War in Ukraine, day 657 | On visit to Washington, Zelensky says he received “positive” signals from Congress

(Washington) Joe Biden issued a grim warning on Tuesday in the presence of Volodymyr Zelensky, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “counting” on the fact that American aid to Ukraine would stop.

“We must, we must prove to him that he is wrong,” insisted the American president during a joint press conference in Washington with his Ukrainian counterpart.

He harshly attacked the Republican elected officials who are currently blocking his request for an additional envelope of 61 billion dollars for Kyiv. During his meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office, Joe Biden had already estimated that cutting off the flow of American arms and financial aid would be giving Russia the “best Christmas present”.

“History will harshly judge those who turned their backs on the cause of freedom,” said the 81-year-old democrat, architect of Western support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Coming to Washington to seek assurance of renewed support, the Ukrainian president assured that he had received “positive” signals from the American Congress, where negotiations are nevertheless very difficult.

“Ukraine can win”

Volodymyr Zelensky, well aware that a failure of the United States would undermine the support of his country’s other allies, declared that it was “very important to send before the end of the year a very strong signal of unity to the aggressor”, from Ukraine, the United States, Europe and “the free world”.

Congress has committed more than $110 billion to supply Ukraine with military equipment and to support it economically, but has so far failed to agree on the extension requested by the White House, to keep the less until the presidential election in November 2024 in the United States.

Ukrainian troops “prove every day that Ukraine can win” against Russia, said Volodymyr Zelensky.

A way of responding to the doubts expressed after a disappointing counter-offensive by his army this summer, and raised in particular by the head of the American House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson, whose camp is increasingly skeptical about a new military aid to Kyiv.

“What the Biden administration seems to want is billions of additional dollars without adequate supervision, without any real victory strategy,” asserted the elected official after his interview with the Ukrainian head of state.

American elected officials theoretically only have until Friday – when the parliamentary recess begins – to reach an agreement on the new envelope of 61 billion dollars. The White House has warned it will “run out of money” by the end of the year if nothing is done.

Democrats are in favor of this extension.

The Republicans are, apart from a handful of elected officials from the radical right, not totally opposed to it. But they link their support to a long-standing domestic policy demand: a major tightening of U.S. immigration policy.

Joe Biden criticized them on Tuesday for holding aid to Ukraine “hostage” and addressed his conservative adversaries: “When Russia’s propagandists applaud you, perhaps it is time to think to what you do. »


The Kremlin estimated on Tuesday that any new American aid was doomed to a “fiasco”, while the Russian army claimed “significant” advances on part of the front.

A Russian missile attack also targeted Kyiv early Wednesday, injuring dozens of people, 15 of whom were hospitalized, the mayor of the Ukrainian capital said.

This is the second attack on Kyiv in the space of a week. Early Monday, eight Russian missiles flying toward the city were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses, according to Kyiv.

Russia, which has turned its economy towards the war effort, is pushing ever harder into eastern and southern Ukraine.

At the cost, according to American intelligence, of enormous losses: 315,000 Russian soldiers have been injured or killed since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, according to a document, declassified and transmitted to Congress, revealed on the occasion of the visit to Washington by the Ukrainian president.

Russia, which continues its daily strikes across Ukraine, is also suspected of being behind a “powerful” computer hack which paralyzed the first Ukrainian mobile operator Kyivstar, according to the Kyiv security services.

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