President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on his first wartime foreign visit, used an address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to warn that the Ukraine war will shape the world for generations and no country can hope to be safe if it stands aside.
Seeking more U.S. support for Kyiv's war effort, Zelenskyy, wearing his trademark olive green pants and sweater, earlier met President Joe Biden at the White House, who urged Americans and the world to keep backing Kyiv in 2023, when congressional approval for aid will be harder to secure.
"Your money is not charity," Zelenskyy insisted in his speech. "It is an investment in the global security and democracy."
The United States has sent about $50 billion in assistance to Kyiv as Europe's biggest land conflict since World War Two drags on, killing tens of thousands of people, driving millions from their homes and reducing cities to ruins.
But some Republicans, who will take control of the House of Representatives from Democrats on Jan. 3, have expressed concerns about the price tag. They could hold up billions of dollars in war aid starting next month.
"This struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live and then their children and grandchildren," Zelenskyy told a joint session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
"The world is too interconnected and interdependent to allow someone to stay aside and at the same time to feel safe when such a battle continues."
He added that despite Russia's best efforts, Ukraine had not fallen and, in fact, was very much "alive and kicking."
"We defeated Russia in the battle for the minds of the world," he said.
Members of Congress stood, cheered, applauded and shook Zelenskyy's hand as he entered the chamber, with several wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the United States would provide another $1.85 billion in military aid for Ukraine including the highly advanced Patriot air defense system to help it ward off barrages of Russian missiles.
But some hard-line Republicans have urged an end to the aid for Ukraine, instead calling for an audit to trace how the money previously allocated has been spent.
Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on the West to supply more advanced weaponry, ranging from modern battle tanks to missile defense systems, but Western allies have been cautious, keen to minimize any risk of provoking wider conflict with Russia.
Zelenskyy earlier met Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives.
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