Biden: Ukraine will never stand alone - Dispatch Weekly

December 22, 2022 - Reading time: 5 minutes

In a bold speech to US senators on his first overseas trip since Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that his country is “alive and kicking” and will never capitulate.

According to Mr. Zelensky, US military assistance to Ukraine was an investment in future security, not a charitable act.

His appeal comes amid indications that Republican lawmakers in Congress will scrutinise US support more closely.

President Joe Biden, though, promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

A new $2 billion (£1.7 billion) aid package and an additional $45 billion were offered by Mr. Biden.

At a joint press conference, Mr. Biden assured reporters that maintaining the unity of the international coalition was not a concern.

The US president said he felt “quite good” about the unity of support for Ukraine, amid worries that some allies may be feeling the pressure of the conflict’s cost and interruption to global food and energy supply.

The US, who is by far Ukraine’s most significant benefactor, has already pledged $50 billion (£41 billion) in humanitarian, financial, and security aid.

Zelensky expressed hope that Congress would approve an additional $45 billion in aid to Ukraine, which is currently before the US Senate, to “help us to protect our ideals and independence” while donning his signature combat-green sweatshirt and boots.

Republicans, who will control the House of Representatives in January, have issued a warning that they would not give Ukraine a “blank check.”

In actuality, Republican support for ongoing aid has been dwindling. Just over half of Republican voters backed aid to Ukraine in a study taken in November, down from 80% in March.

However, Mr. Zelensky, who flew from the Polish city of Rzeszow on a US Air Force flight, declared that “despite of changes in the Congress,” he thought there would be bipartisan support for his nation.

And in front of a joint session of Congress, Zelensky made an emotional appeal. Almost all of the politicians applauded during his address, with the exception of a few Republican lawmakers who did not.

Speaking to them in English, he assured them that his nation was still standing “despite all odds” and forecast that the fight will “turn” by the end of the current year.

Mr. Zelensky used the example of US soldiers fighting the Nazis in World War Two to highlight the cruelty of the conflict.

“The Russians’ tactic is primitive. They burn down and destroy everything they see. They sent convicts to the front lines, to the war. They threw everything against us, similar to the other tyranny, which in the Battle of the Bulge threw everything it had against the free world,” he said.

“Just like the brave American soldiers who held their lines and fought back Hitler’s forces during the Christmas of 1944, brave Ukrainian soldiers are doing the same to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s forces this Christmas. Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender.”

After delivering his remarks, Mr. Zelensky gave Congress a battle flag that had been signed by the defenders of Bakhmut, a frontline city in eastern Ukraine that he had visited the day before his journey to Washington.

A new Patriot missile system is part of the security assistance package that Washington unveiled on Wednesday, and it is anticipated will help Ukraine defend its cities from Russian missiles and drone attacks on vital infrastructure.

The delivery of the sophisticated surface-to-air missile system will be viewed as a provocative act, according to the Russian foreign ministry.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Putin asserted that he didn’t think his nation was responsible for the conflict in Ukraine and added that both nations were “sharing a tragedy.”

No demands for peace were heard during Mr. Zelensky’s visit to Washington, according to his spokesman.

“This indicates that the United States continues its line of de facto and indirectly fighting with Russia to the last Ukrainian,” Dmitry Peskov said.

The US military calculates that at least 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. Additionally, there have been an estimated 40,000 civilian fatalities.

Almost 8 million refugees from Ukraine have been registered by the UN in countries all around Europe, including Russia. The number excludes those who were compelled to leave their homes but are still in Ukraine.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.