(breitbart) – Russia’s government spokesmen and diplomats responded scathingly to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s brief visit to Washington, DC, on Wednesday, mocking it as a “Hollywood-style trip” and claiming it confirmed America’s resolve to engage in a “proxy war” with Moscow.
Zelensky arrived in D.C. as lawmakers mull over an end-of-year omnibus spending bill that would grant his government $45 billion in humanitarian and weapons aid, potentially bringing the total American taxpayers’ dollars spent on Ukraine this year to upwards of $110 billion. While some Republicans have questioned the wisdom of such an expense, Zelensky was greeted warmly in Congress on Wednesday evening, receiving bipartisan applause.
Ukraine and Russia have been at war since at least 2014, when Russian leader Vladimir Putin invaded and colonized Ukraine’s Crimea. The Russian government has been aiding a separatist insurgency in the Donbas region since then, as well, and vocally condemning a popular uprising that year that resulted in the ouster of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. The Kremlin considers Zelensky an illegitimate “Nazi” leader because of Yanukovych’s departure, though Zelensky defeated Yanukovych’s successor, Petro Poroshenko, in the 2019 presidential election.
The war escalated in February, however, when Putin announced a “special operation” to oust Zelensky. Rather than rely on proxy forces in Donbas, Putin sent in the Russian military. Zelensky responded by urging the world to aid his military, resulting in billions in American funds and weapons.
Zelensky’s visit to Washington – to both thank Americans and ask them to invest even more in his military – proves America’s desire to engage in a “long-term confrontation” with Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
“The West is set up for a long-term confrontation with Russia,” Zakarova told reporters at a regular briefing, according to the Russian news agency Tass. “No matter how much the West tries to arm the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev and prolong hostilities, it will not be possible to turn a blind eye to monstrous crimes in such a cynical and talentless manner.”
Anatoly Antonov, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, accused America of “empty words” in denying an interest in challenging Russia directly.
“The Hollywood-style trip to Washington by the head of the Kyiv regime has confirmed that the administration’s conciliatory statements about the lack of intention to start a confrontation with Russia are just empty words,” Antonov said on Wednesday.
“What was essentially announced to applause and sarcastic smirks, was the need to continue the ‘proxy war’ against our country. Until a complete victory over us,” Antonov said.
Putin’s top spokesman Dmitry Peskov took a less strident tone in addressing the visit with reporters, choosing to focus on disparaging Ukraine rather than America.
“For the time being, we can state with regret that neither President Biden, nor President Zelensky have said anything that could be perceived as their potential readiness to listen to Russia’s concerns,” Peskov said.
Peskov accused both America and Ukraine of failing to address any potential future peace during the visit.
“There were no calls for peace – not in front of TV cameras, but real ones. This indicates that the United States continues its policy of de facto and proxy war with Russia to the last Ukrainian,” Pesov said.
Zelensky addressed the potential for peace in his speech to both chambers of Congress on Wednesday night, but accused Russia of being a “terrorist state” that must be subdued before the war could eld.
“It would be naïve to wait for steps towards peace from Russia, which enjoys being a terrorist state. Russians are still poisoned by the Kremlin,” Zelensky said.
“We need peace, yes,” he continued elsewhere in the speech. “Ukraine has already offered proposals, which I just discussed with President Biden, our peace formula, 10 points which should and must be implemented for our joint security, guaranteed for decades ahead, and the summit which can be held.”
Zelensky first presented his “formula for peace,” which he claimed could be replicated in all conflicts, at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
“I will present a formula that can work not only for us, but for anyone who may find themselves in similar circumstances as we did,” Zelensky said at the time. “It is a formula that punishes crime, protects life, restores security and territorial integrity, guarantees security, and provides determination. There are five preconditions for peace.”
“Punishment,” he noted, was the cornerstone of the formula, in the form of sanctions and diplomatic isolation for Russia.
In his speech on Wednesday, Zelensky stated only that he had presented his “peace” initiative to Biden but did not discuss it in detail. Instead, he dedicated much of his time to thanking the American people and asking for more financial support.
“We have artillery, yes. Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really,” he told Congress.
“It is just a matter of time before they will strike against your other allies if we do not stop them now. We must do it,” he warned. “I believe there should be no taboos between us in our alliance. Ukraine never asked the American soldiers to fight on our land instead of us. I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes themselves.”