Back when Vladimir Putin first hurled his army into Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky famously turned down President Biden’s offer of evacuation with a folk-hero-making declaration: “I need ammunition, not a ride.” After a very long year for both Ukrainians and Russians, Zelensky is now perhaps getting both of those things. On Twitter, the former Servant of the People star announced that he was en route to the White House for a visit “to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities.” This includes further “cooperation between” Ukraine and the U.S., which will be hammered out at several “bilateral meetings,” and he will reportedly address Congress.
On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of 🇺🇦. In particular, @POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between 🇺🇦 and 🇺🇸. I will also have a speech at the Congress and a number of bilateral meetings.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 21, 2022
Presumably, this visit will include talk of monetary assistance and, you know, more ammo. Reuters also pointedly highlighted Zelensky’s request for “weapons, weapons and more weapons,” so there’s no subtlety there on Ukraine’s plans to keep fighting and reclaim more territory that was supposedly “annexed” by Russia this year.
Well, Vladimir Putin definitely heard about this U.S. visit, and in very short order, CNBC reported upon how the Kremlin unveiled a “surprise trip to Beijing” by a Putin proxy, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. On the agenda: the war and “deepening ties” between Russia and China. So, that’s one aspect of the huffy Putin response, and then the Russian autocrat announced that he’s opening his nation’s wallet to provide unlimited military funds to win his war:
Speaking to various military officials and members of Russia’s defense ministry Wednesday, Putin discussed what Russia calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine and how the war was progressing.
He said Russia’s armed forces had gained huge experience in Ukraine and that Russia will “increase its military potential,” according to comments reported by Reuters, saying “we don’t have any restrictions on the financing of the army.”
Putin’s claims of unlimited coffers run counter to reports of his troops having to resort to decades-old ammo that’s so degraded that it could “explode in your face.” There’s also the well-publicized video footage showing Russian troops being told to use tampons to stop bullet-wound bleeding because the army cannot afford real medical supplies.
Yet that hasn’t stopped Putin from claiming, as reported by CNBC, that he’s beefing everything up, and that his “Satan II” intercontinental ballistic missile will soon be readied for whatever ends that he desires. And then he probably hopped back into the bunker with a hoarded supply of toilet paper that he will (allegedly) need. A lot.