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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Washington, DC next week to advocate for continued assistance to his nation amid conflict.
Recent details emerging from government officials confirm Zelensky will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House and visit Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. This trip aligns with the ongoing Congressional debate regarding federal budget allocations, with a looming September 30 deadline for budget approval.
The Biden administration has proposed Congress earmark $24 billion for Ukraine, which encompasses “$13.1 billion in additional military aid and $8.5 billion for humanitarian support.” Despite this, certain factions, predominantly within the Republican Party, are skeptical about further aid to Ukraine in its defense against Russian military aggression.
To date, Congress has sanctioned over $113bn in aid for Ukraine. However, since Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives last December, no additional funding has been approved. This shift in the balance of power places significant influence in the hands of politicians concerning budgetary decisions. This past July saw 70 House Republicans endorse a motion to halt security aid to Ukraine, led by Representative Matt Gaetz.
In a December visit to Capitol Hill, Zelensky implored Congress to recognize the broader implications of Russian “aggression,” cautioning, “It is just a matter of time when they will strike against your other allies if we do not stop them now.” He emphasized the non-charitable nature of US support, asserting, “Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
Zelensky’s foreign trips have been limited since the February 2022 invasion. Yet, next week, he will attend the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, seeking to bolster support for Ukraine’s cause. His previous unexpected visits to the Netherlands and Japan were also aimed at galvanizing international backing.