Aware of the risk of weariness on the part of the great ally; American, Volodymyr Zelensky will attempt Thursday, at Washington, to convince the United States to help it cross "the finish line" face to face Russia, if possible with powerful new weapons.
The atmosphere has changed since his December 21, 2022 visit to the American capital.
This trip, his first abroad since the invasion by Russia in February of the same year, had been prepared in the greatest secrecy. The images of the Ukrainian president, in his khaki outfit, under the colonnades of the White House, and acclaimed in Congress, already belong to history.
Since then, the feeling of urgency has t is very blunted, and the republican opposition has taken control of one of the chambers of parliament. This time Volodymyr Zelensky will not be received with great fanfare at the Capitol, the seat of Congress.
However, he is expected to meet leaders of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party there.
The most anticipated, and most difficult, interview will be with the Republican boss of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.
“I have questions for him. Can he be held accountable for the “Money that we have already spent? What is the strategy for victory?”, launched the conservative leader on Tuesday, under pressure from the right wing of his party to cut off supplies to Kiev.
– Budget –
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy speaks to the media, at the Capitol in Washington, September 14, 2023 © AFP – Brendan Smialowski
This financial aspect is further complicated with the risk to very short term of a budgetary paralysis of the United States, if parliamentarians cannot agree before October 1 on at least a provisional finance law.
The discussions stumble, in part, on the budget devoted to military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
It is “vital” that Congress releases the 24 billion dollars requested by the executive for support the Ukrainians, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.
“Those who think the cost of supporting Ukraine today is high, just imagine how exorbitant it would become, in blood and money, if we give up, if we let (Russian President Vladimir Putin) take all Ukraine and finds himself in a much stronger position,” he said.
Volodymyr Zelensky must also pass through the Pentagon on Thursday, before being received, in the company of his wife, by Joe and Jill Biden, at 7:00 p.m. GMT.
A meeting between the two presidents in the Oval Office will follow, then a meeting extended to delegations from the two countries.
The American president, the great leader of the Western response to the Russian invasion, is also aware of the risk of running out of steam, as the conflict drags on and winter approaches.
– “Getting tired ” –
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, 2023 in New York © AFP – TIMOTHY A. CLARY
“Russia believes that the world will tire and let it brutalize Ukraine without consequences,” warned Joe Biden, who must run for a second term next year, Tuesday at the United Nations.
During an exceptional session of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Volodymyr Zelensky for his part denounced Moscow's “criminal aggression” and “the blocking” of the UN body due to of Russian veto power.
“We are at the finish line,” the Ukrainian president stressed in an interview with CNN, after anonymous American officials expressed reservations in the press about Ukrainian military strategy.
Joe Biden wants to “get an idea of what is happening on the battlefield”, but also “to tell President Zelensky very clearly that we are with them as long as it takes”, John Kirby said on Wednesday. /p>
The visit of the Ukrainian president is logically accompanied by speculation about a new announcement of American military aid.
The main person concerned himself admitted to CNN that he would feel “a certain disappointment” if he did not leave Washington with the promise of receiving long-range ATACMS tactical missiles.
The White House has so far responded cautiously to this request. The delivery of such missiles is “not excluded”, underlined John Kirby, ensuring however that “no decision (had) been taken”.
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