WASHINGTON - Presidents Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Joe Biden showed solidarity at the White House on Wednesday in the first foreign trip of the war for the Ukrainian leader, as the United States announced new military aid including Patriot missiles.
Zelenskiy plans to seek more support during the trip. The Ukrainian president, wearing his trademark olive green pants and sweater, Biden and first lady Jill posed on the White House before the two leaders spoke at the Oval Office in front of reporters.
''It's an honor to be your side in the united defense against what is a brutal, brutal war'', said Biden of Europe's biggest land conflict since World War Teo, which has killed tens of thousands, driven millions from their homes and reduced cities to ruins.
"It's hard to believe: 300 days," Biden said of the invasion. Some in Moscow expected the campaign to achieve a rapid victory; instead the conflict has ground on.
''The war is not over'', Zelenskiy told Biden, presenting him with a medal as he expressed gratitude for the U.S. president's role in helping Ukraine and rallying support.
''Thanks from our ordinary people to your ordinary people, Americans''.
The pair will participate in a joint news conference after talks then go to Capitol Hill to address a joint session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the United States would provide another $1.85 billion in military aid for Ukraine including a Patriot air defence system to help it war off barrages of Russian missiles.
Ukraine in recent weeks has come under repeated Russian missile and drone strikes targeting its energy infrastructure, leaving millions of people without electricity or running water in the dead of a freezing winter.
The Patriot missile is deemed to be one of the most advanced U.S. air defence systems, offering protection against attacking aircraft as well as cruise and ballistic missiles.
Zelenskiy's political adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the visit would allow Ukraine to explain the need for more advanced weaponry. Some U.S. Republicans have expressed skepticism.
"...Weapons, weapons and more weapons," he told Reuters in written comments about goals for the trip. "In particular, armoured vehicles, the latest missile defence systems and long-range missiles."