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Zelensky arrives at Pentagon for talks with Defense Secretary Austin

by Martin Fornusek September 21, 2023 8:28 PM 2 min read
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) welcomes President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (R) during an honor cordon at the Pentagon on September 21, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the Pentagon for talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the New York Times reported on Sept. 21.

The Department of Defense's headquarters is only one of the stops in Zelensky's visit to Washington as he hopes to ensure further U.S. support for Ukraine's struggle against Russian aggression.

The media reported that the Biden administration plans to present a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $325 million during Zelensky's visit, including cluster munitions, anti-tank and anti-air rockets, and more.

Zelensky and Austin will not hold a press conference following their meeting, the New York Times said.

The president is further scheduled to meet his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden at the White House.

Biden asks UN leaders to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression
U.S. President Joe Biden appealed to world leaders to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19.

Earlier on Sept. 21, Zelensky met senior leaders of Congress, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy and leaders of the two major U.S. political parties.

According to Zelensky's press service, Ukraine's head of state thanked American lawmakers for their continued support.

"Together, we have made significant progress in defending democracy, freedom, and dignity - the values on which both our countries are based," the president reportedly said.

"The suffering of the Ukrainian people from Russian war crimes is enormous, but more than half of the occupied Ukrainian territories have been liberated from Russian invaders, and we clearly see that complete victory is getting closer."

Zelensky briefed U.S. lawmakers on the situation on Ukraine's battlefields and discussed priority defense needs, namely air defenses for the upcoming winter.

The president's visit to the U.S. capital comes just as the Biden administration is trying to secure Congress' approval on an additional $24 billion in funding for Ukraine.

Some U.S. lawmakers, namely from the Republican Party, grow increasingly critical of the level of support that Washington provides to Ukraine.

Zelensky has previously visited the U.S. in December 2022, meeting Biden and addressing Congress members.

Zelensky arrives at US Capitol for talks with lawmakers
President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived at the U.S. Capitol to hold private talks with Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, the Associated Press reported on Sept. 21.
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