Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy started his visit to the US by meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown at the US National Defense University.
“We discussed global security challenges, frontline developments, and further US-Ukraine defense cooperation,” Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In a speech to an audience of US officers at the National Defense University, he made an impassioned plea for continued US military support, warning that failure to help his country defeat the Russian invasion would fulfill the Kremlin’s “dreams” of destroying democracy in Europe.
Zelenskyy, in an apparent reference to disputes in Congress over allocating aid, said it was “crucial that politics … not betray the soldiers.”
“Let me be frank with you, friends. If there’s anyone inspired by unresolved issues on Capitol Hill, it’s just Putin and his sick clique,” he added.
“We won’t give up. We know what to do and you can count on Ukraine. And we hope just as much to be able to count on you,” Zelenskyy said.
Austin, who introduced the Ukrainian president, said America’s commitment to Ukraine is unshakeable and supporting the war is critical to ensuring the security of the US and its allies. “Despite his crimes and despite his isolation, Putin still believes that he can outlast Ukraine and that he can outlast America. But he is wrong,” Austin said to applause.
“America’s commitments must be honored. America’s security must be defended. And America’s word must be kept,” he added.
Zelenskyy was due to meet Tuesday with President Joe Biden and congressional leaders from both parties, including Republican House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson.