Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits US on first trip abroad since Russian invasion: reports

highlights
  • The announced visit would be the first time the Ukrainian president has left the country since Russia invaded 10 months ago.
  • US Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi has asked members of the US Congress to attend a meeting, but has not explained why.
  • The United States has provided trillions of dollars to Ukraine since the war began.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy plans to visit Washington on Wednesday for a possible meeting with Joe Biden and a speech to Congress, US media reported – his first foreign trip since the Russian invasion in February.
The potential White House meeting could reportedly include an expected announcement from Mr. Biden about a new weapons package for Kyiv, including Patriot missiles.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of Congress in a letter Tuesday that they should be present the following evening.

“Please be present for a very special focus on democracy on Wednesday night,” she wrote without explanation.

Joe Biden is standing at a lectern on a lawn in front of the White House.

The potential meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Joe Biden could include an expected announcement by the US President about a new arms package for Kyiv, including Patriot missiles. Source: AAP, AP / Evan Vucci

Mister Zelenskyy who suffered without rest has spoken frequently to leaders and supporters around the world, .

His planned trip confirms that the United States has been the primary contributor to the war effort, having already provided an estimated US$50 billion (US$75 billion) in total aid, including about US$20 billion (US$30 billion) to security help.
On Tuesday, Mr. Zelenskyy visited where he described the war-torn city as a “fortress at the front”.
This unannounced trip came as the Kremlin announced that Vladimir Putin would meet senior military officials on Wednesday to weigh Russia’s all-out attack on Ukraine so far and set goals for the next year after a series of battlefield defeats.
“Here in Donbas you protect all Ukraine… You will do everything what you have done here in other cities of our country because they do not want anything Ukrainian to exist, I am sure,” Mr. Zelenskyy told his troops in Bakhmut .

“This is not just Bakhmut, this is Bakhmut Fortress,” he said, presenting awards to Ukrainian soldiers.

A man walking down a partially barricaded street.

A local resident walks on a street in the area of ​​the heaviest fighting in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Source: AAP, AP / Andriy Andriyenko

The brutal trench warfare and artillery fire surrounding Bakhmut – once known for its vineyards and cavernous salt mines – have leveled much of the city and surrounding area.

Mr Putin said this week that the situation in but not being able to control it militarily is “extremely difficult”.
In September, he announced the annexation of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine after Moscow proxies held referenda there in what Kyiv and the West branded a sham.
Russian troops have never fully controlled any of the areas, and in the past month they have after a month-long Ukrainian counter-offensive.

After a series of setbacks and lost territory this summer and fall, Moscow stepped up airstrikes on Ukraine’s power grid.

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