Ukraine flags vie with Christmas decor as Zelenskyy visits Washington

WASHINGTON: A few days before the year-end holiday, downtown Washington D.CWednesday’s streets were filled not only with Christmas decorations but also with the flag of Ukrainemarked Volodymyr’s surprise visit to the American capital Zelenskyy .
Pennsylvania Avenue, the great avenue connecting White House and Congress, were blocked for a one-day visit by the president of Ukraine, while the yellow and blue Ukrainian banners were combined with the red, white and blue colors of the US flag.
Outside the White House, Zelenskyy’s first stop of the day, television cameras from around the world were on hand to capture the wartime leader’s visit, the only trip outside the country to be seen. known to him since the Russian invasion exactly 300 days ago.
Americans call him a hero and compare the visit of the British prime minister Winston Churchillwho went to Washington in 1941 and addressed Congress on wartime cooperation between the two allies — as Zelenskyy did later on Wednesday night.
Before speaking at a special joint session of the National Assembly, Zelenskyy was greeted by the President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, where they sat by the crackling fireplace.
In the cold weather outside, Ukraine supporters lined up security fences to show their support.
Yaremaa 17-year-old Ukrainian student in the United States, wrapped in the Ukrainian flag, in the hope of meeting Zelenskyy as well as visiting the city.
“I want to show my support for our president and my support for Ukraine,” he said.
When asked what Zelenskyy should ask of Biden, Yarema replied: “Weapons, weapons and even more weapons.”
Bakhtiar Mendybay, 35, who traveled nearly an hour with his children from his Virginia home to the White House, said he couldn’t miss the event.
He was in one hand on a cart and in the other holding a sign showing Zelenskyy y calling for more weapons.
“I am here today to welcome the greatest man alive,” said the Kazakh native, who, like Ukraine, was once part of the Soviet Union and is still under considerable Russian influence.
“Ukrainians, they are fighting for everyone, including my country, my people. I mean, they stand up against Russian imperialism,” said Mendybay, who has lived in the US. 10 years, say.
Security was tight, with hundreds of police and Secret Service agents on standby for Zelenskyy’s visit.
“We know very well that Russia has assets in this country and might be trying to do something about it,” a senior US congressional police official told ABC television.
“We know what is at stake,” the official said.
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, across Washington’s City Hall illuminated in blue and yellow, lawmakers and top Biden administration officials gathered to hear Zelenskyy’s speech first. Congress.
Many members of the audience wore blue vests or with yellow accents in honor of the visit, while some male members pinned the Ukrainian flag on their lapels.
Stepping into the Chamber of Deputies, where members are expected to pass another major aid deal to Ukraine later this week, Zelenskyy received a standing ovation.
Some Republicans have close ties to former president Donald Trump, who has expressed concern about US support for Ukraine, especially refusing to welcome it.
Zelenskyy’s English speech lasted more than 20 minutes, with more applause and occasional bursts of laughter, such as when the president of Ukraine – a former comedian – – Risky pun on Vladimir Putin’s name.
After exchanging a Ukrainian flag from the front lines of the war with an American flag that flew Wednesday over the US Capitol, Zelenskyy left in another round of applause.
A group of Ukrainians in the guest area chanted “Slava Ukraini” (“Hello Ukraine”), with several American lawmakers on the room floor joining in.


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