News is slowly emerging that Ukrainian President Zelensky will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden after he personally attended the United Nations General Assembly to lobby world leaders for more support for Ukraine against Russian aggression. It’s official. Biden and key congressional Republicans and Democrats are likely to meet in the Oval Office on September 21.
During a recent meeting with Zelensky in Kiev, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured the Ukrainian leader that Washington was “determined to continue to move forward with Ukraine.”
Regarding changes in Washington, Zelensky must be aware of at least three aspects.
First, the United States is not entirely convinced by Ukraine’s counteroffensive claims over the past few weeks and is concerned about the extent of its recapture by Zelensky’s forces. Furthermore, Moscow predictably will not take kindly to the U.S. decision to provide cluster munitions that have been banned by many countries. Depleted uranium armor-piercing anti-tank shells have recently been supplied to the M1 Abrams tank. Russia called it a “criminal act.”
The decision by the United States and some European countries to provide new weapons, including F16 jets, has not gone unnoticed by the Kremlin. Furthermore, there is a feeling that all this will do is prolong the war rather than find a way to begin reasonable negotiations.
With Russia far from losing the war and even showing signs of exhaustion, Putin is thought to keep fighting the war as long as possible, pinning his hopes on the West ultimately losing this war of nerves.
Second, the environment on Capitol Hill must worry Zelensky. The Ukrainian leader’s visit comes as some U.S. lawmakers show clear signs of anger over issuing a “blank check,” especially as they squabble over spending money on domestic projects. It’s not just hard-line Trump Republicans who are upset about Ukraine spending, there’s also a slow-burning grumbling within the Democratic Party.
From the beginning of the war in February 2022 to the end of May 2023, the Biden administration has provided a total of $76.8 billion in aid to Ukraine, of which $46.6 billion in military aid alone, followed by $26.4 billion in financial aid and humanitarian aid amounted to US$26.4 billion. $3.9 billion.
Now Congress is debating an additional $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid. Some lawmakers, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are considering the possibility of separating Ukraine aid from the federal package to avoid a Sept. 30 government shutdown.
Third, Zelensky comes to Washington as President Biden’s impeachment case heats up, with lawmakers clutching the former president’s coattails and determined to drag the Democratic president into the same trouble Democrats put President Trump through. Procedure, not once but twice. .
There is allegedly insufficient evidence for the corruption charges against President Biden and his family, primarily his son Hunter Biden, but that doesn’t seem to matter since they are clearly supported by Trump himself. Not many hard-line conservatives have forgotten Trump’s impeachment, ties to Ukraine and abuses of power in 2019 — $400 million in security aid and a potential visit to the White House by newly elected Zelensky were tied to investigations into the Bidens hook up.
During his visit in December 2022, the Ukrainian leader emphasized in an impassioned speech to Congress that aid to Ukraine should not be considered “charity” but an “investment” in security and democracy . September 2023 is a different story.
The author is a veteran journalist who has covered North America and the United Nations in Washington, D.C.