President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in their meeting on Wednesday are expected to discuss what a ‘just peace’ looks like and a potential end to the war in Ukraine, according to a White House spokesperson.
“I have no doubt that they’re going to talk about President Zelensky’s notion of a just peace and what that looks like, what are the components of that and how do we help Ukraine get to that point,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told CNN on Wednesday.
Zelensky is traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet with Biden and address a joint session of Congress in an unprecedented visit aimed at underscoring American support for Ukraine nearly 10 months into its fight against Russia’s invasion.
Kirby said the visit comes as the war enters a new phase.
“We are in a new phase, if you will. This winter’s coming, Mr. Putin has stepped up his attacks on civilian infrastructure, civilian targets; air defense capabilities are now the most important capability that Ukraine needs and must have to help defend itself,” he said.
He added that “this was a good time for the two leaders to sit down face to face and talk about … how we eventually try to work toward what President Zelensky has called a just peace.”
Kirby blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for not being interested in diplomacy at this point in the invasion.
“No question about it, Mr. Putin is obviously not interested in diplomacy right now, quite the contrary. He’s interested in killing more civilian Ukrainians and knocking out the lights and knocking out the heat as the winter approaches. We also have to make sure that we also stay focused on the security assistance,” Kirby said.
Biden on Wednesday will announce an additional $2 billion in military aid that includes advanced air defenses to help Ukraine defend against Russian aerial onslaughts that are targeting its energy and electricity infrastructure.
The visit is the first time Zelensky has been known to leave Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February. Kirby said the White House is “working in lockstep” to make sure the trip to Washington is safe. Zelensky plans to leave the U.S. later on Wednesday evening.
Source: The Hill