President Biden confirmed on Wednesday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is on his way to Washington for his first foreign trip since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Zelensky, said the Ukrainian President will be seeking “weapons, weapons, and more weapons.” He said it’s important for Zelensky to “personally explain” why Ukraine needs certain types of weapons.
“In particular, armored vehicles, the latest missile defense systems, and long-range missiles,” Podolyak said. Ukraine is set to receive some of the new weapons that it seeks. A senior US official told Reutersthat Biden is expected to announce a new $2 billion arms package for Ukraine that will include Patriot missile defense systems for the first time.
The Patriots are an advanced system that will take six months to train Ukrainians how to use. Russia has repeatedly warned against the US providing Patriots, saying they will be a legitimate target for Russian forces.
While in Washington, Zelensky is expected to address Congress, which is set to pass $45 billion in new aid for Ukraine, bringing total US spending on the war to about $112 billion. The Ukrainian leader addressed Congress virtually back in March and asked for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would require the US to shoot down Russian warplanes and bomb missile systems inside Russia.