Zelensky: US support “is not charity” but “investment in freedom”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed this Wednesday, before the US Congress, that the money given by the United States to Ukraine “is not charity”, but “an investment in freedom” and “global security”.
Zelensky highlighted that “against all odds” Ukraine is still standing, after being received with a thunderous ovation by the congressmen present in the United States Capitol.
“Ukraine is alive and fighting”, he underlined.
“Russian tyranny no longer has any control over us,” the Kiev leader added in a 20-minute speech in English that closed the leader’s first trip abroad since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian head of state stressed that what is at stake in the conflict is greater than just the fate of his country, stressing that democracy around the world is being tested.
“This battle cannot be ignored, waiting for the ocean or anything else to provide protection,” he stressed, thanking the Americans for their support and international leadership in helping Ukraine.
Referring to the recent Patriot defense system, which the US will deliver to Kiev, Zelensky said he hoped it would help “stop Russian terror against cities” in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian President has also hinted that he will not relax the pressure to get more weapons and heavier equipment.
“We have artillery, yes,” he said, adding: “Will it be enough? Honestly, not really.”
He also said that “Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes,” referring to equipment that Washington has so far refused to provide.
As for financial aid, the Ukrainian official highlighted that this is very important: “Your money is not charity, it is an investment in freedom, in global security, which we manage in the most responsible way possible”.
At the time, Zelensky related the fight against Russia to the threat posed by Iran, a theme dear to the Republican camp that criticizes Democratic President Joe Biden for being too complacent with Tehran.
“The deadly drones [unmanned aerial devices] sent by Iran to Russia by the hundreds have become a threat to our strategic infrastructure. Two terrorist (states) met. And it’s only a matter of time before they attack your other allies,” he warned.
At the end of the speech, Zelensky addressed the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and US Vice President, Kamala Harris, who were chairing the session.
“When I was yesterday [Tuesday] in Bakhmut [a city in the Donetsk region devastated by fighting], our heroes gave me the flag, their flag. The flag of those who defend Ukraine, Europe and the world at the cost of their lives”, he underlined, before handing over to the two responsible the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow, covered with the signatures of the military.
In return, he received an American flag that had been raised from the top of the Capitol that same day to mark the visit.
The speech before Congress was the second stop on the visit to Washington, after Zelensky had met at the White House with Biden.
The visit of the Ukrainian leader takes place in the midst of negotiations in Congress on budgets for the 2023 fiscal year, which include an additional 45 billion dollars (42 billion euros) in assistance to Ukraine.
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