President Zelenskyy tells US law makers 'we are winning' against Russia on White House trip

The Ukrainian leader received a far quieter reception than the hero's welcome he got last year, ITV News' Correspondent Robert Moore reports from Washington

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy worked to boost US support for Ukraine on a whirlwind visit to Washington on Thursday.

He told lawmakers "they are winning" the war against Russia, as he was quizzed over the flow of US dollars which has helped his troops for 19 months.

The Ukrainian leader received a far quieter reception than the hero's welcome he got last year.

But he won generally favourable comments on the aid he says he needs to stave off defeat as he met top US politicians including President Joe Biden.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shakes hands with President Joe Biden as he arrives at the White House. Credit: AP

Zelenskyy came to the Capitol with a firm message of assurance, in private talks with Republican and Democratic leaders.

He also spoke with military leaders at the Pentagon and met with Biden at the White House.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin greeted the Ukrainian leader at the Pentagon without the usual ceremonial band or fanfare that is typical of a high-level visit.

At Congress, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not join House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries in greeting the Ukrainian president when he arrived at the Capitol.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is welcomed to the Capitol in Washington, by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Credit: AP

The Republican has been facing opposition among the far-right members of the party, who are aligned with former President Donald Trump, on his support for Ukraine.

Mr McCarthy also confirmed he declined Zelenskyy’s request for a joint session of Congress, as happened during his visit to Washington last winter.

He said there was not enough time for that on such short notice.

Republican House lawmakers questioned Zelenskyy on the way forward for Ukraine's counteroffensive, as the fight to push back Russian forces moves closer to the two-year mark without major breakthrough.

Zelenskyy conceded that "it’s very tough to overcome entrenched defences,” Independent Senator Angus King said.

“They believe they will make slow but steady progress, but it’s not going to be quick,” he added.

Thursday marks Zelenskyy's second visit to Washington since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

It comes as Biden's request to Congress for an additional $24 billion for Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs is hanging in the balance.

The US President has called on world leaders to stand strong with Ukraine, even as he faces domestic political divisions at home.

From left, General Mark Milley, Olena Zelenska, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Credit: AP

A hard-right flank of Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, Biden’s chief rival in the 2024 race for the White House, is increasingly opposed to sending more money overseas.

Zelenskyy received a warm welcome from both parties on his stop in the Senate.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who is trying to keep his party in line behind support for Ukraine, said afterward he was proud to welcome Zelenskyy to the Capitol.

“Americans’ support for Ukraine is not a charity,” he said. “It’s an investment in our own self-interest.”

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