Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Zelenskyy is getting ready to go to Washington, DC, after visiting the front lines of battle

Zelenskyy preparing to visit DC, after tour of war's front


WASHINGTON: Three AP sources say that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is getting ready to visit Washington on Wednesday. This will be his first known trip outside of the country since Russia's invasion started in February.

Two legislative sources and one individual acquainted with the matter affirmed plans for the visit. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the trip, they spoke on condition of anonymity. They stated that although Zelenskyy's visit was anticipated, security concerns could force its cancellation at any time.

A speech to Congress on Capitol Hill and a meeting with President Joe Biden are planned for the trip to Washington. It comes as the United States prepares to deploy Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Ukraine to assist in preventing an invasion by Russia and as lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a spending package for the end of the year that includes approximately $45 billion in emergency assistance for the country.

Zelenskyy traveled to the city of Bakhmut in the contested Donetsk province of Ukraine, which he described as the "hottest spot" on the 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) front line. There, he praised Ukrainian troops for their "courage, resilience, and strength" as artillery blared in the background.

The Ukrainian leader told the troops that he went through Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, and Druzhkivka to get to Bakhmut on an unannounced trip that appeared to show Moscow's inability to capture the city and demoralize the Russians who were trying to surround it.

"Bakhmut Stronghold. Our members. Defeated by the adversary. He thanked the troops for their "courage, resilience, and strength shown in repelling the enemy attacks" in a post on his Telegram channel. "Who with their bravery prove that we will endure and will not give up what’s ours,” he wrote.

He stated, "Since May, the occupiers have been trying to break our Bakhmut. However, as time goes on, Bakhmut is already breaking not only the Russian army but also the Russian mercenaries who came to replace the occupiers' wasted army."

The invasion that Russia began on February 24 has lost steam. Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia—provinces that were illegally annexed—continue to be a source of intense contention. The capture of Bakhmut would cut off Ukraine's supply lines and provide a route for Russian forces to pursue cities in the Donetsk province that are vital Ukrainian strongholds.

Zelenskyy was shown receiving a Ukrainian flag and making reference to delivering it to American leaders in a video from the Bakhmut visit that was made public by his office.

Zelenskyy said in the video, "The guys handed over our beautiful Ukrainian flag with their signatures for us to pass on." Things are not going well for us. The adversary is expanding its army. Our people are more courageous and require more potent weapons. We will convey it to the boys, Congress, and the United States president. We are appreciative of their assistance, but it is insufficient. It's just a hint, but not enough.

The most recent tranche of U.S. financing would be the greatest American imbuement of help yet to Ukraine, above even Biden's $37 billion crisis demand, and guarantee that subsidizing streams to the conflict exertion into the indefinite future.

According to U.S. officials, the United States was also scheduled to announce on Wednesday that it would provide Ukraine with $1.8 billion in military aid in a significant package that would include, for the first time, a Patriot missile battery and precision-guided bombs for its fighter jets.

The guide flags a development by the U.S. in the sorts of cutting edge weaponry it will ship off Ukraine to reinforce its air safeguards against what has been a rising flood of Russian rockets as of late. According to officials, the package will include approximately $1 billion worth of weapons from the Pentagon's stock and $800 million in funding from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Despite threats from Russia's Foreign Ministry that the delivery of the advanced surface-to-air missile system would be viewed as a provocative step and that the Patriot and any crews that accompany it would be a legitimate target for Moscow's military, the decision to send the Patriot battery was made.

Since U.S. troops will need to teach Ukrainian troops how to use the high-tech system, it's not clear when exactly the Patriot will arrive on the front lines in Ukraine. The preparation could require a little while, and is supposed to be finished in Germany. The United States and its Western allies have been training Ukraine's forces entirely in Europe up to this point.

Unknown numbers of JDAM kits, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, will also be included in the package. The kits will be used to add tail fins and precision navigation systems to massive bombs so that instead of being dropped onto a target by a fighter jet, they can be released and guided there.

The White House is preparing for more resistance from the Republican-controlled House, which has indicated that it will scrutinize aid to Ukraine more closely in the new Congress. The visit comes at an important time. Republicans, according to GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, will not issue a "blank check" to Ukraine.

Biden and Zelenskyy every now and again have held calls in a joint effort with the White House reporting new tranches of military help for Ukraine. The calls have mostly been warm, with Zelenskyy thanking the president of the United States for his support and Biden praising Ukraine for sticking with its stand against the Russians.

When she visited Zelenskyy earlier this year in Kyiv, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged lawmakers to attend Wednesday's session.

In a letter to coworkers on Tuesday, Pelosi wrote, "We are concluding a very special session of the 117th Congress with legislation that makes progress for the American people and supports our Democracy." Please attend the very special Democracy focus on Wednesday night."

She referred to Ukrainians as "fighting for democracy for all of us."

Putin praised the "courage and self-denial" of his forces in Ukraine on Tuesday, but he did so at a ceremony in a opulent and glittering hall at the Kremlin in Moscow rather than on the battlefield.

In Bakhmut, mercenaries from the enigmatic Wagner Group, a Russian military contractor, are said to be leading the charge. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, was shown in unverified videos on a popular Russian social media platform standing near an artillery piece and declaring that he was prepared to meet Zelenskyy in Bakhmut.

Putin presented awards to the heads of the four illegally annexed regions of Ukraine who had been appointed by Moscow at the ceremony in the Kremlin.

Putin stated, "Our country has frequently faced challenges and defended its sovereignty." Russia is once again confronted with this obstacle. On the front lines, volunteers, officers, and soldiers are providing outstanding examples of bravery and self-denial.

He said, in a video address to honor Russia's military and security agencies, that "people living there, Russian citizens, count on being protected by you" when security personnel were deployed to the four regions.

Putin acknowledged the difficulties the security personnel faced.

He stated, "Yes, it's difficult for you," and added, "extremely difficult" is the situation in the regions.

Meanwhile, British authorities provided a gloomy assessment of Russia's war situation.

According to U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, 100,000 Russian troops were "dead, injured, or have deserted" during the invasion. Although the U.S. military recently estimated the number of Ukrainian troops killed and wounded at approximately 100,000, Wallace did not provide a figure for Ukrainian casualties.

Additionally, Russia's military command has suffered losses, and equipment has been destroyed. According to Wallace, who addressed lawmakers in the House of Commons, "not one single operational commander that was in place on Feb. 24 is in charge now." Numerous generals and commanding officers have left Russia.

"Russian capacity has been seriously hampered by the obliteration of in excess of 4,500 defensively covered and safeguarded vehicles, as well as in excess of 140 helicopters and fixed wing airplane," Wallace said.

Large swaths of land have been successfully recaptured by Ukraine's counteroffensive. The U.K. Ministry of Defense tweeted that Ukraine had liberated approximately 54% of the maximum amount of additional territory that Russia had seized during the invasion after 300 days of war. It did not specify how much of Ukraine Russia controlled at the height of its gains.

About 18% of Ukraine's internationally recognized areas are now under Russian control, including the 2014-seized parts of the eastern Donbas and the Crimean Peninsula.

Moscow has used missiles and drones to attack Ukraine's power equipment in the hope of depriving people of electricity as the cold weather sets in, with fighting in the east at a standstill.

With the reopening of two of Kyiv's most important subway stations for the first time since the start of the war, life in the capital of Ukraine took a small but welcome step back toward normalcy. Similar to the other underground stations in the capital, the key hubs of Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreschatyk have been used as air raid shelters.

Denys Kapustin, a passenger who is 24 years old, stated, "It's the feeling that despite everything, we are returning to a routine that we were used to." This is very crucial.

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