Biden To Host Zelensky At White House On Tuesday


(MENAFN- IANS) Washington, Dec 11 (IANS) US President Joe Biden will host his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Tuesday amid stalled discussions on a Kiev aid deal in Congress.

This will be Zelensky's third visit to Washington since Russia launched its ongoing war against Ukraine in February 2022.

His last visit to the US was in September.

According to officials, Zelensky has been invited to speak at an all-senators meeting on Tuesday morning by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, CNN reported.

House Speaker Mike Johnson will also meet the Ukrainian leader.

In a statement issued on Sunday evening, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House meeting is meant to“underscore the US' unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia's brutal invasion”.

“As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine's urgent needs and the vital importance of the US' continued support at this critical moment,” she added.

The Presidents will also discuss“further defense cooperation” in a series of meetings on Tuesday, CNN quoted the office of the Ukrainian presidency as saying in a statement.

Zelensky will focus on“securing unity among the US, Europe, and the rest of the world” on their support of Ukraine's defense against Russia and“strengthening the international order based on rules and respect for the sovereignty of nations”, the statement read.

Zelensky and Biden will also discuss defensive cooperation efforts for the coming year, including joint projects to produce weapons and air defence systems.

The Ukrainian President's visit comes at a critical moment in congressional negotiations for emergency aid to Ukraine.

Congress appears no closer to a deal tying immigration and border policy changes to the emergency aid package that will provide funding for Ukraine and Israel before lawmakers leave break for the holidays.

The Biden administration's proposed $106 billion aid package includes about $60 billion in aid toward Ukraine's defences against Russia; with the rest going toward Israel's war with Hamas, security in Taiwan and funding for operations at the US-Mexico border.

But top Republicans, wary of adding more to the $111 billion the US has already sent to Ukraine, have asked that any further funding be tied to major immigration-related policy changes.

--IANS

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