Washington: A “just peace” ending Russia’s war in Ukraine means making no compromises on the country’s territorial integrity, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday in Washington.
“For me as a president, ‘just peace’ is no compromises as to the sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity of my country; the payback for all the damages inflicted by Russian aggression,” Zelensky said through a translator at a news conference alongside his US counterpart Joe Biden.
Western support for Ukraine
Biden said Wednesday that he was confident the Western alliance would remain united behind Ukraine.
“I’m not at all worried about holding the alliance,” Biden told reporters after a meeting at the White House with the Ukrainian leader. “I feel very good about solidarity and support for Ukraine,” Biden said.
Standing next to Zelenskiy, Biden said: "This guy has, to his very soul, is he who says he is. It’s clear who he is. He’s willing to give his life for his country."
'Ukraine is alive and kicking'
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday (local time) addressed members of the US Congress saying, "Against all odds, and doom and gloom, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking."
To a standing ovation on his first foreign trip since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he said, "It's a great honour to be at the US Congress to speak to you, and all Americans. Against all odds, and doom and gloom, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking. We have no fear," he says, adding that Ukraine has won the first phase of the war. "The Russian tyranny has lost control over us."
Zelensky addressed members of the Congress after presenting a united front with US President Joe Biden, who assured continued support for Ukraine.
Zelensky emphasised that the world is too interconnected to ignore Russia's war in Ukraine during his address to Congress.
Battle cannot be frozen
"This battle cannot be frozen or postponed. It cannot be ignored, hoping that the ocean or something else will provide protection," he said.
"From the United States to China, from Europe to Latin America, and from every country to Australia, the world is too interconnected and interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and simultaneously feel safe when such a battle continues," he said.
He also highlighted the shared values of Ukraine and the United States.
"Our two nations are allies in this battle. And next year will be a turning point, I know it when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom. The freedom of people who stand for their values," he said.
Zelensky gave a message of hope for the Ukrainian people during his address to the Congress, saying the Russians "use everything" against cities such as Bakhmut but Ukraine "never surrenders".
The Russians "have been taking the city of 70,000 people day and night, but Bakhmut stands," Zelenskyy said to a roaring applause.
"Last year, 70,000 people lived there in Bakhmut... Now only a few civilians stay. Every inch of that land is soaked in blood... Donbas changed hands several times in fierce combat and even hand-fighting. But the Ukrainian Donbas stands," he said, as members gave him a standing ovation.
"Russians use everything, everything they have against Bakhmut and other of our beautiful cities, the occupiers have a significant advantage in artillery. They have an advantage in ammunition. They have much more missiles and planes than we ever had. It's true. But our defence forces stand," he said.
More weapons sought
More than 300 days into the war, soldiers in Ukraine are defending their country, but they need more weapons to win on the battlefield, Zelensky told the Congress.
"Here, the front line, the tyranny -- which has no lack of cruelty against the lives of free people -- and your support is crucial not just to stand in such fight but to get to the turning point to win on the battlefield," he said.
"We have artillery, yes, thank you. It enough? Honestly, not really," he said.
Zelensky said Ukraine is fighting for its "independence and freedom" but called for the United States' continued support to achieve those goals.
"Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender," he said.
Earlier, US Biden assured continued support to Ukraine in a news conference alongside Zelensky, announcing the US will send Kyiv a Patriot missile defence system as part of an additional $1.8 billion package of assistance.
Zelensky thanked Americans for their support and reiterated that air defence systems are crucial to countering Russian attacks.