Zelensky slams Iran for drone sales to Russia, as he is warmly welcomed in Washington

The Ukraine war echoes the start of World War II, and decisions taken now will have ramifications for generations to come.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 21, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 21, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington on Wednesday in his first trip outside of Ukraine since Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression on February 24.

Zelensky met with US President Joe Biden in the afternoon and then addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the evening—an honor rarely granted to foreign visitors and a reflection of the broad, bipartisan respect for Ukraine, its leadership and people, in resisting the Russian assault.

For Americans, particularly of an older generation, like the 80-year-old Biden, Russia's attack on Ukraine raises echoes not only of the Cold War, when Washington and Moscow engaged in a global struggle for dominance, but of World War II as well.

Vladimir Putin’s justification for attacking Ukraine, as Washington Post columnist, George Will, noted, strongly resembles the argument made by Adolph Hitler for grabbing part of Czechoslovakia “to the point of plagiarism.” 

Hitler paved the way for World War II with his claim that Germany had to protect an-ostensibly oppressed German-speaking minority in western Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland. Britain, and the other European powers, pushed Prague to cede that territory to avoid another terrible war, as Europe had experienced just twenty years before, in World War I.

Appeasing Hitler did not stop him. Rather, it encouraged him, and he went on to invade Poland, triggering War II.

Putin similarly claims that he had to attack Ukraine to protect its Russian-speaking minority. Phony arguments in both cases, as Will noted, with Putin borrowing from Hitler’s playbook.

On Wednesday, as Zelensky addressed Congress, a second similarity to World War II was noted. Commentators likened Zelensky to Winston Churchill, who, after Hitler invaded Poland, became British Prime Minister, with the resignation of his ill-advised and ill-fated predecessor, Neville Chamberlain.

As the US entered World War II, following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Churchill was invited to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. That was also Christmas time—Dec. 26, 1941—some eighty years before Zelensky appeared on the same stage.

All of this resonates with Americans, underscoring the seriousness of the issues involved and generating the feeling that this is history-in-the-making, that decisions taken now will have ramifications for generations to come, and those making these decisions will be judged accordingly. If they are wise and good decisions, they will enter the pantheon of American heroes. If they are bad decisions, they will suffer the reverse, cursed by history.

Zelensky Slams Iran for Military Support to Russia

In speaking to Congress, Zelensky denounced Tehran’s support for Moscow. After detailing the Russian assault on his country, Zelensky stated, “Russia found an ally in this genocidal policy: Iran.”

“Iranian deadly drones sent to Russia, in hundreds, became a threat to our critical infrastructure,” Zelensky continued. “That is how one terrorist has found the other.”

Zelensky also warned that Iran’s military support for Russia would extend to other countries, if Russia should succeed in overcoming Ukraine.

“It is just a matter of time, when they will strike against your other allies, if we do not stop them now,” he said.

Zelensky’s words are not so different from that of U.S. officials. On Dec. 9, for example, John Kirby, Spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, told journalists, "Iran has become Russia's top military backer.”

Read More: Russia uses Iranian drones to attack Ukraine’s civilian grid, as US denounces Russian ‘war crimes,’ ‘burgeoning defense partnership’ with Iran

“People in Ukraine today are actually dying as a result of Iran's actions,” Kirby continued, in language that would foreshadow Zelensky’s congressional address   twelve days later.