Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, taking the security risk to come to Washington for meetings with President Joe Biden and lawmakers, reassured a joint session of Congress yesterday that, “Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.” Earlier in the day, in a joint press conference with Zelenskyy after their meeting, Biden told him, “It’s important for the American people and for the world to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to continue to stand together through 2023.”
Congress urgently needs to approve funding to help Ukrainian forces battle Russia militarily next year, support the country’s finances in wartime, and provide humanitarian aid through the fight. But money is not the only thing needed to defend democracy against autocracy. American global leadership is also crucial beyond the realm of security assistance. Extensive preparation is wisely taking place now among G7 donors to begin planning for Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction. That should include appointing an American to lead coordination of this more long-term endeavor to rebuild Ukraine as a modern European democracy — an example for the world of resilience and progress in the face of adversity.