Volodymyr Zelensky Presses Joe Biden for ‘More’ Missile Defense Systems to Defend Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed to President Joe Biden on Wednesday that he would continue to press for the United States to send more missile defense systems to Ukraine, during a press conference at the White House.
Biden announced his decision to send an additional $1.85 billion package to Ukraine for its defense as well as Patriot missile defense systems.
But Zelensky previewed requests for even more systems, noting that after the Patriots were installed, “After that we will send a signal to Biden that we would like to get more Patriots.”
“We’re working on it,” Biden replied quickly.
“We are in war. I’m sorry. I am really sorry,” Zelensky added in English. “That is my appreciation.”
President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, December 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Biden appeared annoyed after a Ukrainian reporter asked him during the press conference why the United States was not sending heavier and more defense weapons to help Ukraine win the war.
“His answer is ‘Yes,’” Biden replied, answering the question for Zelensky, who laughed and replied, “I agree.”
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) welcomes President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House on December 21, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Biden reminded Ukrainians that the United States had given Ukraine all the weapons they needed to defend themselves and warned that rapidly sending additional weapons might “break up NATO and the European Union.”
“Mr. President, you don’t have to worry,” Biden continued, turning to Zelensky. “We are staying with Ukraine as long as Ukraine is there.”
Biden was effusive with his admiration for Zelensky.
“This guy in his very soul is who he says he is,” he said. “It’s clear who he is. He’s willing to give his life for his country.”
Zelensky also praised Biden and thanked him for his leadership and support.
“I respect him as a person, as a president, as a human being,” he said.
During the press conference, Zelensky did not discuss options for peace in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
When a reporter asked about what peace with Russia might look like, Zelensky replied, “Peace is no compromises as to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of my country.”
“I think we share the exact same vision — that a free, independent, prosperous and secure Ukraine is the vision,” he said.
“We both want this war to end… and it could end today if Putin had any dignity,” Biden continued. “But it’s not going to happen, and it’s not going to happen now.”