Zelensky’s historic visit does not hide the cracks in American support.

Volodymyr Zelensky’s mouth dried up from thanking the United States for its support for the Ukrainian cause during his historic visit to Washington. To Joe Biden, to the lawmakers, to the media. “I want to thank every American family who appreciates the warmth of their own home and wants the same warmth for another city,” he said at one point in his address to a joint session of Congress, during prime time, an honor reserved even for the United States. Now for characters like Winston Churchill or Nelson Mandela. But the President of Ukraine held his breath to ask for more. Zelensky’s trip, his first abroad since the start of the Russian invasion at the end of February, sought above all to seduce and convince his first ally at a crucial moment: there is a lot of war ahead and more and better weapons are needed to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Biden and bipartisan leaders in Congress sought to forge a seamless alliance in the hours Zelensky spent in Washington. The president greeted him at the White House, showing personal sympathy and assuring that the United States would support Ukraine “to the extent necessary.” Record related news Yes by train, car and plane: This was Zelensky’s secret trip to Washington Javier Ansurina His personal safety is one of the reasons the Ukrainian president has not left Ukraine since February, when the Russian invasion began Congress gave him a shower of water. With applause, Zelensky exchanged handshakes, hugs and kisses with lawmakers, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, US Vice President and Senate Speaker Kamala Harris waved the Ukrainian flag sent by soldiers from the Donbass front. All this, however, does not hide the mismatch between Kyiv and Washington in their alliance. Since the start of the war, tension has been high what kind of weapons Zelensky is asking for and what Biden is willing to hand over. The United States and its NATO allies seek to provide Ukraine with the ability to fend off Russian aggression, but without suggesting that Moscow could use it as a pretext to escalate the conflict. As of Wednesday, the United States has shipped nearly $20 billion in military equipment. Biden took advantage of Zelensky’s visit to announce another bonus game, this time for $1.850 million. The presence of the Ukrainian president also occurred – not by chance – in the middle of the parliamentary process of the 2023 spending bill: $1.7 trillion, of which about 45 thousand million is military, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine. The Senate approved the provisions yesterday and the budget has been pending for a vote in the House where there is more indecision but it is also expected to move forward. None of this is enough for Zelensky, he explained, with some irony, to Congress. “We have artillery,” he said, referring to the weapons sent by the United States. “Yes, thank you very much, we have it. Is that enough? , such as modern Abrams tanks or fighter jets.Last month, Mikhailo Podolak, one of Zelensky’s advisers, tweeted a list of five ‘Christmas wishes’: Leopard and Marder tanks (from Germany), M1 Abrams tanks, and the long-range missile system ATACMS and the Patriot anti-aircraft system. Missiles. Of the five, the Patriot missiles have just been given by Biden and only one battery. This is the type of weapon that Ukraine considers it needs to resist Russia and, above all, to recapture occupied territories. Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems are not enough To counter the missile attacks launched by Russia from its territory, with the clear aim of destroying the country’s infrastructure and weakening the population in the coming long winter.In recent weeks and also during the visit to Washington, the difference between how he sees Kyiv and Washington has become The end of the war is obvious. The Biden administration avoids imposing an overt strategy on the Zelensky government, but makes it clear that it wants the negotiating table to arrive sooner rather than later. One of Biden’s goals was to talk about “what he (Zelensky) needs to ensure that Kyiv is in the strongest position possible so that we can expedite the birth of the negotiating table,” a senior US official told The New York Times. . Addressing Congress at their joint press conference, Biden defended Zelensky seeking a “just peace,” and the Ukrainian president later responded that he did not know exactly what that was. He explained to Congress that it would be “naive” to believe that Vladimir Putin is seeking negotiation and that the Ukrainians are fighting for “absolute victory”. That victory, he tried to persuade lawmakers, was crucial in the global struggle of democracies against authoritarian authoritarianism, in which the United States also has much at stake. “Your money is not charity,” he told lawmakers and viewers. “It is an investment in global security and democracy that we will use in the most responsible way.” It was a message dedicated above all to the growing opposition in a sector of Republicans to the multimillion-dollar aid to Ukraine. A minority group of Representatives, very close to former President Donald Trump and the “America First” idea, did not stand by or applaud Zelensky’s interventions. Matt Gaetz criticized the “bleeding” of millions through Kyiv “when our country is in crisis”. “We must focus on containing the war, not expanding it,” Warren Davidson added. Republicans will take a majority in the House of Representatives in two weeks, and that will be a challenge to support the Ukrainian cause. Those who aim to be their leaders, like Kevin McCarthy or Steve Scales, do not deny their support for Ukraine, but they are skeptical. McCarthy insisted after Zelensky’s speech that the “blank check” was over. Scales added that aid requires more “scrutiny”. Opinion polls are moving in the same direction: Support for Ukraine is majority, but with an increasing decline among Republican voters. As months go by and weary from a long and costly war, this rift could widen.

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