US President Joe Biden welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. The leaders entered the Oval Office at 3:40 pm local time (7:40 pm GMT) after a few minutes’ walk from the Palm Tree Room.
Biden told Ukrainians he would “make sure the world stands with you” against Russian aggression, to which he praised: “The Ukrainian people greatly appreciate the help America has given to fight Russian terrorism.”
“Today I am in Washington to strengthen our alliance in protecting Ukrainian children, families, our homes, and freedom and democracy in the world.. “I began my day by thanking its members in the United States Congress and the American people for their outstanding and tremendous support,” Zelensky said before his meeting with Biden.
The meeting comes amid discussions in Washington over the possibility of sending long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. Kyiv has been doing it for months. White House Press Secretary John Kirby said at a press conference on Wednesday that no final decision has been made on the matter.
The issue of ATACMS missiles was raised by Biden during a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July. At that time, the US administration focused more on providing artillery, which is widely used in the current conflict. Ukraine has reiterated that the ATACMS missiles. With a range of about 300 kilometers, they are particularly effective against Russian ballistic missiles in Crimea..
The White House has warned against sending such weapons to Ukraine. One concern is that ATACMS missiles have the potential to hit targets in Russia, which could trigger a military response from Moscow. On the other hand, France and the United Kingdom have already decided to send long-range missiles to Ukraine; France will deploy SCALP missiles and the United Kingdom will deploy Storm Shadow missiles.
The meeting between Biden and Zelensky coincided with debates on ratification in the US Congress An additional $24 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. Some Republican lawmakers have questioned the effectiveness of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and offered to continue aid.
Kirby says Zelensky plans to meet with members of Congress from both parties during his visit to Washington to address these concerns. In addition to the meeting at the White House, Zelensky will visit the Pentagon. There, the Ukrainian leader will meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and other senior military leaders.
Zelensky’s visit to the US follows his participation in the United Nations General Assembly High Level Week in New York. This global forum brings together leaders from around the world to discuss pressing issues and deliver speeches to their international colleagues.
The bilateral meeting between the US and Ukraine joins a series of diplomatic events seeking to resolve the situation in Ukraine, which continues to face armed conflicts and tensions with Russia. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress and other international actors are closely watching how the negotiations develop and what kind of aid might eventually be offered to Ukraine.
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