What Are the Prospects of President Zelenskyy's Diplomatic Visit to the US?

December 22, 2022
UkraineWorld spoke to Ostap Yarysh, journalist at Voice of America's Ukrainian service.

Key points - in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

1. On President Zelenskyy's personal visit to Washington

  • This visit is President Zelenskyy's first time outside of Ukrainian territory since the start of Russia`s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, making it quite historic. The visit was kept secret, with the Ukrainian side finally confirming it only on December 18. That is, it was not clear until the end whether President Zelenskyy would be able to fly to the USA due to the situation at the front. 
  • It is essential to consider this visit in the context of the upcoming vote in Congress on the White House's request for additional $45 billion in funding for Ukraine. After the meeting with President Biden, Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of the US Congress in the evening.

2. On the importance Zelenskyy's personal visit

  • This visit was dedicated to securing solidarity for Ukraine in light of the worsening situation on the battlefield due to weather conditions and increasing Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure. We are talking about the announcement of one of the largest aid packages of military aid worth $2 billion, which includes Patriot air defense systems.

3. On the probable course of talk with President Biden 

  • According to American media reports, Volodymyr Zelenskyy will push the Biden Administration to deliver ATACMS missiles, which have a longer range of up to 300 km. The question remains whether the White House will agree to take this step. In the past, the US has expressed reluctance to provide these missiles.
  • In addition to the Patriot system, the military package is expected to contain equipment for converting Ukrainian missiles, making them highly accurate and smart. This will help create a multi-layered air defense system.

4. On importance of Patriot SAM systems

  • The Patriot SAM systems are localized systems designed to protect important objects (rather than cover a wide area). Col. Robert Hamilton (USAF, Ret.), in comments to Voice of America, indicated that he believes that Ukraine should deploy the system to protect critical facilities. 
  • Of course, a single battery will not solve the problem of Russia's massive missile salvos, so it is necessary to build a multi-layered defense system to create a shield over Ukraine. The Ukrainian military will have to undergo training on how to use and maintain the system in Europe. This will take several months.
Ostap Yarysh, journalist at Voice of America's Ukrainian service

This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.