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Volodymyr Zelenskyy: In US To Meet With Biden

The Ukrainian leader flew to Washington a day after making a bold visit to the front line in the east. Ukrainian officials warned of more Russian attacks against the energy grid.


Writing on Twitter, Ukraine's President, Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says he is heading to the US to "strengthen the resilience and defense capabilities" of his country. The highly sensitive trip marks the first time the Ukrainian president has left Ukraine since Russia invaded on 24 February. 


He said he would discuss cooperation between the US and Ukraine, adding: "I will also have a speech at the Congress and several bilateral meetings."


Mr. Biden's message to Mr. Zelenskyy will be that "we will stand with Ukraine as long as it takes," the official added.


It is understood America's commander-in-chief will announce he will send Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine to aid the country in repelling Russia's invasion, and the US will train the Ukrainian army in a third country on how to use them.


Details of how and when he traveled are unlikely to be made public, given the security risks involved.


The White House confirmed it would supply Ukraine with a Patriot missile battery, significantly increasing its air defense capability.


He also said he would give a speech to Congress and hold several meetings.


The visit was, unsurprisingly, kept a secret, with official confirmation coming only hours before it was due to start.


Biden will announce an additional $1.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine during the visit, with the coveted Patriot missile systems as part of that package; a US official told CNN's Phil Mattingly. Washington also plans to send Ukraine precision bomb kits to convert less sophisticated munitions into "smart bombs'' that could help it target Russian defensive lines, sources told CNN's Pentagon team. Zelensky's visit also comes as Congress is poised to sign off another $45 billion in aid for Ukraine and NATO allies, deepening the commitment that has helped Kyiv's forces inflict an unexpectedly bloody price on Putin's forces.


President Volodymyr Zelensky’s trip is a “clear message” that the alliance between the U.S. and Ukraine is strong, Volodymyr Ariev, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, said in an interview.


On behalf of bipartisan Congressional leaders, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to Zelenskyy encouraging his visit to Washington, D.C. in a letter explaining the leaders' "immense respect and admiration" for the Ukrainian president.






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