Zelensky Tells Biden “We Are Winning, But Keep The Dollars Flowing”.

Photo credit: EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO. President Biden meets his Ukrainian counterpart in Washington.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky worked to shore up US support for his country on a quick visit to Washington on Thursday, delivering an upbeat message on the war’s progress while facing new questions about how he is spending the flow of American dollars that for 19 months have helped keep his troops in the fight against Russian forces.

The Ukrainian leader received a far quieter reception than the hero’s welcome he was given last year from Congress, but also won generally favorable comments on the next round of US aid he says he needs to stave off defeat.

Zelensky, in long-sleeve olive drab, came to the Capitol with a firm message in private talks with Republican and Democratic leaders. The Ukrainians have a solid war plan, and “they are winning,” lawmakers quoted him as assuring them, at a time that the world is watching Western support for Kyiv.

US President Joe Biden gave Zelensky a red-carpet arrival on the White House South lawn and more ceremony than world leaders normally receive, and made clear his concern with Congress.

Intensifying opposition to continued Ukraine funding from a faction of congressional Republicans largely aligned with the party’s presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is threatening what had been easier congressional approval for four previous rounds of funding for Ukraine, delivering $113 billion. Any momentum toward opposing US aid for Ukraine also potentially risks public backing for the war effort.

Asked about the funding issue after meeting with Zelensky, Biden answered: “I’m counting on the good judgment of the United States Congress. There’s no alternative.”

It was Zelensky’s second visit to Washington since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and came as Biden’s request to Congress for an additional $24 billion for Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs is hanging in the balance. Resistance to the latest request could lead to delays or reductions.

The administration did announce another $325 million Thursday in what’s known as presidential drawdown assistance for Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the package would include additional air defense, artillery ammunition, cluster munitions and other arms.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who faces opposition to the Ukrainian funding package from the Republicans aligned with Trump, notably chose not to join House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat, in greeting Zelensky when he arrived.

And Republican McCarthy also confirmed that he declined Zelensky’s request for a joint session of Congress, as happened during the Ukrainian president’s dramatic visit to Washington last winter, saying there wasn’t time for that on short notice.

But McCarthy praised the answers that Ukrainians delivered to lawmakers Thursday.

“It was direct, I thought it was honest, they were answering the questions,” McCarthy said. “I heard a lot of positive things.”

Lawmakers who attended the private meeting described questioning Zelensky on the way forward for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, as the fight to roll back invading Russian forces moves closer to the two-year mark without major breakthroughs in Russia’s heavily mined lines.

Zelensky “conceded that it’s tough, very tough to overcome entrenched defenses,” Independent Senator Angus King said. “They believe they will make slow but steady progress, but it’s not going to be quick.”

Source: Times of Israel.
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