During his trip to the United States on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with some members of Congress, to whom he appealed to send more weapons and military aid to fight the war against Russia. After visiting the headquarters of the Department of Defense and laying a wreath at the memorial of the attacks of September 11, 2001 together with his wife Olena, Zelensky went to the White House, where he was welcomed by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill . The goal of the visit is to ensure that, more than a year and a half after the war began, the United States continues to support Ukraine militarily.
This is Zelensky’s second visit to the United States since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022, and takes place at a rather critical moment for his country. Both President Biden and much of Congress continue to support the need to send aid to Ukraine, but some have begun to express doubts. Meanwhile, Russian bombing continues in the country.
On Wednesday, Zelensky attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York for the first time in person. In a short speech he had accused Russia of «criminal and unjustified aggression» and of wanting to use «the price of food and nuclear power plants as weapons». “If we don’t receive your aid we will lose the war,” he added during Thursday’s meeting with about fifty senators, according to what was reported by the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer.
In a press conference before Zelensky’s visit to the White House, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made it known that Biden intends to announce a new package of aid for Ukraine which would also include “important air defense systems”. Biden is expected to announce this at the conclusion of Zelensky’s visit.
In recent times, Ukraine has been trying to increase military pressure on Crimea, which is a strategic area for Russia and also has great symbolic value, but it seems that its long-awaited counteroffensive is moving rather slowly. In recent days the Ukrainian government has removed the Minister of Defense and six deputy ministers, probably in relation to corruption cases involving some Ukrainian public administrations. In addition, he sued Hungary, Slovakia and Poland because they continue to ban wheat imports from the country, and in contrast, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that Poland will stop supplying weapons to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, after Zelensky’s speech at the United Nations, Russia launched the biggest one attack in recent weeks against five Ukrainian cities, including Kharkiv, Lviv and the capital Kiev. Various infrastructures were damaged in the attacks and at least 18 people were injured. The national energy company, Ukrenergo, said the attacks caused blackouts, damage and widespread interruptions to electricity service in both the central and western parts of the country. Provoking an energy crisis in Ukraine in view of the winter had also been a Russian strategy in the final months of 2022.
– Read also: Poland will no longer supply weapons to Ukraine