Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is planning to meet with President Biden at the White House on Wednesday on his first foreign trip since Russia invaded Ukraine, CNN reported on Monday.
Sources told CNN that the plan hadn’t been finalized due to security concerns, and the White House declined to comment on Zelensky’s potential visit. On Tuesday, Zelensky visited the city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk oblast, where Ukrainian forces have been locked in brutal battles with Russia for months.
If he makes the trip to Washington, Zelensky might also address Congress. The Ukrainian leader addressed Congress virtually back in March and asked for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would require the US to shoot down Russian warplanes and bomb missile systems inside Russia.
The report said the Zelensky-Biden meeting is supposed to coincide with the US announcing a new weapons package for Ukraine, which will include Patriot missile defense systems for the first time. Providing Patriots would mark another escalation of US military aid to Ukraine, and Russia has repeatedly warned against the move, saying that the systems would be legitimate targets.
Patriots are an advanced air defense system and are sought after by many US allies. It would take about six months to train Ukrainians to use the Patriot missiles, and the training is expected to take place in Germany.