine and NATO allies.