The key moment of the Biden-Zelenskyy meeting

28 December 2022, 02:00 PM
US President Joe Biden invited Volodymyr Zelenskyi not only for a meeting, but also for a speech in Congress (Photo:Reuters)

US President Joe Biden invited Volodymyr Zelenskyi not only for a meeting, but also for a speech in Congress (Photo:Reuters)

My conclusion: Zelenskyy's visit is not over

U.S. President Joe Biden invited Volodymyr Zelenskyy not only for a White House meeting, but also for an address before Congress. He needed this speech in Congress by Zelenskyy on the eve of the new Congress, where there will be a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and and the attacks of the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party on Biden's policy regarding aid to Ukraine have intensified.

Video of day

In this sense, of course, Zelenskyy's speech made a great impression. We saw him interrupted by standing ovations numerous times, and his performance helped Biden solidify his position against attacks from conservative Republicans.

Biden used this opportunity to, in a solemn atmosphere, finally hand over the first Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine, which it had been demanding for a long time. This, of course, is a very positive result.

But the most important moment, it seems to me, was during the Biden-Zelenskyy press conference when a Ukrainian journalist asked why America would not provide the ATACMS long-range missiles that could stop Russia’s campaign of destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure. After all, if Ukraine had these missiles, the Russians would know that for every strike on Kharkiv or Dnipro, they would receive a strike on Kursk and Voronezh, and for a strike on Kyiv, a strike on Moscow.

This moment was the most important.

 This moment was the most important. Biden's response was rather evasive. He explained this by the fact that he cannot agree to a maximalist program of providing weapons to Ukraine, because, according to him, this would violate the unity of the West, NATO, and the EU. That is, Biden made it clear that not all U.S. NATO allies would agree with such a decision.

Well, this was quite a controversial contention on his part, especially since he further explained why they would disagree. He said that certain partners in the Western alliance want to help Ukraine, but do not want the escalation of the conflict and a Third World War with Russia.

But what does it mean that they don't want an escalation of the conflict?! It turns out that this allows Putin the prerogative for the maximum escalation of the conflict - to the level of genocide of the Ukrainian people, while the West is afraid to respond by providing Ukraine with missiles capable of reaching the depths of Russian territory. This is a very weak and unconvincing point in the Western position.

My suggestion would be for Zelenskyy to use his next visit to Great Britain (and I think this visit will take place) for this purpose. Let's recall that British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said ten days ago that if the US does not dare to provide ATACMS missiles, then Great Britain can provide missiles with a similar range.

It seems to me that the first successful stage of the American visit should be supplemented by a British one, where Ukraine should raise the issue of the provision of these missiles by Great Britain.

The UK has played a prominent role in supporting Ukraine. In the first months of the war, it was the position of Boris Johnson, when he was Prime Minister, that pushed the internal debate within the Biden Administration in favor of Lloyd Austin and Anthony Blinken, who supported more decisive help for Ukraine, and away from the more cautious, soft-on-Russia approach of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

At this critical moment which has now developed in the war between Russia and Ukraine, the UK can once again play a decisive role.

Therefore, my conclusion is that Zelenskyy's visit is not over. He was very successful in Washington, and he needs to continue and consolidate this success in London.

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