Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surprisingly visited the United States on December 21, 2022, as part of a top-secret mission and delivered a powerful speech to the Congress in Washington.
The trip was the president's first foreign visit since the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February. The announcement of the trip was made by the president himself. He took to Twitter to reveal that he was on his way to the United States, but his mode of transportation remained undisclosed at the time of his post.
Zelensky's visit was initially a secret, with confirmation of the trip arriving hours before the president arrived in the US. Multiple media houses reported that the politician was reportedly in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on the evening of December 20 and took a plane to the US in the early hours of the following day.
Following the end of the president's visit, The Daily Mail confirmed that he allegedly flew to Washington with the help of secret NATO spy planes and fighter jets.
The publication also noted that he was allegedly escorted in a US Air Force Boeing C-40 after crossing Poland via train to arrive at an airport in Rzeszow.
His speech at the US Congress was reportedly scheduled for the afternoon of the same day.
Speaking at the Congress meeting, Zelensky said that he was "very privileged" to be at the venue:
“It’s a great honor for me to be at the U.S. Congress and speak to you and all Americans.”
He addressed the situation in Ukraine and said that the country is still "alive and kicking":
“Against all odds and doom-and-gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking. Thank you. And it gives me good reason to share with you our first, first joint victory: We defeated Russia in the battle for minds of the world.”
The president also praised Americans and Europeans in his speech and continued:
“Americans gained this victory, and that’s why you have succeeded in uniting the global community to protect freedom and international law. Europeans gained this victory, and that’s why Europe is now stronger and more independent than ever.”
Zelensky also thanked America for its financial assistance and said:
“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
He also mentioned that he was thankful that President Joe Biden supported the "peace initiative."
Zelensky also reminded the audience that Christmas is around the corner, but this festive season would be different for his country:
“Ladies and gentlemen, Americans, in two days we will celebrate Christmas. Maybe candlelit. Not because it’s more romantic, no, but because there will not be, there will be no electricity. Millions won’t have neither heating nor running water.”
However, he mentioned that Ukraine would not "complain, judge and compare" their situation with the ones whose lives are easier. Instead, the nation will still celebrate the festive season irrespective of the odds:
“We’ll celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Christmas and, even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith in ourselves will not be put out.”
According to BBC News, the White House confirmed that a new package of nearly $2bn will be provided to Ukraine for security assistance. The package would also include a new Patriot missile system that will help Ukraine to protect its cities from missiles and drones.
A look into Volodymyr Zelensky's journey to the US
Volodymyr Zelensky flew to the United States on December 21, 2022, from Ukraine’s Bakhmut city. However, his journey remained a secret until the president tweeted about his trip from the flight onboard Washington.
According to Aero Time, nearly an hour after the president's tweet, a US government Boeing C-40B took off from Poland's Rzeszow airport (RZE). Meanwhile, TV network TVP24 shared a picture of the politician at Rzeszow train station, indicating he had arrived in Poland by rail and departed from RZE.
The flight's route, which traversed Polish, German and British airspace, led to speculation about Zelensky being onboard, as per Aero Time. It also became the most-tracked flight on the flight tracking service Flightradar24.
Tracking services reportedly lost track of the flight as it flew over the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 300 kilometers (180 miles) off the Scottish and located it again near the Canadian coast.
The plane reportedly landed at US Air Force base Joint Base Andrews at approximately 12 am EST. The Daily Mail later reported that a top-secret fleet of NATO spy planes and fighter jets allegedly helped Zelensky fly to Washington.
The publication confirmed that the president was reportedly placed in a US Air Force Boeing C-40 Clipper as part of the "cloak-and-dagger operation" after he crossed Poland by train and transferred to an airport in Rzeszow.
As per The Daily Mail, a German Boeing AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control) spy plane safely navigated the president as he flew across the North Sea before a US Air Force F-15 fighter jet escorted the clipper.
Following his arrival in Washington, Zelensky met Biden at the Oval Office and delivered his speech to the Congress.