Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s trip to Washington has been a reflection of the diminishing support for his Regime both in the UN and the World in general, and in the United States in particular.
The trip started on the wrong foot on the very first day when, when the New York Times published an investigation showing that Ukraine’s was most probably guilt in the attack on civilians in the market in Kostantinovka.
And then the blows came in sequence, as the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, declined to support the $24 billion in aid to Kiev requested by the White House.
Instead, Ukraine received military aid in the grand total of $325 million.
Zelensky, to his credit, was careful to react in an appreciative manner, and whatever frustration he might have felt was only perceptible in his demeanor and body language.
Zelensky was also denied the chance to address a Joint Session of Congress, and his speech on the General Assembly of the United Nations shockingly drew a sub-par attendance, so much so that Ukrainian TV edited his speech with shots of the audience from other moments, and unfortunately they chose some images that show Zelensky listening to Zelensky’s own speech.
That is probably the best metaphor of his trip.
But, of course, U.S. President Joe Biden – the ‘self-propelled grandpa’ – assured Zelensky that strong U.S. support for his war effort will be maintained despite opposition from many Republican lawmakers.
Both leaders held a ‘war council’ in the White House East Room, as part of a series of Zelensky appearances to shore up U.S. support for a war.
“‘Mr. President, we’re with you, we’re staying with you’, Biden told Zelensky before reaching across the table and shaking his hand after two hours of talks.”
Zelensky thanked Biden for the aid package of weaponry and air defenses, saying ‘it has exactly what our soldiers need now’.
Biden’s request for $24 million in more Ukraine funding through the end of the year is stuck in the budget fight in the House of Representatives.
“Biden said the first American Abrams tanks will be delivered to Ukraine next week.
‘Just as we’re committed to helping Ukraine defend itself now, we’re also committed to helping them recover and rebuild in the future, including supporting reforms that will combat corruption’, Biden said.”
There’s no denying Zelensky faced a ‘much tougher crowd’ than when he visited Washington last December.
“Zelensky held discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other senior Pentagon leaders. He visited the Pentagon’s memorial of the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks where he and his wife each placed a bouquet of sunflowers, irises and other flowers.”
Zelensky also briefed the full U.S. Senate in what he later described his meetings with lawmakers as frank and constructive.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer summed up the most important part of the briefing, as reported on The Hill:
“There was a single sentence that summed it all up, and I’m quoting him verbatim. Mr. Zelensky said ‘If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.’ That’s a quote from him.”
The Ukrainian president stated that he had a ‘very strong dialogue’ with senators, and updated them ‘on the situation on the battlefield, Kiev’s military plans and the importance of U.S. support’.
“When asked if he had a message for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zelensky simply responded, “I am not speaking to him.”