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Zelenskyy, hitting emotional chord, asks for more aid amid growing disquiet in US about having to foot war bill

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WASHINGTON: Asserting that Ukraine is “alive and kicking” and “will never surrender,” to Russian aggression, the country’s embattled President Voldymyr Zelensky on Wednesday made an impassioned plea for continued and enhanced American aid, warning that “it is just a matter of time when they will strike against your other allies if we do not stop them now.”
In an emotional address to a joint session of the US Congress that received him with a standing ovation despite skepticism from a few pro-Trump lawmakers, Zelenskyy said, “Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
The Ukrainian President made a lightning half-day trip to Washington DC, brought here by a US military aircraft, to meet President Biden, key US lawmakers, and address the American people, even as the US establishment folded a massive $ 45 billion military support to fend off Russia into a domestic spending bill. Biden also announced he’d send Patriot missile system to Ukraine to counter Russian missile attacks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: ‘We will never surrender’ on visit to the United States

But Zelensky indicated that more would be needed even as some angry lawmakers and activists pointed out that the nearly $ 100 billion the US had committed to the war effort was more than Russia’s annual defense budget of $ 65 billion.
“$100 billion to Ukraine. Let’s put that in perspective. That’s more than $200 million this year from each Congressional district. What could your congressman have done for your district with $200 million? How long will the kids in your district be paying interest on this debt?” asked Congressman Thomas Massie, a Republican lawmaker who said American are “growing very weary of funding this war.”
Massie was among several lawmakers from the right who boycotted Zelensky’s address, while other pro-Trump lawmakers like Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz did not join the ovation from the majority, drawn from both parties.
Zelensky also came under withering attack from former President Donald Trump’s son Trump Jr, who called him “an ungrateful international welfare queen,” while Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused him of dressing like the “manager of a strip club demanding money” amid the United States’ own woes.

Ukraine President Zelenskyy gets hero’s welcome in White House on first foreign trip after Russia’s invasion

Ukraine President Zelenskyy gets hero’s welcome in White House on first foreign trip after Russia’s invasion

But Zelensky, dressed in a camouflage olive green sweatshirt, hit an emotional chord among many moderate lawmakers from both parties, warning then that the battle to defeat Russia “cannot be frozen or postponed. It cannot be ignored, hoping that the ocean or something else will provide a protection.”
“From the United States to China, from Europe to Latin America, and from Africa to Australia, 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 cautioned, invoking the sorry image of a cold, dark Christmas that Ukrainians would endure in pursuit of victory even as Russia is decimating its energy infrastructure.
Zelensky also sought to provoke US lawmakers by drawing attention to what he projected as a “terrorist” alliance between Russia and Iran.
Despite the emotional bonding between Zelensky and establishment politicians in Washington, there is growing disquiet among the American public about bankrolling another distant war.
Hours after meeting Zelensky, President Biden, who pulled out of Afghanistan because he did not want the US to be involved in an “endless war,” tweeted that the US is committed to supporting the Ukrainian people for “as long as it takes.”

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