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What Zelenskyy wanted from the U.S., what Kyiv received, and how Putin broke his own law

A U.S. bill on war criminals and Putin’s lies: highlights from the news

A U.S. bill on war criminals and Putin’s lies: highlights from the news

The Western media are analyzing the visit of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the U.S., Congress passed a bill preventing Russian war criminals from seeking refuge in the U.S., while Donald Trump was recommended to be barred from holding public office.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin used the word "war" for the first time since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, thus breaking his own law that resulted in the prosecution of several thousand people.

The Page offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the December 19–23 business week.

Zelenskyy in the U.S.: new details of the visit of Ukraine’s President

Zelenskyy has been planning to visit the U.S. for a few months. Photo: Getty Images

Zelenskyy has been planning to visit the U.S. for a few months. Photo: Getty Images

American and other Western media continue to cover the details of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S.

In particular, according to The Washington Post, when a U.S. military aircraft landed in Rzeszow, Poland, on Tuesday, December 20, the plane crew thought they were picking up the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a few high-level Ukrainian officials.

They didn’t know that one of those officials was Zelenskyy. The newspaper points out that Ukraine’s president used his brief visit to Washington to convince Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress that Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy believes that Zelenskyy’s speech makes it more likely that Republicans who are on the fence won’t join the anti-Ukraine crowd.

The Post also notes that the Ukrainian president had made it clear to Biden for several months that he wanted to make the United States his first visit outside Ukraine, but it had been too dangerous until December 2022.

The possibility of this visit has been discussed since October, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, in Zagreb, Croatia.

The final catalyst for the visit was a December 11 phone call between Biden and Zelensky. On December 14, the White House sent a formal invitation to Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy persuaded Congress to pass two bills. Photo: Getty Images

Zelenskyy persuaded Congress to pass two bills. Photo: Getty Images

Besides his speech in Congress, where Zelenskyy addressed the concerns of conservatives, and talks with Biden, he also had closed-door discussions with lawmakers, expressing support for a measure allowing the U.S. to transfer the proceeds of seized Russian property to Ukraine and a resolution recognizing a Russian genocide in Ukraine.

Why Zelenskyy didn’t receive ATACMS and fighter jets

The New York Times in its article calls Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. a triumph: it resulted in the U.S. pledging $2 billion in new arms and equipment, as well as a likely commitment from Congress for nearly $50 billion in additional aid next year.

Sadly, Ukraine’s president didn’t get what he wanted most: American battle tanks, fighter jets, and long-range precision missiles.

However, John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, said that the United States would provide the equipment that Ukraine needs—in particular, a battery of Patriot air defenses, which Kyiv has requested for months.

There are three categories of weapons the U.S. won’t give Zelenskyy. What are the reasons? Photo: Getty Images

There are three categories of weapons the U.S. won’t give Zelenskyy. What are the reasons? Photo: Getty Images

The weapons the U.S. is reluctant to give Ukraine so far fall into three categories:

  • the ATACMS long-range missiles, out of fears that Ukraine could use them to strike targets in Russia. Biden believes that this might provoke Putin and rupture the unity of NATO members who fear a war with Russia;
  • armed MQ-1C Gray Eagle and MQ-9 Reaper drones—Pentagon officials have expressed concerns that Russia could gain access to advanced American technology;
  • the Abrams battle tank and F-16 fighter jets—Pentagon officials say Ukraine already has enough tanks and fighter jets from other countries, and new tanks and aircraft would take months to master.

Senator Christopher Murphy commented on Ukraine’s president aspirations:

Quote"Zelensky is always asking for the sky, and that’s perfectly appropriate, and it’s our job to make sure his job is nimble enough to meet the moment. We also do have an obligation to the taxpayers to not waste money."

Russian war criminals won’t be allowed a safe haven in the U.S.

The U.S. Congress passed a bill on war criminals because of the war in Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. Congress passed a bill on war criminals because of the war in Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

On December 22, Congress approved a bill to expand the U.S. government’s power to prosecute international war crimes suspects who are in the United States, the NYT reports.

The new legislation allows them to be tried in a federal court regardless of the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator, or where the crime was committed.

The Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act was adopted amid reports of Russian forces committing war crimes in Ukraine.

The United States will henceforth no longer be seen as a potential haven for war criminals.

Quote"By passing this vital legislation, we are sending a clear message to Vladimir Putin: Perpetrators committing unspeakable war crimes, such as those unfolding before our very eyes in Ukraine, must be held to account," Senator Richard Durbin, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

Investigation of the attack on the Capitol: what awaits Trump

Trump may be prevented from running for the presidency. Photo: Getty Images

Trump may be prevented from running for the presidency. Photo: Getty Images

The congressional panel investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has accused former President Donald Trump of a conspiracy to overturn his election defeat, the BBC writes.

The panel has released its final 845-page report on the attack. It places the blame for the January 6, 2021 storming of Congress squarely on the former president.

Trump had refused to cooperate with the panel and declared the final report a "witch hunt" after its release.

Here are the six key findings, which were released on Thursday, December 22:

  • 1) Trump made false claims, although he knew from his aides they were untrue—thus, his decision to falsely declare victory on election night 2020 was deliberate;
  • 2) Trump's rhetoric brought rioters to Washington, which means the attack on the Capitol was provoked by Trump himself. Thus, on December 19, 2020, Trump tweeted:
Quote"Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"
  • 3) Trump failed to act during the riot—in particular, he did not take action as the January 6 attack commenced and ignored warnings about it coming from Congress;
  • 4) Far-right groups acted according to a previously developed plan—in December 2020, the FBI was sent messages about armed groups led by the far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys targeting Washington;
  • 5) Trump tried to pressure his vice-president to overturn the election results and declare him the victor;
  • 6) Among the committee’s recommendations was the proposition to bar Trump from holding public office. Trump was referred to the Department of Justice for assisting or aiding an insurrection.

Russian authorities were asked to prosecute Putin for saying the word "war"

Putin lies about the Patriot air defense system being obsolete. Photo: Getty Images

Putin lies about the Patriot air defense system being obsolete. Photo: Getty Images

On Thursday, December 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin used the word "war" to refer to the conflict in Ukraine, the first time he has publicly deviated from his calling it a "special military operation", CNN reports.

Quote"Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war," Putin said verbatim.

Interestingly, using the word "war" to describe the Ukraine conflict has effectively been illegal in Russia since March, so Putin’s use of the word did not go unnoticed.

In particular, Nikita Yuferev, a municipal lawmaker from St. Petersburg who fled Russia, asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for "spreading fake information about the army." He pointed out that several thousand people have already been condemned for such words.

Moreover, speaking to reporters in Moscow, Putin said the Patriot systems were "old" and "worse than Russia’s S-300," stating that Russia will "always find the antidote."

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