The American media are mostly optimistic about the results of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S.
The meeting with Ukraine’s leader was also regarded as positive by the U.S. President Joe Biden’s Administration, according to CNN, among other media. How successful was this visit in persuading American lawmakers to step up their support for Kyiv?
Did Zelenskyy persuade Republicans to support Kyiv?
After Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s meeting with President Joe Biden and his speech before the U.S. Congress, the White House stated that Ukraine’s President made a very compelling case about the need for sustained U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Although Republicans are taking over the House of Representatives as early as January 3 after they won the house election, a senior White House official said he believes that Zelenskyy managed to persuade them to side with Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech before the U.S. Congress [video]
"We think he made a compelling case to lawmakers and to the American people about the sacrifices that Ukraine has been and continues to make," the official emphasized.
He also affirmed that the White House didn't help Zelenskyy with his speech, as he didn’t seek help from them.
At the same time, nobody in Washington was surprised that the president of Ukraine asked for more support for Kyiv. They also said that President Biden "really enjoyed his time with Zelensky" and found him to be "energetic" and dedicated.
Sobering news for the U.S. from Zelenskyy
Analyzing Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to the Congress, CNN columnist Stephen Collinson notes that "Zelenskyy’s grit and defiance epitomize the nation he leads."
Unbroken and defiant, as the columnist puts it, Zelenskyy bore sobering news for the U.S.:
"A long, bloody battle for freedom, democracy, and ultimately, the survival of a nation Russian President Vladimir Putin says has no right to exist – a fight for which it’s still not clear the free world has the stomach – is nowhere near over."
Collinson describes Zelenskyy as a "comic actor-turned-wartime hero," while arguing that he has effectively put the fate of millions of Ukrainians in the hands of American lawmakers at a time when there is growing skepticism among the incoming Republican House majority about the cost of U.S. involvement in Kyiv’s war effort.
Americans were also impressed by the Ukrainian flag Zelenskyy brought from Bakhmut and presented to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Clinton: Zelenskyy’s address strengthened both Democrats and Republicans
According to CNN, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also assessed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to Congress positively.
She admitted that his speech was "extraordinary" and said Kyiv’s fight against Russian aggression has proven that they are a really good investment for the United States.
As Clinton said, the speech connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to Americans’ own feelings and their wish to be warm in their homes to celebrate Christmas and got them to "think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now."
The politician believes Zelenskyy’s historic address strengthened both Democrats and Republicans who understand what is at stake in this fight against Putin and now with his ally, Iran, as well.
Clinton emphasized that Zelenskyy didn’t ask for a "blank check" or to fight Ukraine’s war. Instead, he asked for the means to actually win.
Iran was affronted by Zelenskyy’s accusations
Meanwhile, Iran uttered a warning towards Volodymyr Zelenskyy who mentioned Tehran-supplied drones that attack Ukraine in his address to Congress.
The country whose Shaheds were sold to Russia and have been targeting infrastructure facilities in Ukraine for two months already, which was proved by numerous photos and video records of shot UAVs, stated that their "strategic patience for baseless accusations is limited."
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said the speech delivered by Zelenskyy repeated "accusations and indecent statements."
"Mr. Zelenskyy should learn from the fate of some leaders of countries who relied on America's support," the statement said.
How Zelenskyy appealed to Republicans using Iran
Meanwhile, David E. Sanger writes for The New York Times that Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s words said in Washington revealed his worries about the year ahead.
The columnist notes that, between the lines of his speech about Russia's failure to crush Ukraine, one could read doubts that the Russian forces can be vanquished anytime soon and fears that, in the second year of the full-fledged war, the resolve of his partners could falter.
He points out that the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine’s borders has many officials wondering if a humiliated President Vladimir Putin is plotting a new assault on Kyiv.
Therefore, Zelenskyy made the case in his address for the need to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. While asserting that the Western alliance was intact and was forcing Russia to retreat by providing Kyiv with ever-more-powerful weapons, he acknowledged the sheer mass of the Russian force now being reassembled.
So he asked for ever more weapons, stirring nervous laughter among American lawmakers, although they weren’t surprised. Trying to appeal to the Republicans who are reluctant to support Ukraine full steam ahead, he pointed to the alliance between Russia and Iran, stressing that it is just a matter of time before the aggressors strike against other U.S. allies.
"He made clear that the biggest mistake now would be to give Mr. Putin what the Russian autocrat most desires: time to let brutally low temperatures, extensive blackouts, water shortages, and a campaign of terror from the sky break Ukraine’s will," the author writes.