U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to continue supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s historic visit to the White House.
“We will stay with you for as long as it takes,” Biden told Zelenskyy during their joint press conference.
“You will never stand alone,” Biden said. “Americans from all walks of life -- from Democrats to Republicans -- will provide unbendable support.”
What Biden Said
During the press conference, Biden discussed the final draft of the new U.S. spending bill which includes $45 billion in aid to Ukraine, as well as an additional $1.85 billion military aid package that will fund a Patriot missile battery.
Biden called out Russian President Vladimir Putin for prolonging the war, adding that it is unlikely Putin will ever voluntarily order his troops to retreat.
“Free, independent and prosperous Ukraine is the vision,” he said. “It could end today if Putin had any dignity at all.”
What Zelenskyy Said
Zelenskyy thanked U.S. officials for additional funding, adding that the Patriot missile battery was particularly important for Ukraine’s air defense operations. He also urged Congress to pass the $45 billion aid package. He said he believes that despite the changes in Congress, there will be “bipartisan support” for Ukraine aid.
He added that he does not necessarily believe in “just peace” and wants “payback” for the atrocities Russia has committed in his country.
“What is peace to those who’ve lost children on the frontline?” Zelenskyy said. “There will be more parents who will live for the sake of vengeance.”
Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington marks his first trip outside of Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February.
The U.S. has sent nearly $70 billion to Ukraine via three aid packages approved by Congress this year. Biden had originally asked for an additional $37.7 billion, but lawmakers increased that amount to $45 billion in the latest spending bill.
Some Republican lawmakers have expressed reluctance to further assist Ukraine. With Republicans set to take over the House in January, it remains unclear just how much more the U.S. will be able to continue supporting Ukraine.