Ukraine 'alive and kicking': President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells US Congress
Ukraine would "never surrender" to Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday told the US Congress as he asserted that the country is "alive and kicking." During his address, Zelenskyy also said that "against all odds, Ukraine did not fall" despite the Russian offensive. Previously, United States President Joe Biden stated that Kyiv would "never stand alone" against the "cruel war" foisted by Vladimir Putin.
Why does this story matter?
- Since February this year, Russia and Ukraine have been at war, triggering a global crisis. Russian army started an armed invasion of Ukraine due to a territorial dispute that primarily triggered a full-fledged war.
- As per the United Nations (UN) human rights office, at least 6,300 civilians have died so far in the Ukraine-Russia war.
US' $45 billion humanitarian, military aid for Ukraine
Zelenskyy's address to Congress comes at a time when US lawmakers are working to pass a government spending package of $1.7 trillion, which includes around $45 billion in humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine. The United States will also supply Ukraine with additional security assistance of $1.85 billion, including the Patriot missile defense system, to retaliate against the Kremlin offensive.
We defeated Russia: Ukraine President
"It is a great honor for me to be at the US Congress and speak to you and all Americans against all doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking," Zelenskyy has been quoted as saying by the news agency Reuters. "We defeated Russia in the battle for the minds of the world," he added.
Significance of Zelenskyy's speech
Zelenskyy delivered his speech in English and noted that Joe Biden supported a 10-point peace plan. With this, he joined a list of global leaders who addressed a joint meeting of the Senate and House. This tradition started in 1874 with the then Hawaiian King Kalakaua and included legendary wartime visits by ex-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and kings, queens, and even a pope.
Zelenskyy claims 2023 would be a 'turning point'
Zelenskyy told the Congress that 2023 will become a "turning point" in the war "when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom—the freedom of people who stand for their values." He also asserted that Ukrainians would celebrate Christmas despite the ongoing war without electricity, as the "light of our faith in ourselves will not be put out."
Video of Ukraine President's speech to Congress
"Ukraine never asked the American soldiers to fight on our land instead of us. I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes themselves." ~ President Zelenskyy's speech to Congress pic.twitter.com/TsUW5pmtzv— Jake Broe (@broe_jake) December 22, 2022
Biden vows to back Ukraine against Russia
Earlier, Biden stated that Putin has no plans of ending "this cruel war" and promised that Ukraine will "never stand alone." The US President's remarks came during a news conference alongside Zelenskyy, who is in Washington on his first foreign visit since the start of the Russian war on Ukraine in February this year.
Ukraine's biggest ally
America has been Ukraine's most significant ally during the war and has provided almost $50 billion in financial, humanitarian, and security assistance. While the Ukraine President has regularly held numerous calls with western leaders since the war started with Russia, his White House visit also signals that the US is committed to backing Ukraine.