Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the US Congress that he proposed a 10-point “peace formula” during his meeting with President Joe Biden, which he hoped would result in joint security guarantees for decades ahead.
Zelenskyy, 44, met President Biden in the Oval Office and jointly addressed a press conference at the White House on Wednesday.
He was given the rare distinction of addressing a joint session of the US Congress on a day packed with back-to-back meetings.
“We need peace. Ukraine has already offered proposals, which I just discussed with President Biden, our peace formula, ten points which should and must be implemented for our joint security guarantees for decades ahead. And the summit, which can be held,” Zelenskyy said in his historic address to the joint session of the Congress.
He said that any such discussions would also depend on Russia’s willingness to negotiate and the participation of the international legal order, even as he slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine.
“It would be naive to wait for steps towards peace from Russia which enjoys being a terrorist state. Russians are still poisoned by the Kremlin. The restriction of international legal order is our joint task,” Zelenskyy noted.
Zelensky — wearing his trademark combat-green sweatshirt and boots — expressed hope that Congress would pass the extra USD 45 billion in aid to Ukraine to “help us to defend our values, values and independence”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Biden welcomed Zelenskyy to the Oval Office, saying the US and Ukraine would continue to project a “united defence” as Russia wages a “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.”
Zelenskyy, on his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February, said he wanted to visit earlier and his visit now showed the “situation is under control, because of your support.”
He said the people of Ukraine will also go through their war of independence and freedom with dignity and success.
“We’ll celebrate Christmas. And even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith in ourselves will not be put out,” he said.
“If Russian missiles attack us, we’ll do our best to protect ourselves. If they attack us with Iranian drones and our people will have to go to bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians will still sit down at the equality table and cheer up each other. And we don’t have to know everyone’s wish as we know that all of us, millions of Ukrainians, wish the same victory,” he explained.
Zelenskyy said the battle is not only for the life, freedom and security of Ukrainians, or any other nation which Russia attempts to conquer.
“This struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live, and then their children and grandchildren.
It will define whether it will be a democracy of Ukrainians and for Americans, for all,” he added.
Zelenskyy came to the US after making a daring trip on Tuesday to the front line of the ongoing conflict, to the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s contested Donetsk province.