A full week to plead the cause of his country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the United States on Monday to attend the UN General Assembly and then meet with his US counterpart Joe Biden in Washington. "Olena Zelenska and I have arrived in the United States," the Ukrainian president announced on X (ex-Twitter), referring to his wife, for meetings at the UN in New York before traveling to Washington.
The Ukrainian president is expected in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly and meet with world leaders. Zelensky will then be received Thursday at the White House for new discussions on supporting Kiev against the Russian invasion. He will also meet Lula, with whom relations are strained, especially after their missed appointment at the G7 summit in May.
Olena @ZelenskaUA and I arrived in the United States for the high-level week of the UN General Assembly and a visit to Washington, D.C.I
will attend the General Assembly, SDG Summit, and Security Council meetings at the UN, as well as a number of important bilateral talks....
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 18, 2023
Zelensky's visit comes as Ukraine seeks to make progress in its counteroffensive against Russian forces. "It comes at a critical time, as Russia desperately seeks help from countries like North Korea to wage its brutal war in Ukraine," U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday.
He also said he expected the United States and its allies to announce in parallel new military aid to Ukraine "in the course of next week". The Contact Group for Ukraine, which is responsible for coordinating aid to Kiev, is due to meet in Ramstein, Germany, next week.
New aid debated in Congress
President Zelensky's visit to Washington also comes at a time when the US Congress is debating a new $24 billion package in military aid for Kiev. Volodymyr Zelensky should also go to the Capitol to meet with the Republican and Democratic leadership, said Mr. Sullivan.
Elected officials have been negotiating for several weeks this new aid and negotiations are particularly difficult in the House of Representatives, in the hands of Republicans, where some conservative parliamentarians refuse to release more funds. This position makes jump the Republican tenors in the Senate, who have mobilized with the Democrats over the past year to release Congress more than 110 billion in aid (military, economic, humanitarian ...) to Kiev.
The White House said it expects both parties in Congress to continue to support Ukraine. "Frankly, both Republicans and Democrats recognize that the United States cannot, in its own interest, let alone its moral obligations, let Ukraine down at this critical juncture," Sullivan said.
Volodymyr Zelensky had already made a surprise visit to Washington in December 2022. After meeting with President Biden at the White House, the leader told Congress that Ukraine "will never surrender." Joe Biden visited Kiev a few months later – a historic trip – the first by an American president to a territory at war not controlled by the United States.
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The United States is leading an international coalition in support of Ukraine, and has released more than $43 billion in military aid to Kiev since the conflict began in February 2022.