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10 Dec, 2023 20:16

Zelensky to meet Biden

The two leaders will discuss joint military projects, the Ukrainian president's office announced
Zelensky to meet Biden

Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky will pay a visit to the US on December 12, his office has announced. He is set to meet with his American counterpart Joe Biden who extended the invitation, according to the White House.

“Among the key topics at the talks in Washington will be the continuation of defense cooperation between Ukraine and the United States, in particular, joint projects for the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as coordination of efforts of the two states next year,” the announcement on Sunday said.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Zelensky’s visit in a statement, saying that the meeting is intended “to underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion.” The “urgent needs” of the country will be discussed “as Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes,” Washington said.

On Sunday, Zelensky visited Argentina to congratulate newly elected libertarian president Javier Milei on his inauguration. It marked the first time the Ukrainian has visited Latin America since the war with Russia began in 2022. He also used Milei’s inauguration as an opportunity to chat with another guest at the event, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who may be standing in the way of an EU aid package for Kiev.

Zelensky’s latest visit to Washington will come three months after he last met with Biden at the White House. During those talks, the US leader reiterated a vow to continue providing military and economic aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia “as long as it takes.”

However, Biden has struggled since then to secure congressional approval for a new $60 billion aid package that he has proposed for Ukraine. A growing number of Republican lawmakers have opposed additional aid for Kiev, citing concern that Washington is merely prolonging the fighting in Ukraine without having a clear strategy for bringing an end to the conflict.

Republicans in the US Senate voted on Wednesday to block a $110.5 billion spending bill that included aid for both Ukraine and Israel. On the day of the Senate vote, Zelensky was scheduled to address a closed-door meeting of senators, but he canceled his video appearance at the last minute.