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As Zelenskyy Goes To Washington, Putin Increases Troop Numbers In Ukraine

The Kremlin says there is no silver lining from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, and that Russia does not think there is any prospect for peace talks with Ukraine. Instead, Putin has put his support behind a plan to increase Russian forces to 1.5 million, a 30% increase over current numbers. 

“Weapon supplies (by the US) continue, the assortment of supplied weapons is expanding. All this, of course, leads to an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, said.

Could something positive come from Zelenskyy’s trip, Peskov was asked

“No,” he riposted. 

Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of Congress on Wednesday on his first foreign trip since the Kremlin sent tens of thousands of troops to Kiev on Feb. 24. The United States is sending his country $1.8 billion in military aid, a large package which for the first time includes Patriot missiles and precision-guided bombs for its fighter planes, U.S. officials said, as Biden’s administration prepared to welcome Zelenskyy to Washington.    

Ukraine Government Photo
Photo: Ukraine Government

Zelenskyy is to deliver an address to Congress on Wednesday, his first trip outside of its country since Moscow’s invasion in February, according to the White House. The statement came just after the White House confirmed Zelenskyy was traveling to Washington for a visit expected to include an announcement on additional military assistance for Ukraine.    

The White House has been consulting with Zelenskyy, who is expected to ask about continued support and resources, about his safety in leaving Ukraine for and traveling to Washington, including the risks of Russian actions when Zelenskyy is out of Ukraine briefly, added the senior administration official, who declined to describe in detail measures taken to protect the Ukrainian leader.

Zelenskyy tweeted early Wednesday that an extended meeting will focus on strengthening the country’s resilience and defense capabilities. Zelenskyy said that the visit was focused on strengthening the resiliency and defense capabilities of Ukraine, in the face of repeated Russian attacks on the power supply and water supplies during the depths of winter.    

Cover Photo: Russian Government

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