Pentagon reaffirms commitment to Ukraine during Zelensky visit

September 21, 2023

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder on Thursday said a new aid package for Ukraine was set to be announced later in the day, following a meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The Pentagon was Zelensky’s second stop during a day-long visit to Washington. Earlier in the day he visited bipartisan Congressional leadership on Capitol Hill amid reluctance from some Republican lawmakers to continue to aid Ukraine’s 19-month-long war against Russia. Zelensky is next set to hold his sixth face-to-face meeting with President Biden, who has requested an additional $24 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

After his meeting with Congress, Zelensky wrote on social media,”Ukraine is sincerely grateful to the House, both parties, and the entire American people for all the support.”

Zelensky’s Pentagon visit came the same day that one of Ukraine’s closest allies—Poland—announced it would stop sending weapons to Kyiv, following months of tensions over a temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports to a number of European Union countries and an increasingly confrontational behavior towards Kyiv from officials in Warsaw.

Secretary Austin during his meeting with Zelensky reaffirmed the U.S. desire to help Ukraine in “deterring Russian aggression” now and in the future, according to Ryder, who said Austin described their meeting as “very engaging” and a “great conversation.”

Zelensky also took part in wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial.

PHOTO: Zelensky at Pentagon alongside Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin

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