Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is coming to the United States on Wednesday, December 21. It is Zelensky’s first trip out of his country since Russia’s invasion in February. While US President Joe Biden has firmly stated that America will not get directly involved in the war, Zelensky’s visit to Washington, DC, sends a powerful message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
America’s role in this aggression has been providing financial, humanitarian, and military assistance to Ukraine. President Biden has revived a formidable Western alliance that is keeping Russia at bay and essentially serving as a proxy in the Ukrainian conflict.
The timing of Zelensky’s arrival is significant as recent Russian missile attacks indicate Putin’s forces intend to weaponize Ukraine’s bitter winter by targeting gas and electrical infrastructures. It also echoes Winston Churchill’s arrival in Washington, DC, nearly 81 years ago, just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Churchill’s visit was the last piece in building an allied force that would prevail in World War II. Volodymyr Zelensky has compared Ukraine’s resistance against Russia to that of Britain fighting Nazi forces before the United States joined the war. Zelensky’s presence in Washington to meet President Biden parallels the historic meeting between Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.
The Ukrainian leader will arrive in Washington amid unprecedented security measures. He and President Biden are slated to meet in the Oval Office for lengthy talks, including Biden providing another $1.8 billion in assistance to Ukraine. This package includes the sophisticated Patriot missile system Zelensky has been requesting, along with precision bomb kits to upgrade munitions for better targeting Russia’s defensive lines.
After this meeting, the presidents will hold a news conference from the White House before Zelensky addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill. The legislative body is set to approve another $45 billion in assistance for Ukraine and NATO allies.
Zelensky is expected to receive a very warm welcome in the United States Capitol. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah commented, “He’s a national and global hero — I’m delighted to be able to hear from him.” Undoubtedly, many people share this sentiment.