Zelensky in US: Biden announces $1.85bn along with Patriot system

US President Biden praises Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky; Promises $45bn in emergency assistance to the nation

CHENNAI | Updated: 22 December, 2022 4:44 pm IST
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky with US President Joe Biden at White House

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky set out for the US for the first time amid war and escalating tensions to meet President Joe Biden on December 21 (Tuesday).

Ahead of his arrival, the US recently announced defence support worth about $1.85 billion to Ukraine, including Patriot surface-to-air missiles, the White House stated. In a gesture to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with besieged Ukraine, the Biden administration has sought the approval of the US Congress for allocating an additional $45 billion for emergency assistance to Ukraine.

President Zelensky appealed to Congress to approve the financial assistance of $45 billion on December 21. At the joint briefing at the White House, President Zelensky expressed gratitude to the US, saying, “Every dollar of this investment for the United States is going to be a strengthening of global security.”

President Biden announced long-term US commitments to Ukraine during a joint press briefing with Ukrainian President Zelensky at the White House on Thursday. President Biden also stated that the US will hold Russia accountable for its war crimes in Ukraine.

Expressing solidarity with the war-torn European nation, President Biden said, “The American people have been with you every step of the way, and we will stay with you. We will stay with you for as long as it takes.”

“Ukraine has won the battle of Kyiv, the battle of Kherson, and the battle of Kharkiv. Ukraine has defied Russia’s expectations at every single turn” President Bident asserted in the joint address.

“We also know that Putin has no intention of stopping this cruel war. And the United States is committed to ensuring that the brave Ukrainian people can continue to defend their country against Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” Biden remarked.

On the consequences of sending Patriot to war-ravaged Ukraine, President Biden replied, “It’s (Patriot) a defensive weapon system. It’s not escalatory. It’s defensive. And it’s easy to not – and we’d love to not – have to have them use it. Just stop the attacks.”

“It’s going to take some time to complete the necessary training, but the Patriot battery will be another critical asset for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression,” President Biden said in the joint briefing with visiting President Zelensky.

President Biden, while speaking to reporters in the presence of the Ukrainian leader, clarified that Democrats and Republicans were to extend “unequivocal and unbending support” for Ukraine.

Over 221,000 Ukrainians have taken shelter in the US since March 2022, following their conflict with Russia. USAID, the charity arm of the US, has allocated a budget of $374 million for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.

“This will help provide food and cash assistance for more than 1.5 million Ukrainian people, as well as access to healthcare, safe drinking water, and help them stay warm in the winter for more than 2.5 million Ukrainians,” Biden said.

On the possibility of peace talks with Russia, President Biden further said, “It can succeed on the battlefield with our help, and the help of our European allies and others, so that if and when President Zelensky is ready to talk with the Russians, he will be able to succeed as well because he will have won on the battlefield.”

“I don’t think we should underestimate the impact this war is having on Russia and the losses they’re suffering. And you saw just – I think it was two days ago – Putin saying that this is much tougher than he thought.”

“He thought he could break NATO. He thought he could break the West. He thought he could break the alliance. He thought he could be welcomed by the Ukrainians who were Russian-speaking. He was wrong, wrong, and wrong. He continues to be wrong,” President Biden asserted.

Appreciating President Zelensky’s defiance stance and defensive moves, President Biden said, “He’s (Zelensky) willing to give his life for his country, and all the folks who are with him — came with him today.”

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