Biden tells a grateful Zelensky that Ukrainians ‘encourage the world’ as leaders start historic assembly | CNN Politics

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky embarked Wednesday on a dramatic go to to america – his first journey outdoors his homeland because it was invaded 300 days in the past – to rally his prime worldwide companion behind sustained navy and financial help.

“It’s good to have you ever again,” President Joe Biden informed him within the Oval Workplace firstly of what had been anticipated to be prolonged talks concerning the path ahead in Ukraine. “It’s an honor to be by your facet within the united protection towards what’s a brutal, brutal struggle that’s being waged by Putin.”

“The Ukrainian individuals proceed to encourage the world,” Biden went on. “I imply that sincerely – not simply encourage us, however encourage the world with their braveness.”

The journey, which US and Ukrainian officers organized in secret over the previous week, got here with heavy dangers. After arriving in Poland by prepare, Zelensky flew to Washington aboard an American navy plane, US officers stated. He arrived within the US shortly after noon at Joint Base Andrews, simply outdoors the nation’s capital.

Zelensky arrived to the South Garden simply after 2 p.m. ET, eschewing a go well with for his now-familiar navy inexperienced shirt. A navy honor guard lined the White Home driveway as his black car pulled towards the constructing.

“I perceive that we’ve essential subjects and we’ll talk about them, the whole lot, so many challenges in Ukraine, in Europe, on the planet, from vitality to the scenario on the battlefield,” Zelensky stated within the Oval Workplace. “However to start with, actually, all my appreciations from my coronary heart, from the guts of Ukrainians, all Ukrainians, from our nation.”

Simply forward of Zelensky’s arrival, the Biden administration introduced it’s sending almost $2 billion in further safety help to Ukraine, together with a classy new air protection system. The 2 will convene a White Home information convention earlier than Zelensky addresses members of Congress on Capitol Hill in prime time.

The go to by the Ukrainian chief to Washington, anticipated to final solely a matter of hours, quantities to a outstanding second 10 months since Russia’s struggle in Ukraine started.

Pulled collectively rapidly by American and Ukrainian officers over the previous 10 days, the wartime go to was meant to display in stirring vogue the continued American dedication to Ukraine at a second when Biden’s capacity to keep up that assist at residence and overseas is being examined.

It would additionally present a possibility for Biden and prime American officers to sound out Zelensky on how he views the trajectory of the battle, and to supply their ideas on what it could take to deliver the struggle to an finish.

“Along with our companions, we’re additionally going to impose prices on the Kremlin and can assist Ukraine in pursuing a simply peace,” Biden stated within the Oval Workplace, a reference to how Zelensky has stated he hopes to see the struggle finish. “President Zelensky, the United States stands with the courageous individuals in Ukraine.”

Sitting earlier than a roaring fire, Zelensky supplied Biden a navy cross medal from a Ukrainian soldier serving on the entrance strains.

“He stated, ‘Give it to a really courageous president,’” Zelensky stated.

“Undeserved however a lot appreciated,” Biden replied as he accepted the medal, asking if it could be doable to contact the Ukrainian soldier.

Biden first mentioned the prospect of Zelensky visiting Washington throughout a phone name with the Ukrainian chief on December 11, an administration official stated. A proper invitation was prolonged per week in the past that Zelensky accepted, launching joint consultations on the safety parameters of the dangerous, extremely secretive journey.

Zelensky, who the official stated was “very eager” to go to the US, decided these parameters met his wants, and the US set to work executing them. The journey was lastly confirmed on Sunday.

“We’re working in lockstep with him and his employees to ensure we are able to make this journey safely, each coming to america and coming again. We’ll proceed to assist his journey necessities as greatest we are able to,” stated John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator on the Nationwide Safety Council.

Zelensky traveled to Poland by prepare as a part of his journey to america on Wednesday. Video by CNN affiliate TVN in Poland captured the second Zelensky arrived by prepare in Przemysl, close to the Polish/Ukrainian border. Zelensky was then seen in a white 4×4 car ready to depart in a convoy.

Tight safety has been enforced round Zelensky’s go to amid issues that Russia desires to incapacitate the Ukrainian president, a supply near the Ukrainian chief informed CNN on Wednesday. Due to this ongoing menace, senior prime authorities officers – in addition to embassy employees within the US – weren’t knowledgeable concerning the schedule of the go to.

In keeping with the supply, the navy danger needed to be calculated permitting the Ukrainian president to make the brief abroad journey with out jeopardizing the navy scenario. Scheduling additionally needed to be labored with the White Home to evaluate availability for this to occur.

In weighing a go to, Zelensky advised he didn’t wish to journey had there not been a major growth within the bilateral relationship between Ukraine and america. Zelensky considered the US resolution to ship Patriot missile protection techniques to Ukraine as a serious shift within the relationship between the 2 allies.

Over the course of the 10-month invasion, Zelensky has emerged because the worldwide personification of Ukrainian resistance and has spent a lot of the 12 months interesting to nations for assist. He has remained inside his nation in the course of the struggle, a mirrored image each of his need to rally alongside his besieged nation and the precarious safety scenario he would face outdoors Ukraine.

Because the struggle nears its one-year anniversary, nevertheless, worldwide assist for Ukraine is being examined. Sanctions on Moscow have contributed to greater vitality costs, notably in Europe, which is closely reliant on Russian oil and fuel. In america, Republicans who’re poised to take management of the Home of Representatives have signaled they received’t rapidly approve large new help packages for Ukraine.

On the battlefield, Ukraine has retaken key cities and proven unlikely resistance to an unprepared and ill-equipped Russian military. However Russian President Vladimir Putin has proven no indication he plans to ease up, and has been ruthless in concentrating on civilian vitality infrastructure, lending a level of distress to Ukraine’s chilly winter.

The timing appeared ripe for Zelensky to make a dramatic gesture like slipping out of Ukraine for the primary time because the invasion started. For Biden, the go to presents a possibility to strengthen his convictions for supporting Ukraine, even because the struggle plods on.

The brand new, $1.8 billion bundle Biden unveiled features a Patriot surface-to-air missile system, which has been a longstanding request of Ukraine’s to fend of Russian air assaults. CNN was first to report the US was anticipated to ship the Patriot techniques to Ukraine.

Not like smaller air protection techniques, Patriot missile batteries want a lot bigger crews, requiring dozens of personnel to correctly function them. The coaching for Patriot missile batteries usually takes a number of months, a course of america will now perform underneath the strain of near-daily aerial assaults from Russia.

A senior administration official stated US troops would prepare Ukrainians to make use of the system in a 3rd nation. CNN has beforehand reported the coaching would happen at a US Military base in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

The system is broadly thought-about one of the crucial succesful long-range weapons to defend airspace towards incoming ballistic and cruise missiles, in addition to some plane. Due to its long-range and high-altitude functionality, it could actually probably shoot down Russian missiles and plane removed from their supposed targets inside Ukraine.

Russia has warned on unspecific “penalties” if the US offered Ukraine with Patriot missiles, viewing the shipments as additional US engagement within the struggle. The official was clear, nevertheless, that Biden remained steadfast in preserving america out of direct battle with Russia, regardless of the improved safety help.

“The President has been very clear that we’re going to lean ahead and be sturdy in our assist for Ukraine on the navy, financial, vitality and humanitarian fronts, however we aren’t searching for to have interaction in a direct struggle with Russia. And nothing about that can change tomorrow,” the official stated.

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