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Live Updates: Zelenskyy heads to Washington to meet with Biden and address Congress

Washington — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on his solution to Washington to satisfy with President Biden and ship an address to Congress in his first journey outdoors Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.

Planning for Zelenskyy’s go to was shrouded in secrecy as a result of safety issues till U.S. officers confirmed the journey Tuesday night time. 

“On my solution to the US to strengthen resilience and protection capabilities of Ukraine. Specifically, @POTUS and I’ll focus on cooperation between Ukraine and the U.S.,” Zelenskyy tweeted early Wednesday morning. “I may also have a speech on the Congress and quite a few bilateral conferences.”

Mr. Biden will greet Zelenskyy on the White Home at 2 p.m. ET, and the 2 will maintain a joint press convention at 4:30 p.m. Zelenskyy will then handle a joint assembly of Congress at 7:30 p.m., Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s workplace mentioned.

The State Division unveiled a brand new support package deal for Ukraine price $1.85 billion, which can embrace a Patriot missile battery for the primary time. A senior administration official known as the Patriot system, which is extremely efficient at taking pictures down planes and ballistic missiles, “a important asset to defend the Ukrainian folks in opposition to Russia’s barbaric assaults on Ukraine’s important infrastructure.” The official mentioned the U.S. “will practice Ukrainian forces on the right way to function the Patriot missile battery in a 3rd nation.”

Zelenskyy’s go to comes as Russia has ramped up strikes in opposition to important Ukrainian infrastructure as winter units in, with Russian forces final week launching one of many largest assaults on the capital of Kyiv for the reason that battle started.

The Ukrainian president’s speech to Congress additionally comes as U.S. lawmakers work to cross a sweeping $1.7 trillion government spending package that features practically $45 billion in navy, humanitarian and financial help for Ukraine. The measure can be one of many closing items of laws handed by the present Congress, and lawmakers have been shifting with urgency to clear the omnibus invoice earlier than a Friday deadline to avert a partial authorities shutdown.

The roughly $45 billion included for Ukraine is larger than the $37.7 billion requested by the White House in November and, if accredited by Congress, can be the newest tranche of emergency help offered to Ukraine because it continues to combat Russia.

Lawmakers have allotted greater than $65 billion in support to Ukraine for the reason that invasion, although some Home Republicans have expressed opposition to persevering with direct funding to the nation. This new package deal would carry U.S. help to over $100 billion. 

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