Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrapped up his visit to Washington Wednesday with an impassioned speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, saying Ukraine’s struggle “will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live.”
“Against all odds, and doom and gloom scenarios,” he said, “Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking.”
Zelenskyy, who spoke in English for the address, thanked the United States for its military equipment and its financial support.
“Your money is not charity,” he assured Congress. “It is an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
Earlier Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed Zelenskyy to the White House, his first known visit outside Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion of the country in February.
The American people “have stood proudly” with Ukrainians, Biden said.
“Democrats and Republicans together with our allies in Europe and Japan and other places, to make sure you have the financial, humanitarian and security assistance that is needed,” he added, noting that it has been 300 days since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.”
Zelenskyy extended to Biden his appreciation for the bipartisan support “from my heart, the hearts of Ukrainians, all Ukrainians.”
“Thanks, from our just ordinary people to your ordinary people, Americans,” he said.
Zelenskyy also gave Biden a Cross for Military Merit medal that belonged to a Ukrainian soldier, a captain of a High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) battery provided by the U.S. The soldier had asked Zelenskyy to give it to the “very brave president.” Accepting the medal, Biden said it was “undeserved, but much appreciated.”
As Zelenskyy touched down on U.S. soil, the U.S. Department of Defense announced $1.85 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine, which includes a Patriot air defense battery and munitions, additional ammunition for HIMARS, missiles, artillery and other munitions.
“This $1 billion drawdown will provide Ukraine with expanded air defense and precision-strike capabilities, as well as additional munitions and critical equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself on the battlefield,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Blinken said the United States is also announcing an additional $850 million of security assistance, bringing the total to an unprecedented $21.9 billion since the beginning of the administration.