Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden and address a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday in a gesture symbolizing the United States’ support of Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Zelensky travels to Washington as Congress contemplates sending roughly $45 billion more to Ukraine to support its military and economy as the war enters its 10th month. The trip to the nation’s capital is Zelensky’s first outside of his country since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement late Tuesday that the Ukrainian president’s trip will “underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine.”
“Three hundred days ago, Russia launched a brutal assault against Ukraine. In response, President Biden rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Jean-Pierre said.
“During the visit, President Biden will announce a significant new package of security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through the provision of economic, humanitarian, and military assistance,” she added.
Zelensky is expected to meet with Biden and U.S. national security leaders before holding a press conference at the White House. Afterward, the Ukrainian president will then deliver a speech in front of a joint session of Congress.
During his meeting with Zelensky, Biden will not be “pushing or prodding or poking Zelensky in any way” about working for a solution to the war in Ukraine, a Biden administration official told The New York Times. The official also said that Biden is committed to not getting the United States involved in an active war with Russia.
In June, Biden pledged to continue supporting Ukraine “as long as it takes” to beat Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine,” Biden said.
Congress is currently considering giving Ukraine $45 billion in aid as part of a roughly 4,000-page spending package. If the additional funding is approved, the United States’ total aid to Ukraine will be more than $100 billion.