WASHINGTON: Volodymyr Zelensky, the leader of Ukraine, was unannouncedly received by President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday, and he was greeted there with renewed assurances of US support and “admiration for resisting” Moscow.
Zelensky told the president of the United States, “First of all, thank you.” It is an immense privilege to be here.
The meeting is a turning point in relations between Ukraine and its most important ally, highlighting a relationship that has grown stronger since Russia invaded, despite some friction along the way.
The visit, Zelensky’s first outside of Ukraine since the war started in February, includes a meeting at the White House, a trip to Congress, and a focus on providing Kyiv with more weapons.
A relationship hasn’t been without bothering, notwithstanding the solid military and discretionary help that the US has given to Ukraine since Russia attacked it on Feb 24.
Richard Gowan, Director of the United Nations’ International Crisis Group, stated, “Friction is inevitable even between close allies in wartime.”
The United States and the United Kingdom were at odds over how to win the Second World War. According to Gowan, “I don’t think we should necessarily allow day-to-day friction to obscure how much help the US has given Ukraine.”
Over the past year, the two leaders have been at odds at a number of important points.
Most recently, Biden told reporters bluntly that he disagreed with Zelensky’s assertion that the missiles that landed in Poland last month were not of Ukrainian origin: This is not evidence.
Zelensky also accused Washington and the media of inciting panic that hurt the economy while there were “no tanks in the streets” when the United States issued a warning in January that Moscow was gathering tens of thousands of troops for an invasion.
Ukraine was invaded by Russia a month later.
Since then, Western nations have increased their assistance to Ukraine, taken in millions of refugees, and imposed severe sanctions on Russia. However, Zelensky continued to push for more, including Nato’s rejection of a no-fly zone in March.
Zelensky stated at the time, “There was a NATO summit that was weak, confused, and where it was clear that not everyone considers the battle for Europe’s freedom to be the number one goal.”
In June, Zelensky praised the NATO summit in Madrid, which led to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance. However, he also demanded more military support and a tougher stance against Russia.
“You need to find a place for Ukraine in the common security space, and we need security guarantees.”
The question of Ukraine’s membership in NATO has been a long-running and contentious one. Zelensky has pushed hard for his nation to join the military alliance. Ukraine has been promised the opportunity to join NATO since 2009, when Biden served as vice president under Barack Obama.
However, the alliance has yet to proceed with Ukraine’s application.