Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may have several points to convey to U.S. President Joe Biden, Congress and the American people during his visit to the United States.
When the Ukrainian president arrived in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Pifer said on CNN that the first of those points might be gratitude.
“The United States has been an important partner for Ukraine as it repelled this unwarranted war of aggression that Vladimir Putin launched against Ukraine in February,” he said.
During his visit, Biden will announce an additional $1.8 billion in security aid to Ukraine, including the coveted Patriot missile system. In addition, Congress is poised to sign off on another $45 billion in aid to Ukraine and NATO allies, deepening a pledge to help Kyiv’s army at an unintended bloody cost to Putin’s army.
It was the basis for dozens of previous financial and military assistance programs provided by the United States since the war began.
Pifer said Zelensky will use his visit to demonstrate the need for such aid to continue as the war drags into winter. In his analysis, Pifer said Zelensky would likely try to argue that not only is it good for Ukraine, but that it is also in the interests of the United States to fight Russia.
“Going back 70 years, it’s in the US national interest to have a stable and secure Europe. If Russia wins this war, you won’t have that Europe. It will absorb more time and US resources,” he said.
Another point, Pifer said, is that “we don’t know how far Vladimir Putin’s ambitions will go.”
“When he talks about Ukraine, he’s not talking about a sovereign state, but what he calls a historic Russian land,” Pifer said, adding that it would be difficult for the United States and other allies to judge whether Russia would continue to invade other countries Parts of the region — including countries such as Poland, which are NATO members.