Remarks by President Biden and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine in Joint Press Conference

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December 21, 2022

As part of his visit to the United States of America, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a meeting with U.S. President Joseph Biden.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Please, be seated.  Thank you.

President Zelenskyy, I’m honored to welcome you back to the White House.

We’ve spent an awful lot of time on the telephone as well as on video, but it’s good to see you in person again.  And we’ve been in close and frequent communication throughout this conflict from the very beginning, but particularly — it’s particularly meaningful to talk with one another in person — look each other in the eye, because leadership through this terrible crisis has inspired the Ukrainian people — as you have done, Mr. President — and the American people and the entire world.

This visit to Washington, your first trip outside Ukraine since February, comes as President Putin is escalating his attacks — his brutal attacks — targeting critical infrastructure to make life as hard as possible for not only innocent Ukrainians but children and young children, and everything from orphanages to schools.  It’s just outrageous what he’s doing.

As we’ve — as we’ve heard into — and as we head into the new year, it’s important for the American people and for the world to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to continue to stand together through 2023.

This visit also falls on the 300-day mark of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.  Three hundred days since Putin launched an unprovoked, unjustified, all-out assault on the free people of Ukraine.  Three hundred days of Ukrainian people showing Russia and the world their steel backbone, their love of country, and their unbreakable determination — and I emphasize “unbreakable determination” — to choose their own path.

To Ukrainian people, I say to them all: You have demonstrated — you have shown your strong stand against aggression in the face of the imperial appetites of autocrats who wrongfully believed you might — you might — they might be able to make might right, and they’re not able to do it.

Thus far, they have not — they’ve stood alone.  You know, and you’ve had — but you haven’t stood alone.  You have had significant, significant help.  We’ve never stand alone — you will never stand alone.

When Ukraine’s freedom was threatened, the American people — like generations of Americans before us — did not hesitate.

The support from all across this country, Americans of every walk of life — Democrats and Republicans alike — had the resources and the — to rebound in resounding, united way to do — provide unequivocal and unbending support for Ukraine.

Because we understand in our bones that Ukraine’s fight is part of something much bigger.  The American people know that if we stand by in the face of such blatant attacks on liberty and democracy and the core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the world would surely face worse consequences.

And as I said when Putin rolled his tanks into Ukraine in February: American — American people are prepared to have us stand up to bullies, stand up for freedom.  That’s who we are as Americans.  And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

Even before the invasion began and Putin threatened Ukraine by building up his forces, we helped make sure Ukraine would be prepared to defend itself — even before they crossed into Ukraine.

We provided a steady stream of defensive weapons, including air defense systems and artillery, ammunition, and so much more.  And we’ve not done it alone.

From the very beginning, the United States rallied allies and partners from around the world to stand strong with Ukraine and impose unprecedented — and I emphasize “unprecedented” — sanctions and export controls on Russia, making it harder for the Kremlin to wage its brutal war.

More than 50 nations have committed nearly 2,000 tanks and other armored vehicles; more than 800 artillery systems; more 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition; and more than fif- — more than 50 advanced multiple rocket launching systems; anti-ship and anti- — and air defense systems all to strengthen Ukraine.

Together, we’ve provided billions of dollars in direct budgetary support to make sure the Ukrainian government can keep providing basic, fundamental services to the Uranian [Ukrainian] people like healthcare, education, and emergency personnel.

This includes another $2 billion that — in direct budget support from the American people that the World Bank distributed earlier this week.

We’ve provided humanitarian assistance to help the millions of Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes because of Putin’s inhumane and brutal war.

Communities across Europe have opened their hearts and their homes to help Ukrainians in need.

The United States has been proud to welcome more than 221,000 Ukrainians seeking refuge since March of 2022, including as part of Uniting for Ukraine — as part of our Uniting for Ukraine program.

And today, USAID is committing more than $374 million in urgently needed humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.  This will help provide food and cash assistance for more than 1.5 million Ukrainian people, as well as access to healthcare, safe drinking water, and help stay warm in the winter to more than — for more than 2.5 million Ukrainians.

The United States and our allies and partners around the world have delivered a broad range of assistance at historic speed, and it’s been critical to bolstering Ukraine’s success thus far.

Ukraine has won the battle of Kyiv, has won the battle of Kherson, has won the battle of Kharkiv.  Ukraine has defied Russia’s expectations at every single turn.

And, President Velenskyy [sic] — Zelenskyy, you have made it clear he is open to pursuing a — well, let me put it this way: He’s not open, but you’re open to pursuing peace.  You’re open to pursuing a just peace.

We also know that Putin has no intention — no intention of stopping this cruel war.  And the United States is committed to ensuring that the brave Ukrainian people can continue — continue to defend their country against Russian aggression as long as it takes.

And I want to thank the members of Congress and their — for their broad bipartisan support to Ukraine.  And I look forward to signing the omnibus — omnibus bill soon, which includes $45 billion — $45 billion in additional funding for Ukraine.

I will also sign into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes authori- — authorities for — to make it easier for the Department of Defense to procure critical munitions and defense materials for Ukraine and other key materials to strengthen our national security.

Today, I’m announcing the next tranche of our security assistance to Ukraine: $1.85 billion package of security assistance that includes both direct transfers of equipment to — that Ukraine needs, as well as contracts to supply ammunition Ukraine will need in the months ahead for its artillery, its tanks, and its rocket launchers.

Critically, in addition to these new capabilities like precision aerial munitions, the package will include a Patriot missile battery, which will — and on which we’ll train Ukrainian forces to operate as part of the ongoing effort to help bolster Ukraine’s air defense.

It’s going to take some time to complete the necessary training, but the Patriot battery will be another critical asset for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression.

Altogether, today’s new security assistance with humanitarian funding amounts to $2.2 billion in additional support for the Ukrainian people.

We should be clear about what Russia is doing.  It is purposefully attacking Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, destroying the systems that provide heat and light to the Ukrainian people during the coldest, darkest part of the year.  Russia is using winter as a weapon — freezing people, starving people, cutting them off from one another.

It’s the latest example of the outrageous atrocities that Russian forces are committing against innocent Ukrainian civilians — children and their families.

And the United States is working together with our allies and partners to provide critical equipment to help Ukraine make emergency repairs to their power transmission system and strengthen the stability of Ukraine’s grid in the face of Russia’s targeted attacks.

We’re also working to hold Russia accountable, including efforts in Congress that will make it easier to seek justice for Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine.

Let me close with this: Tonight is the fourth nights of — night of Hanukkah, a time when Jewish people around the world — President Zelenskyy and many of the families among them — honor the timeless miracle of a small band of warriors fighting for their values and their freedom against a much larger foe, and how they endured and how they overcame; how the flame of faith, with only enough oil for one day, burned brightly for eight days.

A story of survival and resilience that reminds us that the coldest days of the year, that light will always prevail over darkness, and hope drives away despair; and that the human spirit is unconquerable as long as there are good people willing to do what is right.

This year has brought so much needless suffering and loss to the Ukrainian people.  But I want you to know, President Zelenskyy — I want you to know that — all the people of Ukraine to know as well: The American people have been with you every step of the way, and we will stay with you.  We will stay with you for as long as it takes.

What you’re doing, what you have achieved, it matters not just to Ukraine but to the entire world.

And together, I have no doubt we’ll keep the flame of liberty burning bright, and the light will remain and prevail over the darkness.

Thank you for being here, Mr. President.  We’re going to stand with you.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.

(As interpreted.)  Dear Mr. President — please put on the equipment.

Once again, Mr. President, President Biden, audience, journalists, ladies and gentleman: I came here to the United States to forward the thank — the word of thanks to the people of America, people who do so much for Ukraine.  I am thankful for all of this.

This visit to the United States became, really, a historic one for our relations with the United States and the American leadership.

In the last 30 [300] days of this war, we have started a new phase of our inter-relations with the United States.  We became real partners and allies with the content, and I felt today during all of my meetings and during our talks.

Once again, I would like to thank Mr. President, President Biden, for his candid support and what is very important — the understanding of Ukraine and for the support of the international coalition to strengthen international law.

I am grateful to President Biden for his personal efforts, his steps that unite the partners in Global South.

When all countries of the world take some position and are focusing on cooperation and mutual understanding, this is very useful for all of the countries — for Ukraine, for the United States.

I want to thank the Congress for bipartisan, bicameral support.  And I am looking forward to good meetings with the members of the Congress and their support.  This is the visit that I’m here today to meet with the Congress.

The main issue during today’s talks is to strengthen Ukraine next year — our movement forward to fight for our freedom and independence.

I have good news returning home: President Biden announced a new package of defense support — about 2 billion U.S. dollars.  And the strongest element of this package is the Patriot battery systems, something that will strengthen our air defense significantly.

This is a very important step to create a secure airspace for Ukraine.  And that’s the only way we would be able to deprive the terrorist country and their terror attack to strike our energy sector, our people, and our infrastructure.

We had a very good negotiation and talks about our strategic steps — which we discussed with President Biden — and what we expect next year and for what we are preparing.  This is very important for all Ukrainians, and I am hopeful.

And once again, thank you, Mr. President, for $45 billion, because this is a big assistance, and I hope that the Congress will approve this financial assistance for our country.  This is almost $45 billion.  Thank you very much for the support.  Every dollar of this investment for the United States is going to be a strengthening of global security.

I know that the American leadership will be strong and will play important role in global scope.  And the United States will help us to defend our values and independence.

And regardless of changes in the Congress, I believe that there will be bipartisan and bicameral support.  And I know that everybody works for this.

And, of course, during all of my meetings today, we discussed issues of a standoff against the terror of Russia, their destruction of our energy infrastructure.  We need to survive this winter.  We need to protect our people.  And we need to be very specific in this area.  This is a key humanitarian issue for us right now.  This is the survival issue.

We are discussing sanctions and legal pressure on the terrorist country of Russia.  Russia needs to be held accountable for everything it does against us, against our people, against Europe, and the whole free world.

And it is very important that we have the peace formula.  And for that, we offer very specific steps — what America can do to help us to implement them.

We propose global formula for peace summit.  I’m thankful for our American counterparts, that they feel us and understand how important it is to continue and stay on course and work on integrity of the country and international rule of law.

We will also need — as soon as our defense capabilities will be strengthened in the next few months.  I don’t want to discuss it in details right now.  I believe you understand why.  And I — but I am very grateful to President Biden.  Thank you for your attention to all of these issues.

Glory to Ukraine.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.


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