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WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is because of meet President Joe Biden in Washington the place he’s anticipated to reach on December 21 on his first journey overseas for the reason that begin of Russia’s invasion as Congress prepares to vote on a sweeping spending invoice that features a provision to allocate greater than $40 billion in extra navy help to Ukraine.

Dwell Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

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“In the course of the go to, President Biden will announce a major new package deal of safety help to assist Ukraine defend itself in opposition to Russian aggression,” the White Home mentioned in a press release, including that Zelenskiy “will handle a joint session of Congress, demonstrating the sturdy, bipartisan help for Ukraine.”

Zelenskiy’s adviser, Mykhaylo Podolyak, advised Reuters that the go to is “extraordinarily important” and that it invalidates Moscow’s makes an attempt to drive a wedge between Washington and Kyiv by alleging bilateral relations have gotten cooler.

“Firstly, each the go to itself and the extent of deliberate conferences unequivocally testify to the excessive diploma of belief between the nations. Secondly, this lastly places an finish to the makes an attempt by the Russian aspect…to show an allegedly rising cooling in our bilateral relations,” Podolyak mentioned in written feedback.

“This, in fact, just isn’t even shut,” Podolyak added. “America unequivocally helps Ukraine.”

Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) despatched a letter to members of the Home of Representatives on December 21 outlining particulars of Zelenskiy’s go to.

“It’s with nice pleasure and solemnity that, tonight, we’ll welcome President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to handle a Joint Assembly of Congress,” she mentioned, including that the particular session is anticipated to start at 7:30 p.m. native time.

“Because the combat for freedom in Ukraine wages on, we stay up for listening to his inspiring message of braveness, unity, and dedication,” Pelosi mentioned.

A senior U.S. administration official mentioned in a name with reporters on December 20 that, throughout Zelenskiy’s go to, the Biden administration will announce $1.8 billion in already authorised navy help to Ukraine that can, for the primary time, embrace a Patriot missile battery and precision guided bombs for his or her fighter jets.

Earlier than addressing Congress, Zelenskiy is anticipated to satisfy one-on-one with Biden on the White Home and maintain talks with leaders of the Democratic and Republican events.

“Within the assembly tomorrow, President Biden can have the chance with President Zelenskiy to have an in-depth strategic dialogue, on the best way forward on the battlefield, on the capabilities and coaching the U.S. and our allies proceed to offer to Ukraine,” the official mentioned.

The journey “is one thing we have wished to do for a while,” he added.

Zelenskiy’s go to comes greater than 300 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine, triggering the largest struggle on European soil for the reason that finish of World Struggle II. It additionally coincides with Congress’s consideration of a $1.7 trillion spending package deal that features huge help to Ukraine.

The omnibus invoice, as it’s identified, would fund the U.S. authorities by means of September and is anticipated to go the Home and Senate, although there’s discontent amongst some Republicans, who management half of the 100 Senate seats.

Nevertheless, the senior official mentioned the Biden administration is assured that help will stay bipartisan.

“So, this is not about sending a message to a specific political occasion. That is about sending a message to Putin and sending a message to the world that America might be there for Ukraine for so long as it takes,” the official mentioned.

Zelenskiy’s go to “doesn’t harm to get the omnibus invoice over the aim line 100%,” Andrij Dobriansky, director of communications for the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an influential diaspora group, advised RFE/RL.

Ukraine is very depending on U.S. navy help to defend itself. The failure to go the invoice may result in a U.S. authorities shutdown early subsequent 12 months when Republicans take management of the Home and set off a hold-up of extra help to Ukraine at a time when many anticipate Russia to launch a brand new offensive.

“For Ukraine funding proper now, it is all in regards to the omnibus,” Dobriansky mentioned.

Putin earlier this week made his first journey to Minsk in additional than three years to see Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka amid hypothesis the Russian chief might attempt to strain Belarus to hitch the combat in opposition to Ukraine.

Zelenskiy may additionally be coming to america now to “make a giant present” following Putin’s go to to Belarus, Dobriansky mentioned.

“Zelenskiy can say, ‘I can present up on the White Home anytime I need.’ It displays on what entry Zelenskiy has and what entry Putin has,” he mentioned.

The go to can be Zelenskiy’s second to the White Home since taking workplace greater than 3 1/2 years in the past.

Two sources who confirmed plans for Zelenskiy’s journey to the AP cautioned that it may nonetheless be known as off on the final minute attributable to safety issues.

‘A Very Good Factor’

U.S. officers described particulars of the miltary help to Ukraine on situation of anonymity as a result of it has not but been introduced, the AP reported. The package deal can have about $1 billion in weapons from Pentagon shares and one other $800 million in funding by means of the Ukraine Safety Help Initiative, which funds weapons, ammunition, coaching, and different help, officers advised the AP.

Ukraine has additionally been asking for Abrams tanks, ATACMS long-range guided missiles, and F-16s, however the Biden administration has to date refused to present the inexperienced gentle on these highly effective weapons programs, and there was no indication it could approve them throughout Zelenskiy’s go to.

John Herbst, the previous U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003-06, advised RFE/RL that the administration’s approval of any a kind of weapon programs would justify Zelenskiy taking the danger of touring forwards and backwards to america amid Russian strikes.

Nonetheless, he mentioned that if Zelenskiy’s handle to Congress “does, actually, stymie or scale back the populist Republican opposition to help to Ukraine, that might clearly be an excellent factor.”

The help for Ukraine included within the omnibus spending package deal, which lawmakers are underneath strain to go by midnight on December 23, can be greater than $40 billion and would quantity to the largest American infusion of help but.

It’s a number of billion {dollars} greater than Biden requested. A wing of the Republican Get together in Congress has come out in opposition to large-scale help to Ukraine.

Although Russia’s invasion has misplaced momentum, if it had been profitable in capturing Bakhmut Russian forces would sever Ukraine’s provide strains and open a route for them to press towards key Ukrainian cities within the Donetsk area.

‘Not In An Straightforward Scenario’

In a video launched by his workplace, Zelenskiy is seen receiving a Ukrainian flag from the troops in Bakhmut, and he alludes to delivering it to U.S. leaders.

“The fellows handed over our stunning Ukrainian flag with their signatures for us to go on,” Zelenskiy mentioned within the video. “We aren’t in a simple state of affairs. The enemy is rising its military. Our individuals are braver and wish extra highly effective weapons. We’ll go it on from the boys to the Congress, to the president of america. We’re grateful for his or her help, however it isn’t sufficient. It’s a trace — it isn’t sufficient.”

WATCH: Ukraine is getting ready for the potential for 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 has addressed the U.S. Congress as soon as earlier than — on March 16 in a reside video handle by which he known as on lawmakers to go additional sanctions and help a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, requested if Moscow hoped that one thing optimistic may come from Zelenskiy’s journey, mentioned, “No.”

“The availability of weapons continues and the vary of equipped weapons is increasing. All of this, in fact, results in an aggravation of the battle. This doesn’t bode nicely for Ukraine,” Peskov mentioned.

With reporting by AP, CNN, Reuters, and AFP

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