Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon and will later address a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., in a gesture symbolizing U.S. support of Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Zelensky traveled to Washington as Congress contemplates sending roughly $45 billion more to Ukraine to support its military and economy as the war enters its 10th month. The trip to the nation’s capital is Zelensky’s first outside of his country since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
“It’s an honor to be by your side in the united defense against what is a brutal, brutal war that is being waged by Putin,” Biden said from the Oval Office, according to CNN. “The Ukrainian people continue to inspire the world.”
Zelensky offered thanks to Biden and the United States for its support against Russia.
“I understand that we have very important topics and we’ll discuss them, everything, so many challenges in Ukraine, in Europe, in the world, and from energy to the situation on the battlefield,” Zelensky said. “But first of all, really, all my appreciations from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians, all Ukrainians, from our nation.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement late Tuesday that the Ukrainian president’s trip will “underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine.”
“Three hundred days ago, Russia launched a brutal assault against Ukraine. In response, President Biden rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Jean-Pierre said.
“During the visit, President Biden will announce a significant new package of security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. 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,” she added.
In June, Biden pledged to continue supporting Ukraine “as long as it takes” to beat Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine,” Biden said.
Congress is currently considering giving Ukraine $45 billion in aid as part of a roughly 4,000-page spending package. If the additional funding is approved, the United States’ total aid to Ukraine will be more than $100 billion.