Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered his second address to the United States Congress on Wednesday evening, thanking President Joe Biden and lawmakers for a new round of aid as his country defends against Russian invaders.
Zelenskyy not only thanked the U.S. for the billions of dollars in aid that has been given to Ukraine so far, but stressed the need for Washington to continue to stand by Kyiv as Republicans take power in the House of Representatives next year. He compared Ukraine’s defense to the Battle of the Bulge and reiterated that Ukraine remains “alive and kicking.”
“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way,” Zelenskyy said. “Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking.”
Biden welcomed Zelenskyy to the White House earlier in the day, where the two leaders held a joint press conference and emphasized their shared commitment to fighting off Russian aggression. Zelenskyy’s speech was the second he’s given before Congress after virtually addressing the body earlier this year. Only Winston Churchill and Benjamin Netanyahu have addressed Congress more than the Ukrainian president.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday during Zelenskyy’s visit that the U.S. would be providing $1.85 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine, including the highly-sought Patriot Air Defense System, which will grant Ukraine the ability to shoot down Russian missiles at a much greater ceiling than previously. The total military aid provided to Ukraine by the U.S. has now surpassed a total of $21 billion. (RELATED: Intel Officials Find No Evidence Russia Blew Up Nord Stream Pipeline: REPORT)
Not everyone in Washington was welcoming toward Zelenskyy. A minority contingent of Republicans in Congress have opposed sending additional aid to Kyiv, arguing that the war is not the problem of the U.S. and that Zelenskyy’s government is marred by corruption. Some of those lawmakers opted not to attend the speech or refused to applaud Zelenskyy, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Josh Hawley, who has opposed aid to Ukraine, tells @morgan_rimmer he didn’t watch the Zelensky speech
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 22, 2022
A new tranche of assistance is expected to pass in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending bill despite the pocket of opposition. The legislation set to be voted on by Congress at the end of this week and sent to Biden’s desk includes $45 billion in new assistance for Ukraine.