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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his first visit to Washington since the war began to thank the US for sending military support to his country.


Zelensky will address Congress on Wednesday.

AFP via Getty Images

Zelensky praised Ukrainian troops for holding off invading Russian forces, but warned that the war could reach a turning point next year as Ukraine tries to defeat Russia.

The Ukrainian president said his military needs more cannons and shells in order to push back Russian forces rather than just preventing further advances. Zelensky said that it wasn't really true.

Zelensky asked the U.S. to help stop Russia from using Iranian-supplied drones and to send advanced missile systems to Ukraine.

The United States doesn't expect to deploy its own forces to fight Russia, butUkrainians can operate U.S.-made aircraft and tanks themselves.

Zelensky compared the recent struggles of the Ukrainians to the battles of the Revolutionary War and World War II.

Zelensky gave Congress a Ukrainian flag signed by service-members in the eastern Ukrainian frontline town of Bakhmut in exchange for a framed American flag at the end of his speech.

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Zelensky said that money is not charity. The investment is in global security and democracy.


Zelensky met with the president at the White House. Biden told reporters that he would back Ukraine as long as it took.

Key Background

Zelensky is in Washington, D.C., for his first known foreign trip since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Since the beginning of the war, the United States has supported the Ukrainian military with a wide range of weapons, from simple anti-tank and anti-air weapons to more sophisticated long-range rocket and air defense systems. Zelensky said that the U.S. aid helped stifle Russia's ambitions as the country pushed back against Russia's occupation of easternUkraine. Zelensky has been asking Biden and American lawmakers for more assistance, and some Ukrainian military officials warn that Russia could mount a second invasion of the country next year. Zelensky called for a cap on the price of Russian oil imposed by the U.S. and other western countries.

Big Number

$21 billion. According to the Department of Defense, the US has given security assistance to Ukraine since the war began. Zelensky said Wednesday that he will return home with good news after the Pentagon unveiled a $1.85 billion aid package.

What To Watch For

Congress is expected to approve another $44.9 billion in funding for Ukraine in the coming days. The bill includes $9 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, as well as humanitarian aid, assistance for refugees and funds to support the U.S.'s military presence in Europe.

Most congressional leaders have supported assisting the Ukrainian military, including top congressional Democrats and Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but a few of them are less enthusiastic. A group of House progressives signed a letter two months ago calling for talks with Russia after House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said in October that he wouldn't support giving Ukraine a "blank check."