Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is making his way to Washington on Wednesday for a summit with President Joe Biden in his first known trip outside the country since Russia’s war began in February.
The highly sensitive trip is taking place after 10 months of a full-scale invasion that has seen tens of thousands killed and wounded on both sides of the conflict, along with devastation for Ukrainian civilians.
In a statement Tuesday night, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden looks forward to the visit and that the address to Congress will demonstrate “the strong, bipartisan support for Ukraine”.
“The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through the provision of economic, humanitarian, and military assistance," she said.
US and Ukrainian officials have made clear they don’t envision an imminent resolution to the war and are preparing for fighting to continue for some time. Biden has repeated that while the US will arm and train Ukraine, American forces will not be directly engaged in the conflict.
Biden and Zelenskyy first discussed the idea of a visit to Washington during their most recent phone call, on December 11, and a senior US administration official said a formal invitation followed three days later.
Zelenskyy accepted the invitation on Friday and it was confirmed on Sunday, when the White House began coordinating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to arrange a congressional address he will also attend.
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