“If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.”
That stark message from Ukraine’s president in private meetings with American politicians cut to the core of his plea.
It’s a blunt message designed to focus minds. It reflects the state of the war and what Ukraine believes is at stake.
It also shows that Volodymyr Zelenskyy knows how turbulent American politics could be about to become.
As he shuttled the corridors on Capitol Hill, his face was not one of a man entirely comfortable with America’s level of support for his country’s fight.
The longstanding frustrations linger about the lag in getting the weapons he needs.
The announcement that American Abrams tanks will arrive next week will be welcome. They requested them at the start of the year.
It’s long-range missiles they’re asking for now.
A deeper concern for Zelenskyy
But there is a deeper concern which has now brought him to Congress.
Flanked by the senior statesmen of Congress – Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – Zelenskyy walked slowly through the Ohio clock corridor on the second floor of the US Capitol building.
He’d just come from an hour-long meeting with politicians from the lower house of this place, where the Republicans have a majority and where the Ukraine War sceptics can be found.
They are a small number on the right flank of the party – Trump supporters whose politics is very much “America first” and reflective of a proportion of voters nationwide.
On government spending as a whole, not just Ukraine, they are causing trouble for the party leadership.
“Factions within the Republican Party have been very weak when it comes to Russia,” Luke Coffey, senior fellow at Washington’s right-leaning Hudson Institute told me.
“Consider the legacy of Ronald Reagan and defeating the Soviet Union during the Cold War and now we’re to the point where you have certain members of the Republican Party being paraded on Russian television every night. Let me tell you, if your positions and your views on Ukraine are repeated on Russian state television, you might need to rethink them.”
“Blank cheques” for Ukraine?
Their cry is that President Biden is providing “blank cheques” for Ukraine and that there is no oversight of the spending.
“The facts tell a different story,” Mr Coffey says.
“Congress authorises and appropriates every single dollar that is given to Ukraine, and it’s done for a specific purpose. We know exactly how it’s being spent. The vast majority of the billions of dollars allocated for Ukraine never leave the United States. They stay right here supporting the US defence industry jobs.”
“And the bit of money that we do send directly to Ukraine has some of the greatest oversight ever seen on US foreign aid. So these slogans of ‘blank cheques’ or ‘no accountability’ are bumper stickers, but it’s not sound policy,” Mr Coffey said.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Michael McCaul, a Republican not aligned with the dissenters, said after the meeting that the renewed funding for Ukraine would come despite unease among some.
“Of course they need it and they’re going to get it.” Mr McCaul said.
“I’ve always said the majority of the majority support this. I know there’s some dissension on both sides, but a war of attrition is not going to win this.”
Ukraine’s strategy questioned
House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who is under huge pressure from that right flank asked Mr Zelenskyy: “What do you need?” and “what’s your plan for victory?”
That second question is key given the slow progress of the counteroffensive.
Mr Zelenskyy needs to explain his strategy but so too does President Biden.
The counteroffensive is dragging on.
Many are now asking what a plan for victory looks like and whether a peace agreement is acceptable which falls short of a full Russian withdrawal.
Mr Zelenskyy has been crystal clear: Ukraine will not stop until they get all their land back.
He ended the day reassured that America is with him.
But turbulence here impacts far away. All politics is local.