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Former President George W. Bush praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the “Churchill of our time” following a virtual meeting Thursday.
“I was honored to spend a few minutes talking with President Zelenskyy – the Winston Churchill of our time – this morning. I thanked the President for his leadership, his example, and his commitment to liberty, and I saluted the courage of the Ukrainian people,” Bush said in a statement.
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“President Zelenskyy assured me that they will not waver in their fight against Putin’s barbarism and thuggery. Americans are inspired by their fortitude and resilience. We will continue to stand with Ukrainians as they stand up for their freedom,” he added.
Zelenskyy’s office detailed the call and said he thanked the former president for the support of the U.S.
“Americans are sincere, open-minded people, and I feel it. We have common values. I feel that it is from the heart,” Zelenskyy reportedly told Bush. “Our conversation is important to me because you are an example of a strong leader.”
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Zelenskyy drew on the events surrounding Sept. 11, 2001 and recalled how many Ukrainians at the time “sympathized with the American people and shared the pain.”
Though Ukraine is not a NATO member nation, it supplied troops for the war in Afghanistan during the aftermath of 9/11 as part of the International Security Assistance Force.
The U.S. has been a leading nation in support of Kyiv during Russia’s more than 10-week long war and has supplied billions of dollars-worth of defensive aid.
Late last month President Biden requested another $33 billion from Congress to provide security, economic and humanitarian aid to counter Russia’s aggression.
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The monumental sum has not yet been agreed to on the Hill and politics closer to home – like infighting over immigration reform and COVID funding – could derail the package.
Russia has increased its aggression in Ukraine by focusing its efforts in the eastern and southern regions of the country – an effort that if successful would create a land bridge from occupied-Crimea and give Russian dominance over all of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.