Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky headed to Staten Island University Hospital on Monday to visit his country’s wounded soldiers after he landed in the Big Apple for this week’s United Nations General Assembly.
Zelensky thanked Ukrainian fighters receiving treatment at the hospital and even helped one soldier out of his wheelchair and to his feet as the two took a photo together.
During his visit, Zelensky handed out commendations to the injured soldiers, some confined to wheelchairs and others with prosthetic limbs. He also toured the facility.
During a short address to the soldiers in the room, Zelensky reportedly issued the country’s battle cry, “Glory to Ukraine” with soldiers replying “Glory to the heroes” in Ukrainian.
“Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine),” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says to Ukrainian soldiers at Staten Island University Hospital.“Heroyam Slava (Glory to the heroes),” they respond. pic.twitter.com/8XJZGQOiEV
— The Recount (@therecount) September 18, 2023
Michael Dowling — the CEO of Northwell Health, which owns Staten Island University Hospital — said 18 Ukrainian soldiers have received treatment at the medical center since March.
“We have an obligation to help with the situation in Ukraine as much as we possibly can,” Dowling said in front of Zelensky, hospital staff and the wounded soldiers, according to footage captured by Sky News.
“It’s our privilege to help any way we can,” he added.
Dr. Brahim Ardolic, the executive director of the hospital, said the soldiers want to get back to serve their country.
“We’ve rarely seen patients that are this much wanting to get better to go back to help,” he said. “It’s really incredible to see how passionate you all are about getting better so you can go back and help your country.
“It really is something that is an inspiration to all of us.”
After recognizing the soldiers, Zelensky also presented awards to hospital staff.
Zelensky tweeted Monday he planned on attending the UN General Assembly, Security Council meetings and the Sustainable Development Goals summit after arriving in New York City with First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.
“Ukraine will put out a concrete proposal to UN member states on how to fortify the principle of territorial integrity and improve the UN’s capacity to thwart and halt aggression,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Later this week, Zelensky plans to meet with President Biden and congressional leaders in Washington, DC in a bid to secure more assistance from the US as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches 20 months.
“I will thank the United States on behalf of Ukraine for its assistance in our struggle for independence and freedom,” he said.
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