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Zelenskyy’s greeting to Congress puts more pressure on Biden to expand US role

Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which Biden staunchly refuses to do because of concerns that any possible confrontation between US and Russian aircraft or troops could escalate into a much larger conflict and potentially world war.

Biden also suggested that Poland transfer old jets via the US to Ukraine, out of concern that it could escalate the conflict.

If Zelenskyy’s speech to Congress is as lively as his other recent public appearances, Biden could come under increased pressure from lawmakers to push for more Ukraine aid. White House officials emphasized that Biden and Zelenskyy get along very well and their interests align. The two presidents have spoken several times since the invasion and have repeatedly congratulated the other’s efforts.

But the two men are also a contrasting study.

Zelenskyy remained defiant in Kyiv, wearing a combat t-shirt and hoodie as she walked the streets of Ukraine’s capital and vowed never to leave her homeland. Armed with a cell phone camera, he wowed the Ukrainian people and the world with his inspirational messages, sometimes almost mocking Putin with face-to-face displays of survival. your.

Biden, meanwhile, has taken a much more cautious approach. He outlined clear lines that he had vowed not to cross, such as sending American troops to the ground in Ukraine, and made it clear to Putin that the United States would defend every inch of NATO territory. That approach has drawn some criticism recently, with some believing it could displease the Russian president, but White House aides say the placement of markers is a means of encouraging Encourage allies to help with everything they can, while at the same time being reassured that the United States will not provoke conflict deeper into Europe.

Zelenskyy emotionally addressed Canada’s Parliament on Tuesday and urged lawmakers there to imagine if Toronto would be under attack like Kyiv.

“But I also want you to understand – and I want you to feel this – what we feel every day. We want to live, and we want to win,” the Ukrainian president said.

In what feels like a prequel to Zelenskyy’s next call, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday emphasized that the United States has sent $300 million in military aid to Ukraine.

“One of the reasons they were able to push back was because of the substantial amount of military support we provided,” Psaki said as she praised the Ukrainian resistance.

Without some success, the White House has tried to empty its toolkit to help Kyiv, send supplies, impose sanctions, and ban Russian oil imports. And in keeping with the symbolism of a united West, the White House will send Biden to Europe perhaps as early as next week. Aides are scheduled to appear at an emergency NATO summit in Brussels, although it remains unclear whether other stops will be added.

Biden’s top delegates are in close contact with their Ukrainian counterparts as the conflict deepens. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken talks regularly with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, including on Tuesday’s call. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Andriy Yermak, a senior Zelenskyy aide, are in daily contact, a National Security Council spokesman confirmed.

Separately, Biden administration officials admitted they had felt pressure from Zelenskyy asking for more support, but they weren’t reluctant to him.

“Of course, he’s pushing us – his country has been invaded,” said a senior administration official.

But there are limits to how much Biden can do to change the course of the war as Russian forces continue their slow and grueling advances in Ukraine.

“I do not see the possibility of a fundamental change in trajectory, although we can provide Ukraine with greater means to defend itself and can begin to prepare for the next phase of the conflict,” said Richard Haass. war, a permanent Russian invasion and occupation,” said President of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Administration officials also emphasized that the equipment sent by the United States, including an anti-missile defense system, helped Ukraine hold back Russia and some of Kyiv’s other demands, such as fighter jets. , won’t make much of a difference.

Psaki said Biden will likely watch Zelenskyy’s speech. White House aides have not said whether Biden would respond publicly to the address, but Haass said the key in the coming days is for Washington and Kyiv to “make sure they’re on the same page about the foreign requests.” delivered” in future negotiations with Russia.

But many in Congress – including lawmakers from both sides of the aisle – called for more help, including sending Polish MiG jets to Ukraine.

“Enough talk. People are dying,” said Mr. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) this week. “Send them the planes they need. They said they needed the MiGs. … They want the MiGs. Get them the MiGs. “

About 300 lawmakers participated in a Zoom call with Zelenskyy earlier this month in which the Ukrainian leader outlined his pressing needs from the West – many of which were delivered, including 14 billion USD military and humanitarian aid.

Biden has used the crisis to promote the idea that the United States is regaining its cover as the leader of the free world, and has seen it as a war between democracies and autocratic regime.

During the Obama administration, Biden, vice president at the time, took the lead in the Ukraine profile after Putin first invaded the country in 2014. Biden’s interest in supporting Ukraine on the security front hasn’t dropped since he became president, even if Zelenskyy wants to see more.

But Biden has also urged Ukraine’s leaders to address corruption and other domestic problems, leading to some friction between Washington and Kyiv.

Early in the Biden presidency, his administration imposed a visa ban on Ihor Kolomoyskyy, a Ukrainian business magnate, whom the Biden team has urged Zelenskyy to prosecute. Ukraine watchers suspect that Zelenskyy is hesitant to track down Kolomoyskyy in part because the tycoon owns a media outlet that has covered Zelenskyy well.

The Biden team is also worried about Ukraine’s internal political feud and the instability it could cause. For example, prosecutors in Zelenskyy’s government are hunting former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on charges of treason and aiding terrorism.

Zelenskyy, a former comedian, defeated Poroshenko, a billionaire candy tycoon, to win the presidency. In 2019, then-President Donald Trump threatened Zelenskyy with withholding military aid to Ukraine unless he investigated Biden’s dealings in that country.

Trump was later impeached on the matter, although he was not found guilty.

Nahal Toosi contributed to this story.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/15/zelenskyys-congress-pressure-biden-00017470?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Zelenskyy’s greeting to Congress puts more pressure on Biden to expand US role

Fry Electronics Team

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