Head Of Russia’s Vagner Group Dismisses Speak Of North Korean Weapons As Gossip


WASHINGTON — In a wartime deal with to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged lawmakers and all Individuals to proceed supporting his nation with army and monetary help because it fights for its existence towards a revanchist Russia, warning that something wanting victory would threaten the free world, together with america.

Stay Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

RFE/RL’s Stay Briefing provides you all the newest developments on Russia’s ongoing invasion, Kyiv’s counteroffensive, Western army help, international response, and the plight of civilians. For all of RFE/RL’s protection of the battle, click on right here.

Throughout his 22-minute speech from the rostrum of the Home of Representatives on December 21, Zelenskiy careworn that Ukraine can win the battle towards a better-armed Russian Military, however mentioned U.S. army and monetary help was “essential” to reaching ultimate victory.

As he requested for extra help, Zelenskiy sought to hammer residence to the American folks {that a} battle being fought 1000’s of miles away in cities they by no means heard of involved them immediately. He careworn that international freedom and democracy in addition to U.S. safety have been at stake in Ukraine and in contrast battle with Russia to the U.S. Conflict of Independence.

Ukraine’s protection “shouldn’t be just for life, freedom, and the safety of Ukrainians. It should outline whether or not [there] might be democracy for Ukrainians and for Individuals,” Zelenskiy, wearing his signature, military-style olive-green sweater and trousers, mentioned in English.

The battle “can’t be frozen or postponed, it can’t be ignored, hoping that the ocean or one thing else will present safety.”

Zelenskiy returned to Ukraine on December 22, his spokesman advised AFP. Serhiy Nykyforov additionally confirmed that Zelenskiy had made a short cease in Poland to satisfy with President Andrzej Duda.

Zelenskiy thanked Duda for the sturdy assist of Ukrainians proven by the folks of Poland. The workplace of the president mentioned the 2 leaders mentioned strategic plans for the longer term, bilateral relations, and cooperation on the worldwide degree within the coming 12 months.

Zelenskiy’s journey to america got here as Congress ready to vote on a sweeping spending invoice that features a provision to allocate an estimated $45 billion in extra army help to Ukraine.

The Senate on December 22 handed the large $1.7 trillion spending invoice, which incorporates about $772.5 billion for home packages and $858 billion for protection. The invoice handed by a vote of 68-29 and now goes to the Home of Representatives for a ultimate vote earlier than it may be despatched to Biden to be signed into regulation.

Whereas the invoice is anticipated to go, U.S. assist for Ukraine has waned because the 10-month battle drags on and as Individuals really feel the pinch from excessive inflation.

Many members of the Republican Occasion, which can take management of the Home in January, have criticized large help to Ukraine at a time when the U.S. economic system is struggling and in addition questioned how the help is getting used. In the meantime, some members of the Democratic Occasion have expressed concern that rising army help to Ukraine will provoke Russia.

Zelenskiy sought to deal with these issues head-on, saying U.S. help was not “charity” however slightly “an funding in international safety and democracy that we deal with in essentially the most accountable method.”

Zelenskiy advised Congress that he had introduced Biden with a 10-point peace plan however didn’t disclose its contents. The announcement of such a peace plan may soothe these members of Congress who had been calling for extra diplomacy and fewer help.

He additionally mentioned that Iran — which america has labeled a terrorist state — had basically allied with Russia in its battle towards his nation, promoting a whole bunch of lethal kamikaze drones to Moscow.

“That’s how one terrorist has discovered the opposite,” he mentioned, a reference to Ukraine’s designation of Russia as a terrorist state as nicely.

“It’s only a matter of time when they are going to strike towards your different allies if we don’t cease them now,” he mentioned.

The Kremlin warned that the introduction of superior U.S. weapons into the battlefield will damage not improve, the probabilities of bringing the battle to an finish.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov advised journalists in Moscow on December 22 that the weapons “can’t forestall the Russian Federation from reaching its objectives through the particular army operation,” the time period Russia has pressured native media to make use of when describing the battle.

Zelenskiy’s go to to Washington got here a day after his journey to Bakhmut, a metropolis in jap Ukraine on the coronary heart of the battle.

Russia has been making an attempt to seize Bakhmut for months, shelling town nonstop and throwing wave after wave of troopers into the struggle.

The seize of Bakhmut would permit Russia to disrupt Ukraine’s provide traces but in addition open the door for a future offensive on two greater Ukrainian cities with extra trade and rail entry.

In his deal with, Zelenskiy in contrast the heroism of Ukrainian troopers defending Bakhmut to that proven by U.S. troops preventing Adolf Hitler’s army within the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, additionally through the Christmas season.

“Bakhmut stands,” Zelenskiy mentioned to cheers. “Ukraine holds its traces and can by no means give up.”

He additionally in contrast the preventing in Bakhmut to the Battle of Saratoga through the U.S. Conflict of Independence. The Individuals received that battle towards the English, turning the tide of the battle.

Zelenskiy mentioned “extra cannons and shells are wanted” to drive the Russians from Bakhmut and open a path to Ukraine’s ultimate victory.

“Your assist is essential, not simply to face in such a struggle, however to get to the turning level to win on the battlefield.

WATCH: Ukraine is getting ready for the potential of a brand new, large-scale offensive by Russian forces early within the new 12 months. Russia continues to amass troops in neighboring Belarus, a rustic that Moscow has used as a launching floor to assault Ukraine.

Zelenskiy didn’t immediately ask Congress throughout his deal with for Abrams tanks, F-16 fighter jets, or the long-range, guided missiles often known as ATACMS. Ukraine’s army has been in search of these weapons for months however the Biden administration has refused as of but to offer the inexperienced mild.

Zelenskiy although not directly hinted on the need for fighter jets throughout his deal with, saying Ukraine doesn’t want U.S. troops on the bottom as a result of his troopers can “completely function American tanks and planes themselves.”

Zelenskiy concluded his speech by thanking each events of Congress and the American folks for his or her assist of Ukraine.

Elise Giuliano, a professor of political science at Columbia College’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Research, advised RFE/RL that Zelenskiy was efficient in speaking to Individuals.

“He’s interesting to our curiosity in defending democracy but in addition in our personal safety,” she mentioned. He’s “additionally searching for these factors of commonality” between the 2 international locations.

Giuliano mentioned that it was clever of Zelenskiy to spotlight Iran’s assist for Russia as a result of many Individuals readily establish Tehran as a “dangerous” and “aggressive” actor that america must “stand as much as.” .

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hold an inscribed Ukrainian flag brought by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy from the frontline city of Bakhmut at a joint session of the U.S. Congress on December 21.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi maintain an inscribed Ukrainian flag introduced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy from the frontline metropolis of Bakhmut at a joint session of the U.S. Congress on December 21.

Zelenskiy had arrived within the U.S. capital earlier within the day on his first journey overseas for the reason that begin of Russia’s invasion 10 months in the past.

He held a gathering with U.S. President Joe Biden on the White Home to debate help and the course of the battle earlier than holding talks with Congressional leaders from each events.

Biden introduced a brand new $1.85 billion safety help package deal for Ukraine that features a Patriot air protection battery.

Ukrainian leaders have pleaded for the Patriots to be offered, and Zelenskiy mentioned throughout a information convention with Biden that he would seemingly ask for extra. Ukraine wants them to forestall the destruction of the nation’s civilian infrastructure, together with lack of electrical energy and warmth within the chilly winter months

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