Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the comedic actor turned Ukrainian leader, gave perhaps his most dramatic performance to date Wednesday, embarking on a whirlwind tour that culminated in an address to Congress in which he urged lawmakers to continue sending aid to his war-torn country.
“Your money is not charity,” he told his congressional audience, which included some Republicans wary of writing a “blank check” to Ukraine when the Republicans take control of the House in January. “It is an investment in global security and democracy that we handle responsibly.”
Nonetheless, Zelenksyy received bipartisan applause for his remarks, asserting that, while more assistance is required, no amount of Russian troops or missiles can break the will of his people: “Ukraine is alive and kicking.”
Zelenskyy, dressed in the green military garb of a wartime president, met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, who pledged unwavering and long-term support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia:
“You will never stand alone,” Biden said to Zelenskyy during an afternoon news conference in the White House’s crowded East Room.
Zelenskyy’s visit coincides with Biden and Congress reaffirming their commitment to Ukraine by sending billions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid, including nearly $2 billion for a strategically important Patriot Air Defense System.
The omnibus spending bill expected to pass this week includes another $44 billion in Ukraine aid.
Recent developments include:
Capitol Hill: The Ukrainian president met with congressional leaders before delivering an impassioned speech to a joint session in English. “Ukraine is alive and kicking,” he told lawmakers gathered in the House chamber, who applauded loudly several times during his speech, even when he asked for more assistance.
Biden tete-a-tete: Zelenskyy met with Biden for more than two hours behind closed doors. Both presidents held a press conference to reaffirm their commitment to the alliance. Zelenskyy will speak to a joint session of Congress this evening.
Assistance with air defence: Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the details of a $1.85 billion military package for Ukraine, including the transfer of the Patriot Air Defense System, the most advanced air weaponry provided by the Biden administration to Kyiv in its fight against Russia to date.
Billions in Ukraine aid: Congress is set to pass a spending bill this week that includes approximately $44 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Some Republicans have objected to what House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has described as a “blank check” to the US ally.
Zelenskyy presents Pelosi with the Ukraine flag as a “symbol of our victory.”
Before concluding his remarks, Zelenskyy turned around and handed Pelosi a Ukrainian flag signed by Ukrainian soldiers who requested that it be given to Congress.
“This flag represents our victory in this war,” Zelenskyy explained. “We will stand, fight, and win because we are one – Ukraine, America, and the entire free world.”
As Zelenskyy finished his remarks, Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris held the flag in solidarity.
In turn, Pelosi gave Zelenskyy a US flag that flew over the Capitol to commemorate his visit.
Zelenskky pokes fun at Putin.
Zelenskyy poked Putin with a word play, saying Ukraine is developing strong security guarantees for itself and the rest of the world.
“We’ll put in place everyone who will defy freedom, together with you: Put-in,” the former comedic actor told lawmakers.
Despite Russian brutality, Ukraine will celebrate Christmas, according to Zelenskyy.
Even if there is no electricity and Russia launches a holiday assault from Moscow, Zelenskyy believes Ukrainians will celebrate Christmas and “delight” in the holiday.
“If Russian missiles attack us, we will do everything we can to defend ourselves. Even if they attack us with Iranian drones and our people have to hide in bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians will still gather around the holy table to cheer each other up “Zelenskyy informed lawmakers. “And we don’t need to know what everyone’s wish is because we all — millions of Ukrainians — want the same thing: victory. Only triumph.”
‘Let’s do it,’ Zelenskky says to Congress, claiming victory is ‘in your hands.’
Zelenskyy told lawmakers that defeating Russia is “in your power,” and he asked for their continued financial support.
‘Your money is not charity,’ says Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyy has stated unequivocally that he has not asked Americans to fight alongside his military in Ukraine. He assured lawmakers that his troops are “perfectly capable of operating American tanks and planes themselves.”
He thanked the United States for its weapons and financial assistance, calling it critical.
Republicans express their support for Zelenskyy’s gratitude for assistance.
Though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has stated that Republicans will not write a “blank check” to Ukraine when they take control in January, he and other GOP leaders stood and applauded Uelenskyy when he thanked them for billions of dollars in aid that he claims has been used responsibly.
Zelenskyy believes it is only a matter of time before Russia attacks other allies.
If Russia is successful in Ukraine, Zelenskyy has warned that it will attack other US allies.
“It’s only a matter of time before they launch an attack on your other allies. We must stop them now if we can.”
Zelenskyy draws a parallel with World War II.
Zelenskyy likened the situation in Ukraine to the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during WWII.
As courageous Americans fought Hitler’s forces during Christmas 1944, so courageous Ukrainians “are doing the same to Putin’s forces this Christmas,” he said.
“They threw everything at us,” Zelenskyy explained. “Ukraine is holding its ground and will never surrender.”