During a joint press conference with Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House, President Biden announced that he has approved an additional $200 million in weaponry for Ukraine.
“For Ukraine to stand strong and free is an enormous victory already,” Biden stated. “Putin has failed—failed in his effort to subjugate Ukraine. The brave people of Ukraine have defied Putin’s will at every turn, backed by the strong and unwavering support of the United States and our allies.”
He added that Ukraine “will emerge from this war proud, free and firmly rooted in the West unless we walk away.”
Earlier in the day, Zelensky held a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill with Senators and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), and on Monday the Ukrainian President spoke with Pentagon and private-sector military leaders, asserting that continued support for his country’s military efforts would lead to new jobs in the U.S.
Zelensky’s third visit to Washington since Russia invaded his country in February 2022 came amid growing reluctance within Republican ranks about continuing to support Ukraine.
Speaker Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have insisted that GOP support for more funding to Ukraine be contingent on tightening U.S.-Mexico border security and immigration laws.
During a speech last week urging Congress to pass his requested $106 billion in supplemental defense spending, Biden stated that he supports “real solutions at the border” and that he’s “willing to do significantly more.”
During Tuesday’s press conference Biden said the $200 million he approved will go to “critically needed equipment, additional air defense interceptors, artillery and ammunition.”
“But,” Biden stressed, “without supplemental funding, we are rapidly coming to the end of our ability to help Ukraine respond to the urgent operational demands that it has.”
During Tuesday’s joint press conference, Zelensky was asked if he heard what he wanted from members of Congress.
He replied, that he’d “heard a lot” and that “surely I told [Congress] what I wanted to,” but he added that he got the signal that Ukraine will have to “count on particular results.”
In fact, earlier in the day following his meeting with Zelensky, Speaker Johnson said, “We need clear articulation of the strategy to allow Ukraine to win. Thus far, their responses have been insufficient.”
At the joint press conference, Zelensky asserted that Ukrainian forces have “destroyed” 20,000 of Russia’s Wagner military forces as well as significant victories in the Black Sea.
He further stated that Ukraine has clear objectives for 2024, but he was unable to go into detail for strategic reasons.
Ukraine is fighting “for our freedom and yours,” Zelensky stated, adding, “This motive resonates not only in our country, not only in our hearts, not only in Ukraine, but also in Poland and the Baltic states, Moldova and others. When freedom is strong in one country, it is strong everywhere.”
Biden further asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine. We must, we must, we must prove him wrong. History will judge harshly those who turned their back on freedom’s cause.”