U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy within the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2023.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the White House on Thursday because the embattled leader seeks to shore up additional support for his war-torn country.
Biden was in search of a “battlefield perspective” from Zelenskyy of their meeting, in accordance with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Speaking within the Oval Office before the meeting, Zelenskyy thanked the U.S., saying the countries are “really truly allies.” He said he intended to discuss weapons systems with Biden, “with a special emphasis on air defense.”
“I’m in Washington to strengthen Ukraine’s position to defend our youngsters, our families, our homes, freedom and democracy on the planet,” Zelenskyy said.
Biden called Ukraine a “partner” and said he was working with other G7 allies to formalize a commitment to the country’s long-term security.
“We’re supporting a just and lasting peace, one which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Biden said.
Zelenskyy addressed the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week in Recent York.
During his own speech Tuesday at the U.N., Biden promised the U.S. would “proceed to face” with Ukraine as Russia’s invasion drags on.
But getting Congress to satisfy that promise with more aid is complicated.
The White Home is in search of $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine, which it hoped can be passed alongside a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown as federal budget negotiations proceed.
The measure has bipartisan support within the Senate but has been held up within the House of Representatives, where some members, corresponding to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., have said they may not support any additional aid.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is in a difficult position on the difficulty of Ukraine on account of a slim GOP majority within the House, which supplies individual Republican lawmakers leverage to pressure him to accede to their demands.
Conservatives balked at McCarthy’s proposal last week to pair Ukraine aid with additional border funding.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (C) walks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer during his visit to the U.S. Capitol Constructing on Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Win Mcnamee | Getty Images
Zelenskyy stopped on the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning before his Oval Office meeting with Biden to make his pitch on to lawmakers.
Unlike his visit in December, Zelenskyy didn’t address a joint session of Congress.
McCarthy agreed to fulfill with the Ukrainian president privately but didn’t offer a forum for him to appeal to the complete House of Representatives as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., did within the upper chamber.
Zelenskyy told reporters after his congressional meetings that he had a “frank, constructive dialogue” with members of each parties in each chambers.