Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky won a promise of “significant” new air defense weapons from the White House Thursday but warned that Kyiv could lose the war with Russia if Republican lawmakers cut the flow of billions of dollars in US military aid.
Wearing his trademark olive green military-style shirt, Zelensky huddled with members of Congress before stopping at the Pentagon and the White House, where President Joe Biden greeted him with an honor guard.
“Very important,” he told reporters when asked about how vital his talks with Biden would be.
This was his second wartime visit to Washington, but Zelensky faced a trickier political landscape than when he arrived to a hero’s welcome in December 2022.
Biden warmly received the embattled Ukrainian leader. However, the White House said there was no deal to provide the long-range missiles that Zelensky has repeatedly requested.
And in Congress, Republican and Democratic leaders are locked in a bitter spending battle that could spark a US government shutdown, with a $24 billion aid package for Ukraine at risk.
The hard-right faction dominating the Republican Party is increasingly adamant that the aid spigot should be turned off, with Congress having already approved $100 billion in aid to date, including $43 billion in