Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit the United States and meet with US President Joe Biden.
The Ukrainian leader’s visit is designed to highlight Ukraine and the US’s ongoing collaboration in Ukraine’s long-running battle with Russia. Zelenskyy will also address Congress, which has supported Ukraine while the conflict rages on. Biden is also expected to announce a $2 billion security aid package for Ukraine and deploy a surface-to-air missile battery to assist Zelenskyy in his country’s struggle against a superpower.
Meanwhile, Congress is set to vote on a funding plan to provide around $44.9 billion in aid to Ukraine and other NATO countries. Since the conflict with Russia, the United States has supported Ukraine with more than $65 billion in aid. While the tour will emphasize the US’s financial and military assistance to Ukraine, a senior Biden official indicated that the visit will be about more than simply the aid the nation will deliver to its friend.
“This isn’t about sending a message to a particular political party — this is about sending a message to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and sending a message to the world that America will be there for Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said the official.
Read Also: Rep. Raskin: Trump Needs to Take Accountability
The US is helping Ukraine and Zelenskyy
In an interview, former Marine Colonel Mark Cancian stated that the US has been tracking the quantity of aid sent to Ukraine since the crisis began. As a result, people may question if the Ukrainian government is appropriately utilizing billions of dollars in international help, according to Cancian. Cancian admits that strict control and accountability are required. However, more procedures from the US side are needed to monitor how Zelenskyy and his administration spend the funds provided to them.
“Well, the total amount of aid at this point is $68 billion. I mean, that goes in several different directions, you know? Some of it is to buy weapons. Some of it is humanitarian aid that mostly goes through third parties. And then some of it goes directly to the Ukrainian government. So I think it’s reasonable to expect a high level of oversight and accountability,” Cancian explained.
“You have to keep in mind that most of the US government can’t pass an audit. So you know, we shouldn’t ask them to do – to meet a standard that we can’t meet ourselves. But what we’re really trying to prevent is, you know, some widespread abuse that would affect, you know, large amounts of money and, you know, aid packages and sustainability.”
“Well, the government’s doing a couple of things to track the money and the weapons. The various bills that have provided for the aid have given the government a few million dollars to increase their oversight. The United States tracks the weapons right to the point where we turn them over to the Ukrainians at some base in Poland.
“The United States has a small group in the embassy that works with the Ukrainian government to track the money and the weapons. The government has worked directly with their counterparts, including President Zelenskyy, to get their assurances that the money and weapons are going to the appropriate uses.”
Russia will carry on
As the conflict progresses, minor successes and defeats emerge. Russia is not looking good with Ukrainian forces’ recent recapture of crucial territories. However, analysts believe that even if Russia loses the battle, Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to fight. Putin, they argued, would not concede defeat.
“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.
“For the first time since the war started, people are beginning to consider the worst-case scenario, that Russia can lose, and they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People are very anxious. They believe that what is going on is a disaster,” she added.
“The very fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.
“I think that already everyone, including Putin, realized that even tactical nuclear weapons will not solve the problem for Russia. They cannot just stop [the] military advances of [the] Ukrainian army; it’s impossible. Therefore, tactical weapons cannot decisively change [the] situation on the ground,” Matveev added.
Read Also: Fed Bumps Up Interest Rates Again
Zelenskyy is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year
Zelenskyy most recently served as the cover model for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue. Time also included the “spirit of Ukraine” to salute Zelenskyy.
“When he was growing up, his father worked as a systems manager in the copper mines of Mongolia, and the trips to visit him would take eight days on the railroad from their hometown of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, passing all the way through Russia and Siberia,” wrote Time.
“He remembers the journeys fondly—the vast expanses of the Soviet empire rolling by, the glasses of tea served in metal cup holders embossed with the hammer and sickle. It is among the many ironies of his predicament that Zelensky was raised in the empire whose revival he is now fighting to stop.”
“Zelensky’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious. It spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion, as everyone realized the President had stuck around. If that seems like a natural thing for a leader to do in a crisis, consider historical precedent,” it continued.
Photo Credit: President of Ukraine Website