President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the U.S. on Dec. 11 and spoke at the National Defense University along with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Zelensky's visit comes as the future of U.S. aid to Ukraine is in question and existing funds are almost depleted.
After an introduction by Austin, Zelensky took the stage with a standing ovation. He thanked Austin for his support and leadership.
"Ukraine is the first front in the war against freedom," Zelensky said.
Zelensky will also meet U.S. President Joe Biden on Dec. 12. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced on Dec. 10 that Biden had invited Zelensky to Washington to "underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion."
Zelensky will also speak at the Senate in the morning of Dec. 12 and meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson, Bloomberg reported on Dec. 11, citing an unnamed Senate aide and Johnson's spokesman Raj Shah.
Zelensky was supposed to give an address to Congress on Dec. 5 ahead of a vote on a funding bill that included $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, but it was canceled at the last minute.
Republicans blocked the funding bill in a narrow vote on Dec. 6, insisting that any further aid for Ukraine or Israel must include significant changes to the U.S. border and immigration policy.