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‘Ukraine is alive and kicking’: Zelensky addresses Congress amid cheers, pledges of support – recap – B87FM
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‘Ukraine is alive and kicking’: Zelensky addresses Congress amid cheers, pledges of support – recap

Written by on December 21, 2022

WASHINGTON – Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the comedic actor turned Ukrainian leader, delivered perhaps the most dramatic performance of his career Wednesday, embarking on a whirlwind tour that culminated in an address to Congress where he urged lawmakers to keep sending aid to his war-ravaged nation.

“Your money is not charity,” he told his congressional audience, which included some Republicans wary of sending a “blank check” to Ukraine when they take over the House in January. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”

Still, Zelenksyy earned bipartisan applause for his comments – defiantly noting that, while more assistance is needed, no amount of Russian troops and missiles can bludgeon the will of his people: “Ukraine is alive and kicking.”

Clad in the green military garb of a war-time president, Zelenskyy first met with President Joe Biden at the White House Wednesday afternoon who pledged staunch and sustained support for Ukraine in its war with Russia:

“You will never stand alone,” Biden told Zelenskyy as both stood near each other during an afternoon news conference in the packed East Room of the White House.

Dec 21, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine addresses a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol.

Zelenskyy’s visit comes as Biden and Congress reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine by sending billions in humanitarian and military aid to the war-ravaged country, including nearly $2 billion for a strategically important Patriot Air Defense System.

Congress is set to pass another $44 billion in Ukraine aid through the omnibus spending bill expected to pass this week.

Latest developments:

  • Capitol Hill: The Ukrainian president met with congressional leaders before delivering a rousing speech in English to a joint session. “Ukraine is alive and kicking,” he told the lawmakers assembled in the House chamber who cheered loudly several times during his speech – even when he asked for more aid.
  • Biden tete-a-tete: Zelenskyy met with Biden behind closed doors for more than two hours. Both presidents held a news conference to reaffirm their alliance. This evening, Zelenskyy will address a joint session of Congress.
  • Air defense assistance: Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the details of a $1.85 billion military package for Ukraine, including the transfer of the Patriot Air Defense System – the most advanced air weaponry the Biden administration has provided Kyiv to date in its battle against Russia.
  • Billions in Ukraine aid: Congress is set to pass a spending bill this week that includes about $44 billion for Ukraine in military and humanitarian assistance Some Republicans have resisted giving what House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has called a “blank check” to the U.S. ally.
President Biden welcomes President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine on the South Lawn of the White House, Dec 21, 2022. The Ukrainian President visited Washington to meet with Biden and US lawmakers. President Zelenskyy will also address a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol during his first trip outside his country since Russia began its violent invasion of Ukraine in February.

Zelenskyy gives Pelosi Ukraine flag as ‘symbol of our victory’

Before ending his speech, Zelenskyy turned around and handed Pelosi a Ukrainian flag signed by Ukrainian soldiers who asked that he give it to Congress.

“This flag is a symbol of our victory in this war,” Zelenskyy said. “We stand, we fight and we will win because we are united – Ukraine, America and the entire free world.”

Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris held the flag in a display of solidarity as Zelenskyy finished his remarks.

In turn, Pelosi presented Zelenskyy with a United States flag that flew over the Capitol to commemorate his visit.

– Joey Garrison

Dec 21, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine gives a flag signed by Ukrainian soldiers to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (right) after addressing a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol.

No joke: Zelenskky puns on Putin

Zelenskyy jabbed at Putin with a play on words, saying Ukraine is developing strong security guarantees for itself and the world.

“Together with you, we’ll put in place everyone who will defy freedom: Put-in,” the former comedic actor told lawmakers.

– Maureen Groppe

Ukraine will celebrate Christmas in spite of Russian brutality, Zelenskyy says

Zelenskyy said Ukrainians will celebrate Christmas and “delight” in the holiday, even if there is no electricity and Russia launches a holiday assault from Moscow.

“If Russian missiles attack us, we’ll do our best to protect ourselves. If they attack us with Iranian drones, and our people will have to go to bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians will still sit down at the holy table and cheer up each other,” Zelenskyy told lawmakers. “And we don’t have to know everyone’s wish, as we know that all of us — millions of Ukrainians– wish the same: victory. Only victory.”

– Francesca Chambers

‘Let’s do it’: Zelenskky tells Congress victory is ‘in your power’

Zelenskyy told lawmakers that “it’s in your power” to defeat Russia as he called for their continued financial support.

“Let’s do it,” he said. “Let the world see that the United States is here.”

– Joey Garrison

Zelenskyy: `Your money is not charity”

Zelenskyy made clear he has not asked Americans to fight alongside his military in Ukraine. He assured lawmakers that his soldiers can “perfectly operate American tanks and planes themselves.”

He thanked the U.S. for its weapons and financial support, calling it critically important.

“Your money is not charity,” he said. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”

– Maureen Groppe

Republicans show support for Zelenskyy’s gratitude for aid

Though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Republicans won’t write a “blank check” to Ukraine when they take majority control in January, he and other GOP leaders stood and applauded Uelenskyy when he thanked them for billions in aid that he said have been used in a responsible way.

They stood, too, when Zelenskyy called for more assistance.

– Candy Woodall

‘A matter of time’ before Russia attacks other allies, Zelenskyy says

Zelenskyy warned Russia will attack other U.S. allies if successful in Ukraine.

“It is just a matter of time before they attack against your other allies. If we can stop them now, we must do it.”

– Joey Garrison

Zelenskyy makes World War II comparison

Zelenskyy compared what Ukrainians are facing to the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II.

Just as brave Americans fought Hitler’s forces during the Christmas of 1944, so brave Ukrainians “are doing the same to Putin’s forces this Christmas,” he said.

“They threw everything against us,” Zelenskyy said. “Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender.”

– Maureen Groppe

Dec 21, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol. The Ukrainian President visited Washington to meet with Biden and US lawmakers during his first trip outside his country since Russia began its violent invasion of Ukraine in February.

Zelensky: Russia’s war ‘too interconnected’ to ignore

Zelenskyy said Russia’s war in Ukraine “cannot be frozen or postponed, it cannot be ignored,” as he argued the war threatens not just his country but the world.

“From the United States to China, from Europe to Latin America, and from Africa to Australia the war is too interconnected and interdependent.”

– Joey Garrison

Zelenskyy: Russians must ‘defeat the Kremlin in their minds’

Zelensky said Ukrainians have rejected Moscow’s influence and Russians need to so the same.

“The Russian tyranny has lost control over us,” he said. “The Russians will stand a chance to be free only when they defeat the Kremlin in their minds.”

– Maureen Groppe

Zelenskyy gets several standing ovations

The standing ovations for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy began before he entered the House chamber for his historic address.

“Russian tyranny has lost control over us,” he said to more standing applause, as Ukraine fights for “freedom and justice.”

Though support for Ukraine aid has been a sticking point recently in Congress, with some members calling for an audit of the humanitarian and military assistance, Republicans and Democrats both stood and cheered together throughout his speech.

– Candy Woodall

Zelenskyy: ‘Ukraine is alive and kicking’

Zelenskyy said “against all odds and doom and gloom” Ukraine ahs not fallen to Russia.

“Ukraine is alive and kicking,” he said. “We defeated Russia in the battle for the minds of the world.”

– Joey Garrison

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the US Congress as US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) applaud at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on December 21, 2022.

Zelenskky overwhelmed by response

Beginning his remarks, Zelenskky appeared overwhelmed by the response of lawmakers.

“Is too much for me, all this for our great people,” Ukraine’s president said after the sustained applause. “Thank you so much.”

“Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking,” he said, as the applause continued.

– Maureen Groppe

Zelenskyy enters chamber

Zelenskyy was escorted on to the House floor to deliver his address to a joint session of Congress where he’s expected to thank the American people for their support in his country’s fight against Russia.

 As he came in to a rousing round of applause, he smiled and  shook hands with lawmakers. Democratic congresswomen waved a Ukrainian flag, as members of the Ukrainian embassy cheered from the House gallery.

His visit to the Capitol comes on the 300th day of the Russian attack against Ukraine and after the U.S. has sent about $50 billion in humanitarian and military aid. Congress is poised to send another $44 billion in the omnibus, which is expected to pass this week.

– Candy Woodall

Dec 21, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine gets a standing ovation before addressing a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol.

McCarthy attends Zelenskyy speech

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is on track to be speaker next year and has asserted Republicans won’t sign a “blank check” to Ukraine once his party gains the  majority power in January, was one of the first lawmakers inside the chamber for Zelenskyy’s speech.

He is leading a caucus that includes some members who would like to see more accountability for humanitarian and military aid sent to Ukraine. That includes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has introduced a resolution calling for an audit of the foreign aid.

McCarthy, who is in the middle of a contentious run for speaker, was frequently greeted with smiles and visited by other members as they waited for the Ukranian president to arrive.

– Candy Woodall

Pelosi evokes Winston Churchill as she greets Zelenskyy

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi evoked former U.K. prime minister Winston Churchill as she greeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Capitol Wednesday evening, comparing the two wartime leaders as heroes.

Zelenskyy, responding in English, said it was a “great privilege” to prepare a speech for Congress, “but really for Americans” that he plans to deliver at 7:30 p.m. ETWednesday in English to thank them for helping Ukraine fight for freedom and democracy.

Pelosi and Zelenskyy were also joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

– Candy Woodall

Zelenskyy wants more Patriot missiles

Not long after praising the U.S. for sending its most advanced ground-based air defense system to Ukraine, Zelenskyy put Biden on notice that his hand is still out.

Zelenskyy said he will send a signal to Biden that Ukraine would like more Patriot missiles.

That elicited a chuckle from Biden.

“It’s a defensive weapon system. It’s not escalatory. It’s defensive,” Biden said of the Patriots. “We’d love to not have to have them use it. Just stop the attacks.”

– Maureen Groppe and Francesca Chambers

Zelenskyy struggles to define a `just peace’

Zelenskky said it’s difficult to define what a `just peace’ to end the war would look like.

For him, he said, it means not compromising Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom or territorial integrity. Ukraine also needs payback for the damage inflicted, he said.

But for those who have lost sons or daughters, there is no compensation, Zelenskyy added.

“So there can’t be any just peace in the war that was imposed on us,” he said, through a translator.

Biden said he and Zelenskyy share the “exact same vision” of a free, independent, prosperous and secure Ukraine.

“So, what comes next?” he asked. “We’re going to continue to help Ukraine succeed on the battlefield,” he said. “It can succeed on the battlefield with our help, and the help of our European allies and others, so that if and when President Zelenskyy is ready to talk with the Russians, he will be able to succeed as well, because he will have won on the battlefield.”

– Maureen Groppe and Francesca Chambers

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Zelenskyy: `We need to survive this winter’

Zelenskyy said he’s confident bipartisan support for Ukraine aid will continue despite the change in control of the House to the Republicans in January.

He praised the $45 billion in a pending assistance package, saying every dollar will strengthen global security.

“This is a big assistance,” he said through an interpreter.

It also comes as Ukraine is preparing for tough months ahead.

“We need to survive this winter,” he said. “This is the survival issue.”

– Maureen Groppe

Biden: ‘You will never stand alone’

Biden began his remarks with a message for Ukraine: “You never stand alone. You will never stand alone.”

Biden said Americans know that the world will face worse consequences if the U.S. doesn’t stand up to bullies and stand up for freedom.

“We understand in our bones that Ukraine’s fight is part of something much bigger,” he said.

– Maureen Groppe

Dec 21, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine at a joint press conference with President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House. The Ukrainian President visited Washington to meet with Biden and US lawmakers during his first trip outside his country since Russia began its violent invasion of Ukraine in February.

Biden says Zelenskyy is open to a `just peace’

Biden said that Zelenskyy has made clear he is open to pursuing a “just peace” but Russian President Vladimir Putin has “no intention of stopping this cruel war.”

Biden praised Ukraine for standing up to Russia.

“Ukraine has defied Russia’s expectations at every single turn,” he said.

Biden pledged that the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine and pushed lawmakers to swiftly approve additional aid.

“We also know that Putin has no intention – no intention – of stopping this cruel war,” Biden said. “And the United States is committed to ensuring that the brave Ukrainian people can continue, continue to defend their country against Russian aggression as long as it takes.”

– Maureen Groppe

Biden and Zelenskyy face the media

Biden and Zelenskyy entered the East Room of the White House late Wednesday afternoon to talk to the news media.

The room was packed with dozens of reporters and Biden Cabinet officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who sat in the front row.

“It’s important for the American people, and for the world, to hear directly from you,” Biden told Zelenskky as they stood by each other behind separate podiums.

If the leaders follow tradition, Biden will call on two reporters for questions and Zelenskyy will choose two.

After the news conference, the final event on Zelenskyy’s agenda is his 7:30 p.m. address to Congress.

– Maureen Groppe

Why Zelenskyy visit is special to Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter to colleagues Wednesday explained why a visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “a moment fraught with meaning” for her.

Pelosi’s late father, former Congressman Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., was a member of the House when former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered a war-time address to Congress Dec. 26, 1941, just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Churchill was trying to rally American support for Europe’s World War II fight against tyranny.

“Eighty-one years later this week, it is particularly poignant for me to be present when another heroic leader addresses the Congress in a time of war – and with Democracy itself on the line,” Pelosi said.

Her words come as some Republican members of the House, including her likely successor Kevin McCarthy, have pushed back against billions in humanitarian and military assistance and said they won’t write a “blank check” to Ukraine.

“I hope that you will be there to be a part of a very special evening, which will be etched into history as well as part of your legacy,” Pelosi said in the closing of her letter to colleagues.

– Candy Woodall

Biden tells Zelenskyy the U.S. supports Ukraine’s pursuit of a ‘just peace’

Biden and Zelenskyy kicked off their bilateral meeting at 2:15 p.m. ET in the Oval Office, with Biden telling the Ukrainian president the U.S. will support Ukraine’s pursuit of a “just peace.”

“I’m delighted you could make the trip,” Biden said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “escalating his assaults on civilians” and trying to “use winter as a weapon.”

The two leaders are expected to discuss all aspects of Russia’s war in Ukraine including what an end could look like.

Biden said the American people, “Democrats and Republicans, together with our allies,” have stood proudly with Ukraine to ensure financial humanitarian and security assistance.

“We’re going to talk about that today. We’re going to continue to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, particularly air defense, and that’s why we are going to be providing Ukraine with a Patriot missile battery.” 

Biden referenced Time Magazine’s recent recognition of Zelenskyy, telling him: “You are the man of the year.”

Zelenskyy, who handed Biden a medal, said he hoped to come to the U.S. earlier and offered “all my appreciations from my heart and from all Ukrainians. He thanked Biden, Congress and “ordinary people” in the U.S. for their support.

– Joey Garrison

Zelenskyy gave Biden a military medal

Zelenskyy arrived in the Oval Office with a gift for Biden, a military medal that had been earned by a Ukrainian captain on the front lines of the war. Zelenskyy told the president the captain – a “real hero” — wanted Biden to have it.

“He said ‘Give it to the very brave President,'” Zelenskyy said.

Biden said the medal is “undeserved but much appreciated.”

The captain is in charge of a battery of U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS. The rocket systems have saved many Ukrainian lives, Zelenskyy said.

Biden said he will make sure the captain gets a presidential “command coin” traditionally given to service members for special achievements.

– Maureen Groppe

President Biden welcomes President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine on the South Lawn of the White House, Dec 21, 2022. The Ukrainian President visited Washington to meet with Biden and US lawmakers. President Zelenskyy will also address a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol during his first trip outside his country since Russia began its violent invasion of Ukraine in February.

Biden to Zelenskyy: `Welcome back’

The president and first lady Jill Biden met Zelenskyy as he arrived at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

“Mr. President, welcome back,” President Biden said as he shook Zelenskyy’s hand.

Both the U.S. and Ukrainian flags flanked the red carpet that stretched from the White House doors to the driveway. An honor cordon stood at attention, presenting both the U.S. and Ukrainian colors on either side of the red carpet

Zelenskyy emerged from his vehicle wearing an Army green sweater, cargo pants and heavy boots – very much in the garb of a war-time president.

Biden put his hand on Zelenskyy’s shoulder as they walked together into the White House, ignoring shouted questions from reporters.

– Maureen Groppe

Harris to attend Zelenskyy address in Congress

Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves s as president of the Senate by virtue of her office, will attend Zelenskyy’s address to a joint session of Congress this evening, her office said.

Zelenskyy is expected to deliver his speech at 7:30 p.m. on the 300th day of the Russian attack in Ukraine.

– Candy Woodall

Biden, Schumer don blue and yellow for Ukraine

The Ukrainian flag wasn’t the only blue and yellow that greeted Zelensky when he arrived at the White House Wednesday.

Biden wore a blue and gold striped tie.

Those were also popular colors on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., who called the Senate into session as the presiding officer, wore a yellow tie with blue stripes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., addressed the chamber wearing a blue suit and yellow tie.

“I see you are in your Ukrainian blue and yellow, as am I,” Schumer told Lujan. “And that’s appropriate, because this will be a day to remember in the history of the United States Congress when we welcome President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.”

– Maureen Groppe

Zelenskyy has landed in the U.S.

Zelenskyy has arrived in the U.S., a White House official said in a brief statement.

When announcing his visit Tuesday, officials had stressed that it might not happen because of security concerns. But the Ukrainian president made it to the U.S. and his planned events with Biden are on schedule, according to the White House.

– Maureen Groppe

A timeline of Zelenskyy’s whirlwind trip to Washington

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington will be a whirlwind, over in just a matter of hours, before it’s back to Ukraine where Russia’s war still rages. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 2 p.m. Biden will greet Zelenskyy on the White House’s South Lawn.
  • 2:30 p.m. Biden and Zelenskyy will hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office where the two leaders are expected to discuss all aspects of the war. Biden will also commit nearly $2 billion in additional security assistance.
  • 4:30 p.m. Biden and Zelenskyy will hold a joint press conference from the East Room of the White House.
  • 6:15 p.m. Zelenskyy will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her office.
  • 7:30 p.m. Zelenskyy will deliver an address to a joint Congress, making the case for continued U.S. support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia. Zelenskyy is then expected to return immediately to Ukraine.

– Joey Garrison

Senate confirms new ambassador to Russia

Hours before Zelenskky was set to address Congress on Wednesday, the Senate confirmed a new ambassador to Russia.

Lynne Tracy, a veteran foreign service officer with extensive experience in Russian affairs, was confirmed 93-2. The previous ambassador left the post in September.

“Ambassador Tracy will not shy away from confronting Putin’s abuses,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said before the vote. “America needs her in her post. Europe needs her in her post. Ukraine needs her in her post.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., noted that Zelenskky is addressing Congress on the day of both the confirmation vote and as the Senate is considering a spending package that includes $44 billion in new aid for Ukraine.

“President Zelenskyy could not arrive at a more crucial moment for the Senate,” Schumer said.

– Maureen Groppe

U.S. to provide Patriot missile system, $1.85 billion in military aid to Ukraine

The U.S. announced an additional $1.85 billion in military assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday ahead of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the White House to meet with President Joe Biden.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the package includes the transfer of the Patriot Air Defense System – the most advanced air weaponry the Biden administration has provided Kyiv to date in its battle against Russia. 

Kyiv had long pressed for expanded air defense capabilities, and the inclusion of the Patriot system in the latest tranche of aid will help Ukraine to protect its military bases and civilian infrastructure from Russian missiles.

Total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine now stands at $21.9 billion, and lawmakers are looking to add billions more to the war effort in a spending deal that is currently under consideration in Congress.

– Francesca Chambers

Zelenskyy’s agenda for Biden meeting

Zelenskyy said he is coming to the United States “to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of Ukraine.”

“In particular, POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between the US and Ukraine,” he tweeted when the visit was announced.

Topics for his meeting with Biden will include weapons, energy, sanctions, and support for a peace formula and tribunal, according to the Ukrainian Embassy.

– Maureen Groppe

Biden and Zelenskky have talked `dozens’ of times

While Biden and Zelenskyy will be meeting for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Wednesday, they have been burning up the phone lines.

The leaders have held dozens of calls, most recently on Dec. 11, according to the White House. It was during that call that Zelenskyy’s trip was first discussed.

Days before the Russian invasion, Zelenskyy met with Vice President Kamala Harris in Germany.

He first met with Biden during an Oval Office visit in Sept. 2021, at which Biden reaffirmed his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and security.

– Maureen Groppe

Zelenskyy address to Congress will be longer than virtual appeal in March

Zelenskyy’s address to Congress is expected to last 20 minutes, which is slightly longer than the virtual appeal he made to lawmakers in March.

For that speech, members of Congress watched from an auditorium at the U.S. Capitol complex with Zelenskyy, speaking from Kyiv three weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, displayed on a large video screen.

Zelenskky invoked Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to implore the U.S. to help Ukraine. He ended his 16-minute address with a direct plea to Biden.

“President Biden, you are the leader of your great nation,” he said. “I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”

– Maureen Groppe

Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Zelenskyy is the sixth President of Ukraine, elected in April 2019. The 44-year-old unseated incumbent Petro Poroshenko with 73% of the vote. Poroshenko had been in office since 2014. 

Since Russia invaded in February 2022, Zelenskyy has been the face of Ukrainian resistance, notably for his visibility online and his pleas to other countries for support. 

Zelenskyy’s career in entertainment includes comedy, acting, screenwriting, producing and directing roles. In 2003, he founded production company Studio Kvartal 95 with school friends. Kvartal 95 produces films, cartoons and comedy shows, including “Servant of the People,” perhaps Zelenskyy’s most well-known role other than the highest seat in Ukraine.

It was a conversation between former President Donald trump and Zelenskyy that led to the House filing an impeachment inquiry against Trump in 2019. An unnamed official in the intelligence community filed a complaint saying Trump had a phone call with Zelenskyy where he reportedly urged the Ukrainian president to investigate Burisma Group, a Ukrainian energy company for which President Joe Biden’s son Hunter had served on the board of directors, as his administration was holding up millions of dollars in military aid for Ukraine approved by Congress.

After Trump was acquitted, Zelenskyy pushed back on Trump’s claims that Ukraine was a corrupt country.

– Clare Mulroy

When is Zelenskyy addressing Congress?

He’s scheduled to speak to a joint session (House and Senate) at 7: 30 p.m. The speech will take place in the House chamber.

Trump Jr. calls Zelenskyy an ‘ungrateful international welfare queen’

Donald Trump Jr., the son of the former president, called Zelenskyy “basically an ungrateful international welfare queen” in a tweet Wednesday as the Ukrainian president prepares to ask lawmakers for continued U.S. support to fight Russia.

Trump’s attack is indicative of growing skepticism among many Republicans over the billions in U.S. aid already provide to Ukraine and nearly $45 billion more that Congress might approve.

“Mitch McConnell actually said yesterday that most Republicans #1 priority is … Ukraine,” Trump Jr. tweeted. “I have yet to meet a single Republican that thinks that, but I guess the disconnect between actual republicans and DC swamp rats shouldn’t surprise anyone.”

– Joey Garrison

Schumer: Zelenskyy visit ‘a day to remember’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s upcoming speech to a joint session of Congress will be “a day to remember,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

“He will stand there as an ambassador of freedom itself,” he said.

Schumer added: “He arrives at a crucial moment for the Senate as we vote to approve more emergency funding to Ukraine.”

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Schumer said he’d like to see the chamber vote tonight on the omnibus, which would provide another $44 billion in aid to Ukraine.

– Candy Woodall

McCarthy, Republicans wary of writing ‘blank check’ to Ukraine

While both Democrats and many Republicans praise Zelenskyy as a hero fighting for democracy, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – who is running to be the next speaker when the GOP takes back the House Jan. 3 – has said he wouldn’t support writing a “blank check” to Ukraine.

Far-right conservatives have been less willing than other lawmakers on Capitol Hill to keep supporting Biden’s repeated calls for increased military and humanitarian aid. And McCarthy, R-Calif., has been listening to their concerns more closely these days as he tries to short up the votes he needs to win the speakership Jan. 3.

As Biden and Zelenskyy was meeting, Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale tweeted out a photo of Biden in the Oval Office handing the Ukrainian president an oversized check for ’47 billion in Taxpayer Dollars’.

“How can we send an additional $47 BILLION to Ukraine for security while terrorists, drugs, and criminals flood our southern border?,” tweeted Rosendale, incorrectly listing the aid as $47 billion instead of nearly $45 billion.

Dive deeper: 

The man leading the war effort:Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy? The past, present and future of the Ukrainian president

More aid for Ukraine:Lawmakers unveil bill to avoid government shutdown, boost Ukraine

Mercy mission:Christmas in Ukraine: Retired military couple helps remove bombs in war-torn country


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