Zelenskyy thanks Biden, Congress..in Johns Hopkins commencement speech

Source: Politico | May 25, 2023 | Matt Berg

Zelenskyy thanks Biden, Congress for war aid in Johns Hopkins commencement speech

The Ukrainian leader said that the United States has “not lost a single day” helping the country’s efforts against Russia.

Before Johns Hopkins University graduates moved their tassels to the left on Thursday, they were sent off with a virtual livestream from a surprise commencement speaker: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“The United States has also not lost a single day in helping Ukraine repel the Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy said. “President [Joe] Biden, a strong bipartisan coalition in Congress and most of all the American people have … risen to this occasion and are leading the free world to secure freedom in Europe.”

In his speech, Zelenskyy focused on the importance of time, a resource he said is more valuable than oil, uranium or lithium.

The Ukrainian leader also spoke on how he recently visited the frontlines in his country, a trip in which he spoke with soldiers who have similar backgrounds in schooling to those graduating at Johns Hopkins, while others can only dream of such an educational opportunity.

Unlike American students, young Ukrainians don’t have as much control over the time they have due to ongoing attacks from Russia, he said.

“Will our air defense systems be able to save all the lives at risk? What moment in the battle can be the most risky and which one could be decisive? And how long will this war last?” Zelenskyy said. “We’re trying to get a grip on the time of our lives, what is happening to us.”


Anne Applebaum, a senior fellow at the SNF Agora Institute and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, as well as being a staff writer at The Atlantic who has written extensively about the war in Ukraine and has interviewed Zelenskyy, introduced the Ukrainian leader.

Following the address, Zelenskyy was awarded with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university.


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