Zelensky Makes Historic Visit To US

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a historic visit to Washington, D.C., marking his first visit out of his country since Russia invaded it in February. 

His trip drew immediate ire from the Kremlin.

Zelensky first met at the White House with President Joe Biden. Then he addressed Congress, taking an opportunity to thank the key Western ally for the country’s support, and ask for further assistance. 

Speaking to Congress, Zelensky said that the tens of billions of dollars of aid it had approved to help it fight a Russian invasion was not charity, but an investment in global security.

Zelensky told House of Representatives lawmakers that he hoped they would continue to support Ukraine on a bipartisan basis. 

U.S. support for Ukraine is expected to be a major political point next year as Republicans are due to take the majority in the House on Jan. 3.

“Your money is not charity,” Zelensky said, clad in the khaki fatigues that have been his public uniform throughout the 300 days of the conflict. “It is an investment in global security and democracy.”

Zelensky spoke to congress after meeting with President Biden at the White House. 

Not everyone was impressed with Zelensky’s visit. Russia responded by accusing the U.S. of a proxy war in Ukraine. 

The Kremlin said that nothing good would come from Zelensky’s trip to Washington and that Russia saw no chance of a peace talk with Kyiv. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that continued Western arms supplies to Ukraine would lead to a “deepening” of the conflict, something that could backfire on Kyiv, he warned.

The speech needed to resonate with Republicans in the House, who have lately voiced increasing skepticism about continuing to send so much aid to Ukraine.

Zelensky joined a long list of world leaders to address joint meetings of the Senate and House, a tradition that began in 1874 with a visit by Hawaiian King Kalakaua and included almost legendary wartime visits by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as well as kings, queens and one pope.

The United States government on Thursday imposed new sanctions on 10 Russian companies and research institutes that support the Russian Navy, including those that supply it with critical equipment like navigational systems, batteries, and other ship machinery.

The companies include Rigel, which manufactures batteries and has been a supplier to the Russian Navy for over 15 years, and Elektropribor, which makes navigation systems for Russian combat ships, the State Department said. Several others provide technology for Russian submarines.

Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, said in a statement that the sanctions were imposed “in the wake of Russian Naval operations against Ukrainian ports, including those that are providing much-needed food and grain to the world.”

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