Zelenskyy Meets With the Pentagon, Appeals To US Congress
Ukraine's President Petitions For More Aid
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the guest of the Pentagon on Thursday as part of his trip to the United States, marking his first visit to the U.S. military headquarters in Arlington, VA.
Zelenskyy met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, and other senior military leaders, according to a spokesperson for the National Security Council. A readout of the meeting was published by the Defense Department on September 21.
This meeting came ahead of expected discussions on sending additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine's fight against the ongoing Russian invasion.
On September 21, the Biden administration released a statement annoucning additional security assistance for Ukraine, the Department of Defense published.
During his visit to the Pentagon, Zelenskyy was accompanied by Ukraine's new Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, as per a person familiar with the visit. In addition to meeting with military officials, the Ukrainian president will also meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill before heading to the White House for a meeting with President Joe Biden. This will be the third meeting between the two leaders at the White House.
The main focus of Zelenskyy's discussions during his time on Capitol Hill will be Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia. The Biden administration is contemplating sending Ukraine long-range missiles, specifically the Army Tactical Missile System, which can reach up to 190 miles. However, a final decision has not yet been made.
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, highlighted the significance of Zelenskyy's visit, stating, "We think it's really important that he's the best messenger for the people of Ukraine and his armed forces." The visit to the U.S. comes in anticipation of a political fight over providing additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion.
President Biden has requested Congress to provide up to $24 billion in additional support, but some Republicans have expressed opposition to such funding. Zelensky has likewise lobbied Congress for more support.
President Zelenskyy's trip to the United States follows President Biden's address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, where he made a passionate plea for continued support for Ukraine. Biden emphasized the importance of upholding the core principles of the United States and ensuring the independence and security of nations.
The Ukrainian president's visit to Washington provides an opportunity for further discussions on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the need for international support.
As President Zelenskyy engages in high-level meetings with U.S. officials, the world will be closely watching to see the outcomes of discussions and the potential for increased military aid. The critical situation in Ukraine necessitates international cooperation and support to address the ongoing aggression from Russia.