Status: 22/09/2023, 05:52 a.m.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meeting with US President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House. © Evan Vucci/AP
The U.S. assures Zelensky of further support during his visit to Washington. Not all the demands of the Ukrainian will be met. After that, he will continue to Canada. The news at a glance.
Washington - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been promised further support in the defensive fight against Russia during his visit to the US capital Washington.
He then surprisingly traveled on to visit neighboring NATO country Canada, where a meeting with the head of government and a speech to parliament were also planned. According to a statement, the Ukrainian should arrive in the capital Ottawa during the night.
The U.S. is providing additional weapons and equipment worth a total of $325 million (€305 million) to the attacked country, the U.S. government announced. Since the beginning of the war, the United States' military aid to Ukraine amounts to $43.9 billion.
The new package includes, among other things, artillery ammunition and projectiles to defend against enemy air attacks. Internationally outlawed cluster munitions, such as those used by Russia in its war of aggression against Ukraine, are also included. According to the Pentagon, weapons and equipment worth 128 million dollars from US military stocks were newly approved. In addition, there are weapons and equipment worth 197 million US dollars, which had already been previously approved.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced during Zelensky's visit that the first M1 Abrams main battle tanks promised by the U.S. would be delivered next week. In January, the U.S. government pledged to supply Ukraine with 31 Abrams tanks.
Zelensky: "Exactly what our soldiers need now"
Speaking in Washington, Zelensky stressed his gratitude for US support during "all 575 days" of the war. The new military aid is "exactly what our soldiers need now," he said after meeting with Biden and various cabinet members in the White House. America is also helping to strengthen Ukraine's anti-aircraft defenses and prevent new attacks on its country.
However, Zelensky did not get everything he had hoped for. For the time being, Kyiv will have to do without the requested ATACMS missiles, which were supposed to help Ukrainian troops in their counteroffensive. The ATACMS have a range of up to 300 kilometers and are fired from the ground at targets on the ground - so they could have hit military and logistical targets in the rear of the front to disrupt the supply of Russian occupying forces, especially in the south.
Zelensky travels from the US to Canada
With this setback in his luggage, Zelensky then made his way to Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted to receive him there in the capital Ottawa, as his office announced on Thursday evening. "Canada continues to fully support the Ukrainian people in their struggle for their sovereignty and democracy, as well as our shared values such as respect for the rule of law, freedom and self-determination," Trudeau said. He said he was pleased to welcome Zelensky to Canada.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
According to media reports, it is Zelenskyy's first visit to Canada since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The G7 country says it has provided Ukraine with more than 8.9 billion Canadian dollars (6.2 billion euros) since the start of the war, about a fifth of which is military aid. Among other things, Leopard 2 tanks, air defense and artillery systems, armored vehicles and ammunition were delivered. In addition, tens of thousands of Ukrainian military and security forces have been trained by the Canadians. Since the Russian invasion, Canada has also taken in over 175,000 Ukrainians and imposed numerous sanctions on Russia.
Meeting with senators in Washington
After his participation in the UN general debate in New York this week, Zelensky had also used the stop in Washington to lobby parliamentarians for long-term support for his country by the United States. Since his visit in December 2022, the political situation in Washington has changed. The Republicans have been in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives since January, and there is considerable skepticism in their ranks as to whether the U.S. should continue to pump money on a large scale into a war with no end in sight.
That's why Zelensky also met congressmen this time. US Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the meeting that Zelenskyy had warned senators at the meeting of the dangers it would entail if no further funding was approved for Ukraine. His party colleague from the US House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, agreed with him. "It is important that we stand behind Ukraine until victory is achieved," said the top Democrat in the chamber.
Visit to the ally under changed circumstances
Shortly before Christmas, the Ukrainian president had already been a guest in Washington. At the time, he was received like a hero, speaking to the cheers of representatives and senators in front of both chambers of Congress and taking home a large military package worth 1.85 billion US dollars - including a powerful Patriot air defense system. This unconditional backing in Parliament no longer exists.
Although the majority of Republicans in Congress support support for Ukraine, right-wing hardliners in particular are rebelling against it. "The U.S. is squandering money that we don't have to pay for this war, while the EU and other leaders are absent from the world stage," said Republican Senator Roger Marshall.
Ukraine reports destruction of Russian command point
Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine continues. According to intelligence, the Ukrainian army destroyed a hidden command post of the Russian Armed Forces in the occupied city of Melitopol. The staff was housed in an engine factory and destroyed by a missile attack, Ukrainian media reported on Thursday, citing the SBU intelligence service.
Melitopol in the south of Ukraine serves the Russian occupation as the administrative capital for the Zaporizhzhia region, which has not been fully conquered. The Ukrainian side claimed to have injured the commander of Russia's 58th Army and his chief of staff in the attack. This claim could not be independently verified.
What is becoming important today
Zelensky is also likely to seek further financial and military support for his country in Canada. During his stay, which is scheduled to last until Friday, the Ukrainian is scheduled to give a speech to parliament, Trudeau's office announced. After that, the guest will travel from Kiev to Toronto, where he will meet with Canadian business leaders. Dpa