President Zelenskyy will travel to Washington today on a high-stakes mission to rally support for Ukraine

President Zelenskyy
President Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to visit Washington on Wednesday, his first known trip outside the country since the conflict began in February.

A senior administration official said Tuesday that US President Joe Biden will host Zelenskyy at the White House for an “extended” meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Following the meeting, there will be a press conference. Zelenskyy is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress and participate in several bilateral meetings.

According to a senior administration official, Biden will also announce a package of nearly $2 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, which will include a Patriot missile system. Russia has warned the United States not to send the missile defence system to Ukraine.

Zelenskyy tweeted earlier Wednesday that the meeting would focus on strengthening Ukraine’s “resilience and defence capabilities” of Ukraine. The president’s visit to the United States comes just hours after a surprise visit to the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. He met soldiers defending the city from Russian forces, who had been attempting to take it for months.

President Zelenskyy; image from Vermont Public

“Bakhmut Fortress,” Zelenskyy said, praising the bravery and fortitude of troops and civilians in Donetsk. Our employees.

The enemy has not been defeated. Who, through their bravery, demonstrate that we will endure and will not give up what is ours. Ukraine is highly proud of you. I am very proud of you! Thank you for your bravery, resilience, and strength in repelling enemy attacks.”

Following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s announcement of a visit to Washington on Wednesday, the Kremlin stated that it sees no chance of peace talks with Ukraine.

In a conference call with reporters, Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said that continued Western arms supplies to Ukraine would lead to a “deepening” of the conflict.

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