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Zelenskyy in U.S. for More Aid


President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as he welcomes him to the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Washington.

Update: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived to Washington for a trip set to press for military aid, delivering the biggest surprise of the 10 months since Russia invaded his country.

President Joe Biden welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the White House on his first known visit outside of Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion of the country in February.

Zelenskyy met with Biden and will address a joint session of Congress in the evening, to plead for more weaponry to resist Russia's relentless attacks on energy targets that have left millions of Ukrainians without heat and light in the midst of the Ukrainian winter.

In White House talks, Biden and Zelenskyy are set to discuss the arms and training provided by the United States and allies, sanctions and other pressure on Russia, and economic and humanitarian aid that Ukraine needs, the senior White House official said.

"They will discuss every element of this conflict, including the situation on the battlefield and including the question of where the war goes from here," the official said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Arrives in Washington
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The U.S. president is expected to announce a new arms package worth almost $2 billion that a senior administration official said includes Patriot air defense missiles.

Patriot missiles are seen as crucial to help Kyiv fend off Russia's punishing missile and drone attacks on its infrastructure.

Zelenskyy's is also expected to address a joint session of Congress, which

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Zelenskyy's expected to address to Congress would be "a very special focus on democracy."

The visit was quietly planned, beginning with a phone call between Biden and Zelenskyy on December 11, followed by a formal invitation one week ago and confirmation of the visit on Sunday.

Zelenskyy has vowed to liberate his country by whatever means.

On Tuesday, he reiterated that.

"We will do everything possible and impossible, expected and unexpected, so that our heroes have everything they need to win," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. "For the results that all Ukrainians expect."

His wife, Olena Zelenska traveled to Washington in July to address Congress and has made several other international trips pleading for Ukraine, as have his aides and ministers.

On Tuesday, Zelenskyy had made a surprise visit to the eastern front-line city of Bakhmut, a site of some of the fiercest fighting in the war, his office said, where, dressed in trademark combat khaki, he handed out medals to soldiers.

President since 2019, Zelenskyy has made it a point of his leadership to stay in his battered country, close to the people and soldiers fighting in a war that Ukraine and its allies call an unprovoked Russian aggression.

In contrast, his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, has spent much of his time inside the halls of the Kremlin.

On Tuesday in the Kremlin, Putin awarded medals to the Russian-appointed leaders of four regions of Ukraine that Russia has claimed to have annexed since invading its neighbor, which Kyiv and its allies call an illegal grab of land.

This report was prepared with data from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.