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Zelensky speaks with Biden before US national address

by Abbey Fenbert October 20, 2023 12:52 AM 2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) meets with President Volodymyr Zelensky in the White House Oval Office on Sept. 21, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with United States President Joe Biden about Ukrainian defense and long-range strike capabilities on Oct. 19, the president said on the social media platform X.

The discussion was held hours before Biden plans to deliver a national address about the wars in Ukraine and Israel.

"Ukrainians are greatly encouraged by the delivery of ATACMS, and our warriors are putting them to good use on the battlefield," Zelensky said.

"We discussed further strengthening our long-range capabilities."

The U.S. sent its first shipment of Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS) in October, with a delivery of 20 missiles.

Ukrainian forces deployed the long-range weapons for the first time in strikes against Russian-occupied territories, targeting military assets.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Oct. 18 that the U.S. plans to continue delivering ATACMS to Ukraine.

Zelensky said his talk with Biden also touched on U.S. Special Representative Penny Pritzker’s recent visit to Ukraine, as well as Ukrainian legislative reforms aimed at hastening the country's accession to the European Union.

Zelensky further expressed support for Biden's "visit to Israel aimed at seeking peace and protection of civilian lives."

The Biden administration is reportedly planning to request supplemental military aid for Ukraine and Israel, potentially as early as Oct. 20. The package would include $60 billion in  assistance for Ukraine and $10 billion for Israel.

Before the spending request reaches Congress, Biden will lay out the case for military aid to the American public.

Biden said he will speak from the White House at 8 p.m. local time on Oct. 19, in a nationwide address that covers the Hamas attacks against Israel, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and "Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine."

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