President Joe Biden on Wednesday welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House, hailing him as “Man of the Year” during a meeting in the Oval Office.
“By the way, we have a famous thing that happens once a year, we pick Man of the Year in Time Magazine,” Biden said. “You are the man of the year in the United States of America.”
Zelensky’s trip to Washington, DC is the first time he has left Ukraine since Russia invaded his country.
He thanked Biden for his support, noting that they would meet and discuss the ongoing challenges they faced in the war with Russia.
“We control the situation thanks to your support, thanks to your support,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky tried to express his gratitude to the Americans for the help they had received.
“Truly, all my appreciation from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians, all Ukrainians,” he continued, speaking in English. “From our nations. Strong nations. All appreciation to you first and foremost, Mr. President, for your great support and leadership.
“Thank you also from ordinary people to your ordinary people, Americans,” he added. “I really appreciated.”
Zelensky wore a green hoodie, cargo pants and combat boots, presumably an attempt to symbolize his continuing role as president in the war to defend his country.
“It’s a great honor for me to be here,” he said.
Biden said he was “delighted” that Zelensky could make the trip and noted that he had “inspired the world” with his leadership.
“The American people proudly sided with them, Democrats and Republicans along with our allies in Europe, Japan and other places,” he said.
Biden said he would supply Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine and personnel to train them in the use of the defensive weapon.
“The United States stands with the great Ukrainian people, we stand with you, you were a great leader,” he said.
During their meeting in the Oval Office, Zelensky presented Biden with a medal that he said was given to him by a Ukrainian captain to give to Biden.
“Well, God loves you,” Biden said, as Zelensky handed him the medal.
“Well, undeserved but appreciated,” Biden said of the gift.
Biden said he would return the favor by giving the Ukrainian soldier a command coin.
Biden came out of the White House to personally greet Zelensky as he pulled into the South Porch driveway.
He shook Zelensky’s hand and tugged at his elbow to pull him in for a photo, prompting Zelensky to look at Biden who looked confused.
Zelensky’s visit comes as Congress prepares to approve another $45 billion to Ukraine on top of the already $66 billion in military and economic aid to the country.