Biden tells Zelensky 'light will prevail over darkness' in Hanukkah nod

"I have no doubt we’ll keep the flame of liberty burning bright, and the light will remain and prevail over the darkness,” the US president said.

 US President Joe Biden and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, December 21, 2022 (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, December 21, 2022
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden concluded his joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by making a reference to the Hanukkah miracle, saying that “light will always prevail over darkness.”

“Tonight is the fourth night of Hanukkah,” said Biden while standing next to Zelensky, who is Jewish. Biden said that it is “a time when Jewish people around the world - President Zelenskyy and many of the families among them - honor the timeless miracle of a small band of warriors fighting for their values and their freedom against a much larger foe, and how they endured and how they overcame; how the flame of faith, with only enough oil for one day, burned brightly for eight days.”

He said that it was “a story of survival and resilience that reminds us that the coldest days of the year, that light will always prevail over darkness, and hope drives away despair; and that the human spirit is unconquerable as long as there are good people willing to do what is right.”
“This year has brought so much needless suffering and loss to the Ukrainian people,” said Biden. “But I want you to know, President Zelenskyy, [and] I want all the people of Ukraine to know as well: The American people have been with you every step of the way, and we will stay with you. We will stay with you for as long as it takes.”
“What you’re doing, what you have achieved, it matters not just to Ukraine but to the entire world,” Biden added.

US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the annual lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah on the Ellipse in Washington (credit: REUTERS)US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the annual lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah on the Ellipse in Washington (credit: REUTERS)
“And together, I have no doubt we’ll keep the flame of liberty burning bright, and the light will remain and prevail over the darkness,” he said.

Zelensky awards Biden with Ukrainian military medal

Earlier on Wednesday, at the top of their meeting, Zelenskyy gave Biden a Ukrainian military medal - The Cross for Military Merit. He told Biden that this particular medal was awarded earlier this year to a Ukrainian officer for outstanding feats on the battlefield. 

Zelenskyy added that he met the officer in Bakhmut earlier this week, when the officer asked him to give his medal to Biden. Zelensky also delivered a letter from the officer, expressing Ukraine's appreciation for the US assistance. Biden later gave Zelenskyy two command coins: one for the Ukrainian President and one for the Officer who delivered his medal to Biden.