Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, greeted by President Biden and first lady Jill Biden for the start of an unprecedented first trip to Washington since the Russia war began.
Zelensky pulled up in a black SUV, featuring an American flag and a Ukrainian flag, that let him out on the South Lawn entrance.
The Ukrainian president, who was wearing his signature green long-sleeve sweater, shook hands with the Bidens, and the three stood for a photograph for a few seconds in front of the South Lawn entrance. They then turned and entered the White House, where the president put his arm on Zelensky’s shoulder.
Upon entrance to the Oval Office, President Biden told Zelensky, “I’m delighted you could make the trip.”
During remarks at the top of a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, President Biden addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he was “escalating his assault on civilians” and that he was trying to “use winter as a weapon.”
Zelensky, who said he wanted to come to the U.S. sooner, said he offered “all my appreciations from my heart and from the heart of all Ukrainians.” He also thanked the president, Congress and “ordinary people” for the support from the U.S. toward Ukraine.
Zelensky then presented President Biden with a medal given to him from a Ukrainian soldier.
The bilateral meeting is expected to last for two hours and will be followed by a joint press conference at 4:30 p.m.
The White House notified reporters that Zelensky landed in the U.S. around 1 p.m.
Updated 2:39 p.m.