Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will travel to Washington next Thursday to meet with President Joe Biden, according to several reports.
The meeting, which has not been previously disclosed and has not been officially announced, will follow Zelensky’s planned appearance at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday in New York. While it’s unclear exactly what will happen at next week’s meeting, the news comes as the Biden administration considered sending long-range army tactical missile systems to Ukraine, The New York Times reported.
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict began in February 2022 when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the Ukrainian capital, kyiv, in what he called “special military operation“, which he claimed was intended to force the “Nazis” to liberate ethnic Russians in the region.
The war at the start shocked the world. However, 19 months after the start of the war, a CNN poll released in August, found that a majority of Americans did not support sending additional aid to Ukraine from the United States: according to the poll, 55% of Americans said Congress should not authorize additional funding.
The White House continues to strongly support Ukraine. During a visit to Ukraine earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that the United States would continue to support Ukraine in the war.
“We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in its counter-offensive, but also what it needs in the long term, to ensure that it has a strong deterrent force” , Blinken said.
This will be Zelensky’s second visit to the United States since Putin waged war against Ukraine.
Zelensky visited the United States in December last year. At the time, Zelensky told Congress that his country had faced Russian attacks and asked for more support.
“Against all odds and all pessimistic scenarios, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and well,” Zelensky said at the time in an address.
Biden and Zelensky also met in July this year the NATO summit in Lithuania. At a joint press conference with Zelensky before that meeting, Biden said Ukraine would eventually become a NATO member.
“I hope we have finally put aside the question of whether Ukraine is welcome in NATO or not. It’s going to happen,” Biden said at the time. “We are moving forward – you are all moving in the right direction. I think it’s just about getting through the next few months here.
The same month, in a interview with CNNBiden said Ukraine would only be ready to join NATO after its war with Russia ended.