WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, where he addressed a joint meeting of Congress to thank the U.S. for it support and rally legislators for more ahead of the new year.
“Against all odds, and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall,” Zelenskyy said. “Ukraine is alive and kicking.”
Earlier in the day Zelenskyy spoke with President Joe Biden. It is the Zelenskyy’s first trip outside Ukraine since Russia attacked in February.
“For me as a president, ‘just peace’ is no compromises,” Zelenskyy said to a packed room of reporters. He said the war would only end when Russia ends its occupation and provides retribution “for all the damages inflicted by Russian aggression.”
Ahead of his visit to Washington, Zelenskyy told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo that it is a “big mistake” to think that the war is over. “Without Americans — just ordinary people — without their understanding of what’s going on in Ukraine, we will not win,” Zelenskyy said.
The U.S. announced its latest major aid package to the war-torn country — $1.8 billion in military aid that will, for the first time, include a Patriot missile battery and precision-guided bombs for its fighter jets. The Patriot is a surface-to-air guided missile system that was first deployed in the 1980s and can target aircraft, cruise missiles and shorter-range ballistic missiles.
The Kremlin warned that increasing the supply of U.S. arms to Ukraine would aggravate the war ignited by Russia’s invasion, and Russia’s defense minister on Wednesday called for expanding Moscow’s military by at least 500,000 people.
The American arms have been pivotal in helping Ukraine beat back Russian forces, who have been stymied in 10 months of conflict. Zelenskyy made it apparent his forces would need more help in the defense of the country.
“Your money is not charity,” he said. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
The Associated Press and NewsNation writer Taylor Delandro contributed to this report.