'Aid to Ukraine is investment in global security': Zelenskyy rallies US Congress for support

'Aid to Ukraine is investment in global security': Zelenskyy rallies US Congress for support
Address by Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a joint meeting of the US Congress. Credit: Ukrainian Presidential press service

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Washington DC on Wednesday for a historic meeting with US President Joe Biden. In a stirring speech delivered to a full US congress, he underlined that any military aid to Ukraine was not charity but "an investment in democracy and global security."

On his first foreign visit since Russia invaded, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's visit to Washington shows how much Kyiv has valued as well as relied on US support throughout the invasion, and also how much it is still needed in 2023.

"Your money is not charity," Zelenskyy said as he thanked US lawmakers for large financial packages that Ukraine had already received. It's an investment in global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way... You can speed up our victory," he stressed.

"Against all odds, and doom and gloom, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking," he told US policymakers.

More weapons needed

His speech contained both notes of defiance against Moscow and gratitude towards Washington. But it was an opportunity to make the case to Congress for further aid, but also to the American public, framing the war as a fight for freedom.

During his speech, Zelenskyy opted for a military outfit rather than a suit and was lauded to loud applause by US congress. As his speech continued, his audience warmed to him even more.

His plea came as some Republican lawmakers are sceptical of sending aid to Ukraine. Republicans are set to take control of the House in the New Year and earlier this year, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said there won't be any "blank cheques" for Ukraine while Republicans are in control of one of the legislative chambers, albeit with a slim majority.

Nevertheless, Zelenskyy pleaded for advanced weapons that he said were necessary and which Western allies so far have hesitated to provide. Ukrainian soldiers can manage American tanks and planes, Zelenskyy insisted.

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"For the Russian army to completely pull out, more cannon and shells are needed," he said.

The US provide the largest amount of military aid to Ukraine. Earlier on Wednesday, Zelenskyy thanked US President Joe Biden for the $45bn in economic and military aid that Congress is set to approve. In comparison, EU institutions and Member States have pledged to donate €51 billion in financial aid – but have provided less military support in comparison.

His speech came as Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that Russia will keep fighting.

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