Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to hold meetings with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday, following discussions with lawmakers on Capitol Hill regarding continued funding for Ukraine’s defense against Russia. Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet with senators and bipartisan House leaders in the morning.
During his second visit to Washington since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Zelenskyy and Biden will convene in the Oval Office, followed by an extended bilateral meeting in the East Room, which Vice President Kamala Harris will also attend. The first ladies of both nations will be part of the visit.
John Kirby, the National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, stated that Biden is eager to receive a direct perspective from Ukraine’s commander-in-chief and affirmed the administration’s commitment to stand alongside Ukraine. Zelenskyy is also anticipated to visit the Pentagon for discussions with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
In his Tuesday address at the United Nations General Assembly, Biden reaffirmed support for Ukraine and emphasized Russia’s sole responsibility for the ongoing conflict. He underscored the importance of safeguarding Ukraine’s independence and deterring potential aggressors.
Regarding a prospective aid package for Ukraine, Kirby noted that Biden will address Zelenskyy’s needs and how the United States will continue to meet them. When asked about the inclusion of the Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), a long-range weapon, Kirby stated they are not ruled out, despite previous U.S. hesitance to provide such missiles to Ukraine.
Both leaders participated in the U.N. General Assembly meetings this week, and they previously met in July during the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. Zelenskyy visited Washington in December, delivering an address to a joint meeting of Congress and meeting with Biden at the White House during that visit.
Congress has allocated over $113 billion for the U.S. response to the war in Ukraine, according to a March release from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.