Joe Biden Invites Volodímir Zelenski to White House to Push for Additional Aid to Ukraine

President of the United States, Joe Biden, has extended an invitation to Ukrainian President Volodímir Zelenski to visit the White House on Tuesday, December 12th. The purpose of this meeting is to apply pressure on Congress to approve additional aid to Ukraine in its defense against the ongoing Russian invasion.

Biden administration aims to underscore the unwavering commitment of the United States to support the Ukrainian people in their struggle against the brutal Russian aggression.

Importance of the White House Meeting

As Russia intensifies its attacks on Ukraine with missiles and drones, the leaders of the two nations will discuss the urgent needs of Ukraine and the vital importance of continued support from the United States during this critical time. The White House meeting holds significant significance as it marks Zelenski’s third visit to Washington since the start of the war.

Zelenski previously visited Biden at the end of last year, which included a speech to Congress. He also visited the White House in September after participating in the UN General Assembly in New York. However, on that occasion, the President of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, refused Zelenski’s request to address Congress. This time, Zelenski plans to meet with Senate leaders during his visit.

Congressional Approval for Aid Package

Timing of Zelenski’s visit is crucial as the new aid package requested by Biden remains stuck in Congress. The package, totaling nearly $110 billion, is intended for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the US-Mexico border. The majority of the funds, approximately $61.4 billion, are allocated for Ukraine. Despite Biden’s persistent appeals, Republicans blocked its approval in the Senate last Wednesday.

To highlight the importance of this additional aid, President Biden also held a video conference with G7 leaders to reaffirm their governments’ support for Ukraine. The United States Congress has already allocated $111 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Shalanda Young, Biden’s budget director, warned in a letter to the leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate that the US will run out of funds to provide arms and assistance to the Ukrainian government by the end of the year unless the new aid package is approved.

Republican Skepticism and Bipartisan Support

Skepticism has been growing within the Republican Party regarding the utility of the multi-billion-dollar aid transfers to Ukraine, especially as the conflict approaches its second anniversary with no end in sight.

Republicans are demanding that the additional security funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan be coupled with an extraordinary investment to fortify the US-Mexico border, a proposal rejected by Democrats. The law requires approval from both the Senate and the Republican-majority House of Representatives.

In a recent television interview, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that President Biden is willing to make significant concessions to pass the aid package. Blinken emphasized the urgent need for the supplemental budget request to be approved, acknowledging Ukraine’s extraordinary efforts in defending itself against Russian aggression.

He highlighted the fact that nearly 90% of the US security assistance to Ukraine is invested in the production of materials, ammunition, and weapons within the United States, creating employment opportunities.

While some Republicans, such as Senator J.D. Vance from Ohio, question the need for additional aid, others, like Senator Mitt Romney from Utah, express their support for providing Ukraine with the necessary weapons to defend itself. Romney stressed the importance of the United States ensuring the success of Ukraine, not only for the sake of democracy but also for its own national interest.

He also emphasized the bipartisan agreement on the need to secure the border to address the record number of immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.

International Pressure and Support

According to The Guardian, allies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will meet with Republicans in Washington next week to advocate for the end of US military support to Ukraine. Members of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs and the Hungarian embassy in Washington will hold a two-day meeting organized by the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

Zelenski’s visit to Buenos Aires for the inauguration of the new President of Argentina, Javier Milei, marks his first trip to Latin America. Ukraine continues to seek support from developing countries in its defense against the Russian invasion and has taken advantage of the trip to Argentina to hold bilateral meetings with several leaders.

Prior to arriving in Buenos Aires, Zelenski met with the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, and in Argentina, he held discussions with the Presidents of Paraguay, Ecuador, and Uruguay.