Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an impassioned plea for continued U.S. military support in a speech in Washington on Monday, warning that failure to help his country repel the Russian invasion would undermine the Kremlin’s “dreams” of destroying democracy fulfilled in Europe.
Addressing an audience of U.S. officers at the National Defense University, Zelensky said Ukraine was fighting not only for its own existence, but also to defend the freedoms that opened up across Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Rebuking Republicans in Congress who have opposed U.S. funding of Ukraine’s war effort, Zelensky said politicians should “not betray the soldier” – and he said Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes the drying up of U.S. aid.
“If there is anyone who is inspired by unresolved problems on Capitol Hill, it is only Putin and his sick clique,” he said. “They see their dreams come true when they see delays.”
“You can count on Ukraine and we hope just as much that we can count on you,” Zelensky said. “Putin has to lose.”
The Ukrainian leader, wearing his signature green army-style sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “I am Ukrainian,” flew to Washington this weekend after a round of diplomacy in Argentina.
He was scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden and congressional leaders from both parties on Tuesday, including Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the visit came at a “critical time” and that Biden would make clear he was “firm” in his attempt to get Ukraine the aid it needs The Russian Armed Forces need support to resupply their troops and expand their efforts.
Zelensky will also meet with the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as he tries to shore up his embattled country’s economy amid all-out war.
– Republicans are mad at Ukraine –
During the bloody conflict that destroyed swathes of Ukraine and forced millions from their homes, Ukrainian armed forces relied heavily on a U.S.-led coalition of countries that provided double-digit supplies of ammunition, weapons, and economic and social aid delivered billions.
Now the flow of U.S. aid – described by Biden as part of an existential battle between the democratic world and Putin’s aggressive autocracy – is on the verge of drying up.
Republican senators last week blocked a White House request for $106 billion in emergency aid, mostly for Ukraine and Israel.
Conservatives said they would reject the package for close foreign allies unless Democrats and the White House also agreed to sweeping immigration reforms aimed at security at the politically sensitive U.S.-Mexico border.
More broadly, the Republican right, led by 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump, has dramatically angered the Ukraine cause.
“What is in America’s best interest is to accept that Ukraine has to cede some territory to the Russians and we have to end the war,” Senator JD Vance, a close Trump ally, said on Sunday.
He dismissed as “absurd” White House warnings that a Russian victory in Ukraine would endanger other Eastern European countries, including NATO members.
There should not be a “blank check” for Ukraine, said Vance. “You have to articulate what the goal is. What will $61 billion accomplish that $100 billion didn’t?”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Source : www.ndtv.com