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Biden praises Zelensky as ‘great leader’ at White House

Washington — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Biden and thank him for the billions of dollars in aid the United States has provided his country to fight off Russia’s ongoing offensive. , launched his first known visit outside Ukraine. 300 days from the start of the invasion.

Mr. Biden laid the red carpet at the White House and welcomed the Ukrainian leader in an olive green sweatshirt, cargo pants and boots. Biden, speaking in the Oval Office, said the United States “stands for the great people of Ukraine” and called Zelensky a “great leader.”

Biden and Zelensky are scheduled to hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m. ET. Zelensky then heads to the Reichstag. speak at a joint session of parliament 7:30 p.m.

Given the great security concerns that wartime leaders entail when traveling abroad, travel plans were kept secret.

Shortly before Zelensky’s arrival, the State Department announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $1.85 billion, bringing the total amount of military aid sent to Ukraine to $22 billion.For the first time, the United States sophisticated patriot missile battery It can repel Russian missiles and aircraft. The new package also includes hundreds of thousands of mortars and artillery shells, dozens of vehicles, and specialized kits that greatly improve the effectiveness and accuracy of bombs dropped from fighter jets.

“We will continue to strengthen Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities, especially its air defense capabilities,” Biden said. “That’s why we provide Ukraine with Patriot missile batteries and train our troops to use them correctly.”

President Biden Meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House
President Biden will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House on December 21, 2022.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Zelensky’s visit comes as Russia ramps up its attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure as winter sets in, with Russian forces last week carrying out one of the biggest attacks on the Kyiv capital since the war began. started.

Ukrainian president’s address to Congress also comes as US lawmakers work to pass $1.7 trillion government spending package This includes nearly $45 billion in military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine. The measure is set to be one of the last bills passed by the current legislature, and lawmakers are pledging to pass the omnibus bill by Friday’s deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown. was urgently moving to

The approximately $45 billion contained in Ukraine outweighs the $37.7 billion. requested by the White House If approved by parliament, it would be the latest emergency aid offered to Ukraine as it continues to fight Russia.

Congress has allocated more than $65 billion in total aid, including financial and humanitarian aid, to Ukraine since the invasion, although some House Republicans have expressed opposition to continuing direct funding to Ukraine. . With this new package, US aid will exceed her $100 billion.

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/volodymyr-zelenskyy-biden-press-conference-watch-live-stream-today-12-21-2022/ Biden praises Zelensky as ‘great leader’ at White House

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